Dragontail Peak - West Route (via Colchuck Glacier), July 2001
Dragontail Peak as seen from Mount Cashmere.

Plans for a day-trip on Dragontail were hatched while sitting in Don Denton's Suburban, staring disapprovingly at the rain pouring down at the Paradise parking lot. We bailed on the Rainier climb and agreed to meet in North Bend at 4:30 the following morning for a climb of Dragontail Peak instead. We reached the trailhead by 9:00am and started booting up the trail moments later. (Photos: SV)

Click thumbnails below to enlarge...
Colchuck Lake
Colchuck Lake and what remains of the Colchuck Glacier beneath the face of Dragontail Peak.
NE Buttress Couloir
There was a steady stream of rock falling out of the ice at the base of Colchuck Peak.
Glacier climb
Don having just passed the steep crevassed icy section with slopes of 45 - 50 degrees. The glacier was already in poor shape.
North Face of Dragontail
Rock routes abound on the North Face of Dragontail.
Ridge scramble
Don rests on the ridge leading to the summit.

Upon reaching the Colchuck-Dragontail Col we turned left and made a brief detour to the far end of the basin to inspect the sheer cliffs off of Dragontail's southeast side. Convinced that this wasn't the correct route, we angled left (upwards) towards an obvious rock gully and climbed up and over the summit ridge visible from Colchuck Lake.
Colchuck and Stuart
Summit views of Colchuck Peak bordered by Mt. Stuart.
Colchuck Glacier
Late season conditions on the glacier.

The dirty central portion was melted out down to pure ice. Our route hugged the extreme right hand side of the glacier crossing several small crevasses on slopes up to about 50 degrees.
Strange afternoon light helps accentuate the moonscape look of the upper Enchantments.
Witches Tower
Climbers returning from Witches Tower.
Down to Aasgard Pass
Don descending to Aasgard Pass.

This trip was unique in that the ascent route was different than the descent route. The hike down from Aasgard Pass to Colchuck Lake was brutal on the legs and ankles. Don and I hardly stopped for a rest this entire trip and yet we still made it out just as darkness was falling. It was a full 12 hour day. We stopped at Visconte's in Leavenworth for some much needed burgers and beer. Once back in the car, Don passed out within five minutes. I successfully fought sleep the entire 2 hour trip back home thanks to the blaring techno and windows open wide. My head hit the pillow finally at 2:30 that morning.
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