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chimbo

[TR] Alpine Lakes - Colchuck and Dragontail from Colchuck Col 6/14/2009

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Trip: Alpine Lakes - Colchuck and Dragontail from Colchuck Col

 

Date: 6/14/2009

 

Trip Report:

I've wanted to check out the Stuart Range since last summer so after a day at Leavenworth, a friend and I went in for a day trip on Colchuck and Dragontail. It's a long drive from the peninsula but well worth it.

 

20090614-IMG_6964.jpg

 

We left the trailhead at 4:45 and were at the lake around 7:30. The night before we met a couple of guys heading up one of glaciers on Stuart... TR?

 

20090614-IMG_6969.jpg

 

Colchuck in the morning sun.

 

20090614-IMG_6977.jpg

 

There was an obvious boot pack going up the glacier to the col. We saw quite a few groups coming down on Saturday night and there were only a handful of us on the mountain on Sunday.

 

20090614-IMG_6979.jpg

 

A few groups below us right before the Col.

 

20090614-IMG_6981.jpg

 

The South side of the Col with Rainier barely visible in the background.

 

20090614-IMG_6985.jpg

 

Stuart from Colchuck.

 

20090614-IMG_6994.jpg

 

Summit shot from Colchuck. Some weather was building up and at this point my friend decided she was content for the day. I decided to hustle up Dragontail before the fun stuff showed up.

 

20090614-IMG_6997.jpg

 

Looking back down the route up Dragontail from the backside of the Col.

 

20090614-IMG_6999.jpg

 

Heading up the snowfinger.

 

20090614-IMG_7000.jpg

 

The moderate traverse to the South side of Dragontail.

 

It was fun to mix up some rock climbing on Saturday with this trip. I've never been to this area and the amount of routes available was pretty inspiring. I met some nice people on the trip as well. I'm a pretty big baby when it comes to lightening and was awfully glad to be off the mountain when that rolled in around 1:30. Anyone have any good stories... There seemed to be a few groups heading up right before it unloaded.

 

Gear Notes:

Ax (no crampons or rope).

 

Approach Notes:

No snow at Lake.

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Hi Chimbo, Yes, We were one of the groups that was bailing on Saturday afternoon due to T-storms. I think we talked to you on your way up. We had a great day in the range. Thanks for the photos.

 

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I was up on Serpentine Arete that day when the storm came in. We witnessed a climber get swept off of Colchuck peak by rockfall and had an epic trying to get him helicoptered out of there. Scary place to be during a lightning storm.

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I was thinking about you guys on the Arete when that weather rolled in. How did you fair? What route were those guys on over on Colchuck? There was definitely a creepy vibe after that lightening struck so close. I hope everyone is alright.

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Chimbo, we met you guys at the TH. Glad to share beer with you guys. We were on Ice Cliff Glacier when that storm moved in on us. We were close to topping out on the couloir but decided to bail due to weather and not sure how long it was going to last.

 

Not an easy route to bail as we ended up with multiple raps off nuts, deadman, v-thread...

 

About 20 min. after we got out of the ice cliff glacier proper, either avalanche or serac fall swept the same slope we were on!! Yikes, certainly was an adventure.

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We witnessed a climber get swept off of Colchuck peak by rockfall and had an epic trying to get him helicoptered out of there.

 

Any details on this? Route? Climber's name? Outcome? Yikes.

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Curt, who posts as monte piton, was badly hurt when he was descending off Colchuck Peak in a gully where he was belaying down his son. Lightening hit which rained rocks down on him causing the anchor to disintegrate, severed the rope, and sent him sliding about 1000'. For more details and info where to send well wishes go to WenatcheeOutdoors.org (http://www.justgetout.net/wenatchee/).

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I am so happy to hear that he survived. It sounds like it was a very close call. I sure hope the recovery goes well for him.

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Curt, who posts as monte piton, was badly hurt when he was descending off Colchuck Peak in a gully where he was belaying down his son. Lightening hit which rained rocks down on him causing the anchor to disintegrate, severed the rope, and sent him sliding about 1000'. For more details and info where to send well wishes go to WenatcheeOutdoors.org (http://www.justgetout.net/wenatchee/).

 

 

Thats horrible. I hope he is ok.

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For more details and info where to send well wishes go to WenatcheeOutdoors.org (http://www.justgetout.net/wenatchee/).

 

All the info is in that link, one of the better written and most informative reports I've seen on an accident, complete with introspection on risk. I've always enjoyed Monte's posts, and Curt's name is familiar, I'm sure he's friends of friends and only one degree of separation away from me. Big props to the four climbers who provided immediate care and assistance. :tup: Good luck Curt.

 

 

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My fiance was also climbing Serpentine Arete that day, although I think that he and his partner were the first ones up and topped out right as the storm struck. He said his ice axe started humming at one point... sounds like a freaky day in the mtns.

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We bivied with curt till about 3am, that heli was like music to my ears!

"Do you hear that?..."

"Shit! Where's the headlamp?! Get the headlamp!"

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Chimbo, thanks for the TR. My partner and I plan to climb this route next weekend.

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