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Dragontail Peak/Colchuck Col

Dragontail Peak

  • Road suitable for all vehicles

Dragontail Peak via Pandora's Box
May 17, 2014

It was a day great climb with many firsts. It was the first summit of Dragontail for the 6 of us; the first climb for the two Basic students, Eva and Shana; the first time as a rope lead for Manisha; and my first mentored Climb Lead.

We had plenty of company ascending the Colchuck Glacier, but after the col had the route to ourselves as all the rest were destined for Colchuck Peak.

We spent time in and around Pandora's Box trying to find the best route and settled on a 100' protected down climb after a scramble to the left of Pandora's Box. Had we stayed on the ridge a bit longer, we might have avoided the down climb all together. But it was a good learning experience. This delayed us about 2 hours.

Road: The road in was very wash boarded in places but otherwise in great condition.

Approach: The trail had snow patches down low and was fully covered toward the lake, and plenty wet in spots at the end of the day. There were ski and boot tracks across the lake, but we and many others opted to hike around it.

Route: We had nice firm snow on the Colchuck Glacier, but with the warm weather, we found ourselves increasingly post holing the rest of the way. It slowed us down a bit after Pandora's and considerably more with shallow snow cover over rocks going down from Aasgard Pass and the south end of Colchuck Lake.

Gear: Used a 37 meter skinny rope for a hand line to protect the down climb near Pandora's Box. Carried but didn't use crampons and pickets. Used headlamps on the last hour out.

Time: 17 hours car to car, with 2 hour delay at Pandora's Box, and breaks at the col, the summit and back at the lake.