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[TR] Dragontail Peak - Triple Couloirs 4/19/2014

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Trip: Dragontail Peak - Triple Couloirs


Date: 4/19/2014


Trip Report:

Jay and I had a rowdy single push climb up Triple Couloirs this weekend. The runnels appear to be pretty similar conditions to StephenW’s trip report one week earlier:



A much harsher than expected wind and snow storm late in the day turned the climb into a full on party - climbing the second runnel pitch and second and third couloirs (plus the sporty transition) through spindrift, high winds, and snow whipping around from every direction.


View of the runnels from the lake



Looking up the entrance to the hidden couloir



Heading up perfect snow in the hidden couloir under blue skies



Looking up at the runnels. We ended up combining them in two long (60m+) pitches. I led the first runout pitch on good snice to a nice belay underneath the large rock in the center.



Jay took the second pitch. He did a thin traverse left into a shallow icy gully, then continued it up a steeper narrow icy chimney. Midway through the pitch the weather turned for the worse and he got to fight the crux while getting pummeled by spindrift.



At this point things slowed down dramatically as we fought the weather. Visibility turned to crap, winds picked up, and snow was blowing everywhere. Here's Jay in the thick of it following the 2nd to 3rd couloir transition.



We ended up summitting at 9PM and slowly made our way back down to the car by dawn for a 26+ hour single push. Topped off by heading straight back to Seattle in time for Easter service with my wife and in-laws & Jay going straight to a family brunch. Good times!


Overall we both thought this route deserves every superlative thrown its way, even with the inclement weather. It is amazing climbing in a crazy setting.


Gear Notes:

We brought 4 pickets, 4 shorter screws, 5 pins, nuts, and cams to 2". Used it all. We also brought avy gear which we were glad to have for the descent off the summit during the storm.


Approach Notes:

The road is still gated at Bridge Creek. We carried snowshoes to the lake but never used them. We actually hiked in our approach shoes all the way to the lake.

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Burly and you get extra points for getting home for Easter! Nothing worse than having an epic except when you're supposed to be at a family function while having an epic.

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Glad you guys made it home safe. I was one of the skiers you chatted with in the early morning hours.

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well done !!! ... nice push, way to keep it moving forward. I could imagine a lot of people bailing in those conditions.

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My friends Jens Holsten and Vern Nelson were out that day on D-tail. They started up the Cotter-Bebie but when it started storming and spindriting and when the ice ran out they moved over to the Serpentine Arete to finish. Jens remarked what a wild place those upper couloirs would have been in those conditions.



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The upper couloirs were definitely wild! The winds whipping around inside them made things pretty intense. Glad to know we weren't suffering the weather alone. What time did Jens and Vern top out?


After the runnels we thought it'd be much wiser and possibly faster to "bail" upwards. We figured the spindrift would be exponentially worse to a dangerous degree lower down with everything emptying and funneling into the hidden couloir.


Here's a few more photos, credit J Allen:


Looking up the second runnel pitch after the thin traverse left



Looking back at the belay from the same location. At this point I think I mentioned the flurries were adding nicely to the alpine flavor of this climb



snow everywhere



Topping out on the runnels, no longer thinking the weather was adding nicely to the alpine flavor


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I think we topped out around 5 or so. Pretty full on day! We were about 17 hours car to car maybe...I can't remember for sure. Way to get out there!

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