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[TR] Dragontail Peak - Gerber-Sink 4/17/2016

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Trip: Dragontail Peak - Gerber-Sink


Date: 4/17/2016


Trip Report:

Timmy and I hopped on the Gerber-Sink send train following last week's TR (thanks guys...good beta) and thought we'd share some of the goods with y'all.


The road is still closed so we started booting it at 11am Saturday, arriving at the lake at 2:15. We chatted with JR (I think) and three others, who gave us some more good beta (thanks) and then proceeded to absolutely crush the route just ahead of us, moving so fast that we didn't even eat too much of their ice on the way up!


Taking our time in the morning, we started the route at about 5:30, with Timmy leading up some pretty heady ice in the dark to start what would be about an 800 ft simul block that lead us to the bottom of the crux runnels. After a quick conversation to take stock of our progress, we racked and stacked and headed into the business end of the route.


I led the runnels in four-ish pitches, having wonderful luck finding good gear along the way. We had to extend one pitch and simul about a half rope length to get to a decent stance, but other than that it was very straight forward. There were some exciting bits of thinning ice that gave less than reassuring congo-drum reports when struck with tools. I quickly reverted to hooking the previous party's tool sticks, which was slightly less unnerving.


Out of the runnels, we simuled the snow field to the top of the third couloir in Triples, and then cruised to the top, opting to skip the final 50 or so feet to the summit partially due to the warm and warming slopes we had to descend to get back to the lake, and partially due to my superstitious aversion to proper summit tagging.


Perhaps the sketchiest part of the whole climb was the traverse under the summit to get to the backside descent. We swam through steep slush kicking "steps" that had all the stability of a snow cone in August.


The descent was sloppy but uneventful, taking us a little less than two hours. All in all, we were 8 hours 15 min on route, and got back to the car in time for a quick swim before it got dark. You just can't ask the mountains for much more...it was a perfect day.



Thoughts on the route and conditions: It really is a masterpiece of a line. When we first saw the route from the lake, we found it big and intimidating. But once we started breaking it down into manageable sections, realizing no single pitch was beyond us, we started to come to grips with it and before we knew it, we were climbing and climbing well. It was hard but safe, and the exposure was nuts! We came down feeling like we had been in outer space for a day.


The route had a ton of ice on it and we didn't really climb much rock but for the occasional move here and there. No M-4 and no 5.7. That said, it also felt like it was changing quickly in the warm weather. I would suspect that it will still be in by the freeze cycle next week, but it will have changed a bit in favor of rock gear.



Our route:



Timmy leading the start:



Looking down from below the runnels:



Heading into the cruxy sections on great ice:



The saddle at the third couloir:IMG_4469.JPG


The traverse: 0427.jpg


Gear Notes:

We took the new Metolius Ultralight cams 00-6, the small half of a set of stoppers, eight screws, two pickets and a KB. We used the pickets and screws constantly, the blue stopper once, the KB once and the 2,3 and 4 cams.


With it all to do over again, I would have brought 2 KBs, a baby angle, 7-8 screws (nice for the long simul blocks), two pickets, and just the finger size cams. There was a spot for a bigger piece (BD #3 cam or similar sized hex would have been nice) but other than that we had more than enough gear. I would leave the small cams and take a couple more pins for those placements.


Approach Notes:

The snow starts about a mile from the end of Eightmile road, but we did the whole approach in sneakers which made for nice dry boots in the morning.

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Awesome work Mike. I am the girl whom you helped with the crampon on Mount Hood last year. We camped at Colchuck two weeks before you went up there. But as beginners, we only went up half way of Aasgard.


Look forward to seeing your more adventures.

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