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Trip Report    

Colchuck/Dragontail Traverse

Great rock scrambling and fun cols, get there early before the sun!

  • Road rough but passable
  • Trail and snow in good shape overall early in the day.

Successful ascent of Colchuck and Dragontail via the Colchuck Glacier/Col and Dragontail West Ridge. Started ascending the col around 6:00am, snow was great with a thin soft layer over the firmer snow. It had been warm all week, but the snow stayed in pretty good shape. Topped out on the col around 8:00am, sticking right - it’s a bit steeper, but easier to get onto the dirt of the ridge. Picked out way up to Colchuck peak a little after 9:00am. The trail is a bit of a choose your own adventure but it’s not super hard route finding. Traverse the back side of the ridge, biasing upwards until you’re under the summit block. There are a few spots where you can scramble right up to the mouth of a gulley that drops all the way to the glacier below, so be a bit cautious. Took a break for a bit and headed back down to Banshee Pass. Hit the snow in the col headed up to Pandora’s box at 10:15 or so, right as the sun was starting to hit it. This is definitely the latest to be on it, once the snow gets super soft it’d be a miserable trip up. Beating the sun got us great kick stepping snow and we booted right up. The col looks pretty intimidating from below, but it gets less steep after the first section and is pretty short, nothing compared to what the Colchuck Col just was in distance. Took the scramble section from the col onto the ridge as the snow downclimb had been in full sun for awhile and was looking sketchy at this point in the season. The scramble seemed class 3 to me, with one class 4 move due to a pretty shear drop down the left side. Really good rock though so it never felt sketchy. Once you top out on the ridge there’s a 2.5 foot gap between two huge boulders to squeeze through to the other side of the ridge. Pretty neat how nature worked that one out for us! Worked along and down the ridge to the snow on the backside of Dragontail and across to the normal trail up. The snow was super soft here and I fell to my waist with both feet into a surprise rock well at one point - definitely the sketchiest spot. Steer clear of the rocks! Hit the summit of Dragontail right after noon. Trail back to Aasgard and out is pretty self explanatory. Aasgard does take a really long time to go down and was the surprise crux of the day. Just kitty litter the whole way slipping and sliding with the tantalizing lake below that never seems to get any closer.

Overall the route is in decent shape as long as you get there early before the sun hits the snow. I can’t predict how long it’ll stay in on the back side of Dragontail, since that gets the most sun. You can continue on the ridge the whole way potentially, but I can’t speak to that route since I didn’t take it. Lots of fun rock scrambling all day, the rock is great quality and there were a number of solid moves on both Colchuck and Dragontail.

15 miles, 15 hours, with 6500’ of elevation gain. Could be done faster for sure but we took our time a bit.