I actually don’t know why I signed up for this one. Climbing either Colchuck or Dragontail is a fun, but somewhat long day. Climbing both in the same day is masochistic. Anyway, I’ve written about Colchuck in an earlier post, so I won’t repeat now – it’s a cool, easy climb.
Dragontail is a tad more technical. After climbing Colchuck, we returned to the col between the two peaks and started up Dragontail. You go up a rock/alpine dirt scramble onto a steep-ish snowfield. We ascended this and then exited to the left, which puts you on the ridge. Sticking your head out over the void is pretty cool – you look right down to the snow and rock wwaaaaay down below.
We rigged a handline for some easy but exposed 4th class, and traversed the ridge. The summit is accessed by climbing up in the snow from the traverse at the correct location. From there, we descended via Aasgard Pass. Everything was just awesome until we saw some totally random and big rockfall shooting out from a gully on the east side of Dragontail. I hate Aasgard – it seems like it’s cursed with some bad voodoo. There have been a couple of recent accidents there (one involved glissading into a moat) and you feel like you’re in a bowling alley for random rockfall.
I was very happy to be down and bushwhacking through the alder by Colchuck Lake. We made our way to the trail and did the last 1.5 miles at essentially a run. This was a strong group – probably the strongest group I’ve ever climbed with. Truly an amazing group of sled dogs – we did the entire trip in 14 hours.
Photos courtesy of Nathan Johnsen.