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Ascent of Dragontail Peak on 2015-02-22

Climber: Priti Wright

Others in Party:Jeffrey Wright -- Trip Report or GPS Track
Date:Sunday, February 22, 2015
Ascent Type:Successful Summit Attained
Peak:Dragontail Peak
    Location:USA-Washington
    Elevation:8840 ft / 2694 m

Ascent Trip Report

We left camp at 6:30, and got to the base at 7. There were two parties of two going up at the same time, they started out left, and we started right. Left looked easier, and is probably the right way. Right was vertical and hard to protect for a little ways, but the whole first step was only one rope length. The other two parties made it up the step faster than us, which also lead me to believe it was the easier way.

Then we entered the first couloir at 8:40. All of the couloirs are medium angle slopes, that can fit many parties comfortably. It's just the steps of ice between the couloirs that traffic jams can develop.
We got to the Runnels at 9:30. The party in front of us was just starting to lead up. I got to place one piton here, at the belay. It was super easy to place, and seemed bomber. Jeff said it wasn't too hard to clean either. We did a little bit of waiting around for the party in front of us, but it didn't seem like long, because we re-arranged gear, flaked the rope, played with a piton, and scoped the route ahead.

The first pitch of the runnels, to the belay at the rock, was definitely longer than 60 meters, maybe even longer than 70. We ended up simuling the last little bit, because the rock looked like the good place to belay. It was okay because the first part and last part of this pitch was easy enough to simul. It took screws well, and rock pro too. I could have also made a belay with pickets at the spot I could reach with 60 meters. The next pitch was easy, and short, and the next pitch was a tiny bit thin, and I bottomed out a 13cm screw. I'm sure for the runnels, this is great conditions! It also took screws and rock pro well. Then we were in the second couloir. We finished the second couloir at 12:10.

The last step into to third couloir was in good condition too, and similar to the runnels. It was one rope length, took screws and pro well. It was also a little thin in places, but then, I'm not the best judge.

We entered the last couloir at 12:45. From there it was just a snow slog up to the ridge (you're going behind the fin, up the couloir) and then around to the summit. We got to the ridge at 16:00. I think maybe we were going a little slow at this part, because we were getting tired, hungry and thirsty. We summitted at 16:20.

Then it was a pretty simple plunge step down to the lake around the backside. We reached the lake as it was getting dark at 18:00

Gear:

3 pickets, we used them all
3 13cm ice screws, 2 17cm, and 1 21cm. I would have brought some 10cm if we had them, the shorter lengths were the most useful. We did not make any V-Threads.
.1-2 cams. We definitely used the #2, and the .2, and probably everything inbetween at least once. We might have had too much rock pro though.
1 Kb, 2 Bugaboos, 1 small angle, 1 ice hook. Only placed the knifeblade. Ilia and Kirsten did not place any, and they weren't necessary. But if you wanted to bail or if conditions were different, I can see how they'd be useful.
1 60m rope

Lessons learned: Water froze and was hard to access. Not sure what to do here, maybe put inside jacket. Go fast and simul a lot: it's a long route and pitching things out takes longer. Pickets can be really awesome. I had to hammer them in a lot, but they protected solidly where nothing else would.

Conclusion: Go get it!! It's a classic, long ice route, that's hardly ever in such good shape. I feel like I gained so much experience, and really had fun the whole time (except for the long hikes in and out).

Ciao!
Summary Total Data
    Grade/Class:Grade III WI3 M3
    Route Conditions:
Road Hike, Maintained Trail, Unmaintained Trail, Snow on Ground, Snow Climb, Ice Climb
    Gear Used:
Ice Axe, Crampons, Rope, Tent Camp
    Nights Spent:1 nights away from roads
    Weather:Blue bird, cold, windy on summit
Ascent Statistics
    Route:Triple Couloirs
Descent Statistics
    Route:Standard Route



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