Type: Trad, Alpine, 700 ft, 5 pitches, Grade III
FA: FA: Reed Cundiff & Jack Miller, 1971 FFA: Jay Smith & Paul Crawford, 1983
Page Views: 4,667 total · 33/month
Shared By: M. Morley on Jul 1, 2007
Admins: Chris Owen, Lurker, M. Morley, Adam Stackhouse, Salamanizer suchoski, Justin Johnsen, Vicki Schwantes

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"One of the classic climbs in the High Sierra, this route deserves more traffic," writes R.J. Secor of the North Buttress of Dragtooth.

The route ascends a striking left-facing dihedral that is visible from afar. Scramble up a snowfield/glacier and crumbly rock to gain a ledge with a 2-piton anchor. Rope up beneath a chimney at the bottom of the buttress. Climb the chimney (5.7) and continue straight up the face for a full rope length to belay.
Just past the loose 5.9 traverse and getting into the dihedral. (past a hangerless 1/4" bolt) to the base of the prominent left-facing dihedral and a single piton. The next 2 pitches ascend the dihedral, and constitute the best climbing on the route. The first dihedral pitch is 5.9 and ends at a stance with
Old 1/4" bolt anchor on the route. (best to back up). The fourth pitch (100') continues on 5.9 terrain, culminating in a section of 5.10 off-width to gain a belay in a small alcove. BEWARE OF THE LOOSE, STACKED BLOCKS guarding the exit from the clean corner!
The 5.9+ finger to hands crack on pitch 5. ascends a finger-to-hands crack for 140'. From here, 3rd and 4th class scrambling for several pitches lead to the summit.

Descend via the notch between Dragtooth and Matterhorn Peak.


From Mono Village at the west edge of Twin Lakes, hike south along the Horse Creek trail up switchbacks past Horsetail Falls as for Matterhorn Peak. Veer SW at the prominent Horse Creek Tower, crossing a snowfield to the base of Dragtooth. Allow 4 hours for the approach.


Standard rack with double set of cams to 4" (Two #4 Camalots are particularly useful).
M. Morley
Sacramento, CA
M. Morley   Sacramento, CA  
Be prepared for loose rock - this route does not seem to be climbed often (the last summit entry was from 1997). Also, I have kept the original grade III rating, although with approach and descent, count on a grade IV day. Jul 1, 2007
George Bell
Boulder, CO
George Bell   Boulder, CO
Climbed this in the mid/late 80's, hoping for the FFA. Had a great climb but Jay & Paul beat us to it. The line certainly is striking from afar. Jul 30, 2007
M. Morley
Sacramento, CA
M. Morley   Sacramento, CA  
Dang, George! Is there anywhere you haven't climbed??!! Jul 31, 2007
George Bell
Boulder, CO
George Bell   Boulder, CO
I haven't climbed much east of the Mississippi ... Aug 21, 2007
Oakland CA
caughtinside   Oakland CA
I was flipping through a Climbing mag from spring of 84 and this route was reported there as the Dragrace. Someone mixed up the name, but whether it was Secor or Climbing, I don't know. Sep 13, 2009
Reed Cundiff  
This was supposed to be a Fred Beckey, Jack Miller and myself climb but Fred came down with a bad cold and let Jack and I do it. Fred met us at the top. The only aid was on the 5.10 off-width as there was no gear at the time to protect it. We were able to aid on small cracks on either side of the dihedral. There is a great hand traverse to the left at the end of final real pitch where you could see the glacier way down between your legs. The route down was down an easy snow slope

I hope the George Bell above is not the one who did Yerupaha in 1955; otherwise, he is over 80 years old
- Reed Cundiff Nov 25, 2009
Craig Tatum and Claude Fiddler told me about this route in the mid-80's, and called it Dragrace.

Down with Dragway. Mar 28, 2011
Chaz, Mike and I climbed this yesterday. Super scenic. Would give it a grade IV. After the summit (register needs new pen:), seemed best to descend to the sandy basin below, then up gully to notch. Once descending the notch, if you chose the couloir to skier's L, there are 2 rappels; blocks with old slings. The couloir to the R is a steep snow gully, where an ice axe would have been helpful. Jul 22, 2013
Excellent route, I only wish the technical climbing was twice as long and the ridge climbing twice as short! For climbers looking to make this into a more full day, consider linking this route into the North Arete 5.7 on Matterhorn Peak. From the summit of Dragtooth, continue along the huge summit ridge and eventually drop down the south flank and then up into the notch between Dragtooth and Matterhorn (aka West Couloir). A short bit of cl3-4 downclimbing from the notch and you can traverse into the North Arete along a ledge system ~2 or 3 pitches up, bypassing the ugly & loose lower half of that route. A natural link-up Aug 4, 2014
Mike Dahlquist
Oakland, CA
Mike Dahlquist   Oakland, CA
Awesome climb, but the death block is the real deal. There were even fresh-looking white skid marks where it looked like it had slipped recently. Aug 17, 2015
Reed Cundiff  
Do not think that loose slab was there when Jack Miller and I did the FA.' Feb 18, 2016
San Jose, CA
Alaina   San Jose, CA
Does anyone have updated info on the death block? I’m waiting for it to fall or be trundled before climbing this beauty. Aug 4, 2018