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esugi

[TR] Dragontail - Triple Couloirs - 3/7/2008

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Trip: Dragontail - Triple Couloirs -

 

Date: 3/7/2008

 

Trip Report:

In January 2007, Kevin (Quasimoto) and I hiked all the way into Colchuck Lake only to find the route "not-in". In Spring of 2007, we got turned back at the top of the first couloir due to heavy winds and cold temps. Both times, we made it a two day. We were determined to get this route sooner or later. We had been watching the weather and thanks to Racsom's TR from February, we had good chance and good beta.

 

This time, we decided to push in one single day. We left the car at 2:30am (Lugging our skis and snowboard, we hoped that we can cruise down the road after our climb - stashed it just before the TH). Made it to the end of the lake at 8:00am. It was clear from post-holing and breaking new trail through the lake that very few had been up this far since the last dump on 2/24.

 

Mountain.jpg

 

Ice_Runnels.jpg

 

Taking turns breaking trail, we started from the bottom of the hidden couloir at 9:00ish.

 

Soloing up the first "hidden" couloir

Simul_First-Couloir.jpg

 

Approaching the "ice runnels"

Approaching_Runnels2.jpg

 

Kevin at the P1 belayBelay_First_Pitch1.jpg

 

Fresh from climbing ice in the Skylight area (Ouray), I took the P1 lead. :cool: The ice was really good and phat through here. Leading_P1.jpg

 

Then, Kevin took the thin and spicy P2 lead. Lots of "Psychological" pro here. On one occasion, Kevin placed an ice screw that went in about inch and a half. Awesome job Kevin! Conditions through all three pitches in the runnels was just like the one encountered by racsom. No noticeable change.

 

Me following P2 after Kevin's awesome lead. Following_P21.jpg

 

I then led P3 which ended up being good enough conditions and little bit of mixed fun.

Leading_P3.jpg

 

The physical problems started here. We had to break trail the entire way with often times knee deep snow. Very exhausting and the 2nd couloir (and 3rd couloir for that matter), seemed to go on forever.

 

At the top of 2nd couloir, we encountered the mixed traverse to the base of 3rd couloir.

P2_to_P3_traverse.jpg

 

I led this section but went off route a little. I think what I did wrong was going too high on the rock, instead of traversing lower. Unfortunately, because of this, I could not find any ice and all I encountered was sugar snow on top of slabby rock. I managed to mostly dry-tool my way up to a belay and brought Kevin up. Then Kevin on belay found a spicy traverse that he managed and got to the start of 3rd Couloir and stable ground. Wasted atleast one hour, unfortunately.

Kevin_on_traverse.jpg

 

By this time we were both exhausted. :tired: I think Kevin had been up something like 36 hours. Me, I had a 2 hour nap before I left the house. Obviously, we had no choice but to keep going so I headed up the 3rd couloir (it was 4pm). Again, switching leads, we topped out little after 5pm.

 

Heading up 3rd couloir

Start_of_3rd_Couloir.jpg

 

Beautiful shot of the lake from about half way up the 3rd couloir.

Great_Shot.jpg

 

Quick Gu shot and little drink and we were high tailing to AssScrape Pass and down to the lake at 6:30pm. At this time, all we could think of was getting back to the car and hoping that we would have good conditions on the ski/snowboard ride down the road. We managed to stumble down the trail and got to our stash.

 

Stepped into my skiis and Kevin strapped into my snowboard. The funny thing is, he rides regular foot while I ride goofy. So he was riding faky the entire way down. He managed pretty good though and only stumbled few times. :crazy:

 

We managed to get back to our cars 19 hours later at 9:30pm and we high tailed it to McDonalds hoping they were still open (thank god they were!!)

 

Overall, terrific climb with good conditions. Just a long long day.

 

Gear Notes:

Assortment of cams (various sizes up to #3), set of nuts, 2 pins (one which we dropped), 2 stubby screws (good placements on P1 and P3), etc.

 

Approach Notes:

Lots of snow still. Skiis for me and snowboard for Kevin made the last 3 1/2 miles down the road manageable after a long day.

Good times!!!

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Awesome job Eiji!! :tup:

 

I still remember meeting you guys last year on your way in to give the route a go. Looks like you found it in better shape this time.

Strong effort, and thanks for the pics as well.

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Thanks guys. Bala, I've been thinking about this route ever since that day we met up on the trail...finally off of my mind.

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awesome repo eiji-had a great time on this one.....FOUND:blk sunglasses mirroed lenses on top of 3rd couloir @small bivy spot.

p.m. for a retun..

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Impressive climb guys. Way to go!!! That must have been really tiring. How was snowboarding down the road. I have snowboarded down that road and it sucked, it is not steep enough for the top half.

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Way to go! I think I met you guys when you bailed off it last year during the high winds. Glad you finally got it. Persistence :tup:

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Awesome effort. Great congratulations for giving a lesson to the Dragon. If next weekend weather is okay I am going up there too.

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Actually, the top half was just steep enough to get us going and test out my skiing skills (which is not much) and Kevin's ability to ride faky on a snowboard that he has never been on before. He just used his poles to push, like you would on skiis. He had to get off a couple of times on the flat areas though. Corn snow made for good conditions. By the end, we were cruising.

 

Persistence pays off!

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No flotation required from trailhead to lake. Pretty well packed down. Only from the lake on did we break trail.

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I am taking skiis for this weekend. New snow is supposed to fall.

If nothing else, I will have a great time skiing the Colchuck glacier.

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I wonder how the conditions on this climb

may be this coming Saturday (04/12).

Any clues ? More or less ice you

think ?

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Me and my partner did it on last Sat and the snow on the couloir is extremely deep and the ice was looking pretty thin on the first pitch and 3rd pitch of the runnels

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I wonder how the conditions on this climb

may be this coming Saturday (04/12).

Any clues ? More or less ice you

think ?

 

Panos - it's supposed to be VERY warm on Saturday with freezing levels in the 9000 foot range, so I'd expect dangerous conditions

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on the plus side, a return to cold temps after a big warm spell oughta bring out some more alpine ice to play on

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It seems you are right folks.

 

During the day the North orientation of

the face would help for cooler temperatures

but one also needs (more importantly) cold

nights to get ice. It is not going to be

freezy even at night above 7000 feet!

 

Too much southerly air...

But you never know before you go there.

 

P.

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I have never climbed Colchuck or Dragontail. Would Colchuck Glacier route be dangerous this Sunday?

 

Thanks!

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I have never climbed Colchuck or Dragontail. Would Colchuck Glacier route be dangerous this Sunday?

 

Thanks!

 

Check the avy forecast. That route has a N. aspect and is at least 30-35 degrees.

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There will likely be slides up there this weekend.

But it might be worth it to go up to the lake and see if things have already slid. Then you get to either negotiate the sawtooth ridge to the summit of Dragontail, which isn't too bad, or risk avalanches on the SE exposure of Dragontail. Again, it will probably slide Friday but............

If you are coming down Asgard you can stay in the trees quite a bit but you will still be more exposed than on Colchuck if the glacier has slid heavily.

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from my experience, one other thing to consider is since this is a big relative warm up, the sections of the road and trail that were a nice boot-pack in cold conditions will likely be a post-hole party, so floatation might be more necessary now than when it's cold.

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Yep, taking snowshoes. I am just worried about slides. I thought that 35 degree slopes were safe. What's the scoop on this? Not much of a snow traveler but need to get out - can only walk now, arms are shot. So any beta/avy considerations are appreciated.

Thanks again!

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