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Jim

[TR] Dragontail Peak - Serpentine Arete 6/14/2008

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Trip: Dragontail Peak - Serpentine Arete

 

Date: 6/14/2008

 

Trip Report:

Laura called and pried me away from work on Friday with the threat of "the weather forecast is perfect, we'll not get this again". So I ignored the piled up work to get a chance to climb a route we've both wanted to get on for a while. We were lucky enough to get the only dry campsite at the base of the Colchuck moraine and then kicked steps to the base of the route to avoid the need for crampons in the morning and stashed our gear up there (good idea Laura!). The next morning we were up at the base around 6:00 and were joined there by another team. After a brief discussion we decided to let Joe and Dave go first as they seemed faster than our 50-something team. Off they went and true to their word we never saw a rock come our way - thanks guys.

 

It was my first lead of the year - Ha! Good place to work off the cobwebs. We let the leader climb w/o a pack so the second had some extra work.

 

5.7 pitch

Dragontail_5_7.jpg

 

It took us a while to find our pace with the rope work on the low fifth and fourth class pitches.

 

low fifth

Serpentine_low_5th_class.jpg

 

Unfortunately we were not quick enough and by the time we got below the summit block it was obvious we were not going to get back down Asgard Pass in the light so we decided to find a bivy nest for the evening. The weather was good but it was a bit of the shiverfest just before dawn. We saw one huge falling star just as we settled down for the evening and the overall view is hard to beat. I'm sure a few folks, including Joe and Dave, had a chuckle seeing our headlamp up there.

 

Bivy site

Dragontail_bivy.jpg

 

At first light we were up and at 'em and sat on the back side in the sun at the rappel station where we munched and waited an hour for the snow to soften up. We then had two full-length rappels to the glacier and trudged over to the pass where a cool breeze flowed down to the lake. Cool enough to make the snow hard, which made for a longer route down.

 

Rappel 2

Dragontail_Rappel.jpg

 

Backside

Dragontail_Glacier.jpg

 

The Enchantments still look like a good ski tour! After a fuel up at the Heidlebuger in Der Village we drove home and to our spouses. A good climb that emphasized the need to get the running belay thing down early. We both consider it an accomplishment as we're both approaching 55 and not getting any quicker - so it seems.

 

Gear Notes:

doubles of camalots from green to blue (could have managed with a single blue), 10 small to medium nuts, 1 yellow & 1 red alien, two small tri-cams. 12 runners, 3 cordelettes. Ice ax, no crampons.

 

Be quick!

 

Approach Notes:

No snow until the lake

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Hey, good job! It's nice to know I'll probably be able to do this stuff for a couple more decades. ;)

 

It was pretty warm that night at the TH. Any ideas how cold it got for you guys?

 

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No pictures of Laura leading the crux? C'mon! I feel cheated!

 

I had the camera around my neck but she was grunting a bit and I didn't want to ask her to pause! She rocked!

 

KK- I dunno, maybe around 30 deg(?). Things froze up.

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Sounds like you had fun but brrrrrr. Did you take bags or just huddle? Nice pics.

 

Ha! Sat on the coiled rope in our little bathtub sized bivy and cozied up.

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Congrats on your climb! I have a lot of fun on that route. Is it snow free?

 

95% snow free. We did take out the axes and had to kick steps one short (60 ft) long gully just below our bivy perch.

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According to Rob Kelman's Epic Rating Scale, you're at E4:

 

E1. Delay in completing route resulting in being an hour late for dinner with your significant other.

E2. Same as E1 except that climbing partner is of opposite sex.

E3. Same as E1 except that bivouac is required.

E4. Same as E2 except that bivouac is required.

E5. Hung up on short route requiring rescue.

E6. Same as E5 except injury is involved.

E7. Same as E5 except route is isolated and elaborate rescue required.

E8. Same as E7 except that injury is involved.

E9. Some, but not all, members of the party are killed.

E10. Same as E8 except a major, dangerous effort is needed to rescue the injured and recover bodies.

E11. All members of the party are killed.

E12. The entire party vanishes.

 

Congratulations! Sounds like a great time.

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Oh that's great. We said "We'll be mildly uncomfortable for 5 hours or so, no will lose any fingers, and it's better than stumbling around in the dark while being tired".

 

It's not an adventure unless the outcome is uncertain.

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