Type: Trad, 900 ft (273 m), 5 pitches, Grade III
FA: Andy Wyatt, Chris Potts, August 2020
Page Views: 3,562 total · 279/month
Shared By: andy wyatt on Sep 7, 2020
Admins: Jon Nelson, Micah Klesick, Z Winters

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Description

Overview

900+ feet of quality, sustained crack (and some face) climbing on very good rock, up the elegant East Face of the NE Towers of Dragontail Peak. This climb offers a real alpine climbing experience with long pitches and no fixed protection or anchors, engaging and playful movement, at a surprising and unusually-accessible grade. It takes a natural line up a relatively less explored aspect of one of the most prominent peaks in the range, with a nice position and a friendly scramble descent. The route has comfortable belay ledges approximately every 55 meters, and is in the sun from early morning until early afternoon.

Established over the 2nd week of August, 2020 by Andy and Katherine Wyatt, Chris Potts, and Margot Fahey. The first climb of the route (by Andy and Chris) was an onsight, ground-up, and C2C ascent. Later in the week, Andy, Katherine, Chris, and Margo returned for multiple days and rigorously cleaned the route. Regardless, the route remains a true alpine endeavor that requires careful travel and consideration. 

Note: The E and NE aspects of Dragontail (including the NE Towers) terminate into the E summit of Dragontail. This is atop Dragons of Eden, and the other routes on the east half of the mountain. The East summit is separated from the main summit by a long serrated ridge. Conceivably, one could traverse the ridge connecting the East summit and the main summit (this may or may not have been done before). While not the termination of this route, the highest summit can be reached by descending off the E summit (see descent notes) and ascending the southern slopes via 3rd and 4th class scrambling.

Route

P1, 5.9+, 58M. Ascend fifty feet of easy climbing, climb ten feet of face around the right side of a recessed pod, and then back into the main crack. Punch up the main crack, with some smaller over lapping cracks, offering very fun and engaging movement. Atop the main crack, continue through broken and moderate terrain to the obvious ledge and climb 20 feet beyond the right of the two tree/bushes. Belay on .1-.3 cams and small nuts at the base of the beautiful corner above. Note, this pitch protects well using slightly more thoughtful placements relative to the other pitches on the route; all 5.9 moves could be pulled through on gear.

P2, 5.9, 55M. Stem your way up the initial 10-foot OW pod before launching up a gorgeous and sustained corner crack, offering spectacular and pure crack climbing from locker fingers to perfect hands. This is a powerful pitch that rewards strong arms and good jamming technique. Look for foot features along the way to ease the grade and add more creative movement. When the corner ends, continue up and left approx 20’ and stop at a crack on the right that accepts bomber med-large nuts and cams. 

P3, 5.6, 45M. Ascend the broken crack system directly above the belay, gaining a sloping ledge beneath a pair of obvious zig-zag cracks. Climb through these zig-zag cracks to a wide and large sandy ledge. Belay in the clean crack in the middle of this ledge. 

P4, 5.7, 58M. This clean headwall with a splitter crack that catches your eye from the ground is even more spectacular than it looks. Even more defining is the friendly grade and secure climbing, especially for such a dramatic and full pitch. Begin approx 15-20 feet right of the belay and climb easily up the right side of the protruding ear. Move left a few moves along a thin crack rail to gain the main crack, offering phenomenal and varied crack climbing with excellent movement. Take this long pitch up and slightly right to a large, flat ledge. Belay on the right side of the ledge, to the right of the vertical leaning block.  

P5, 5.7, 55M. Climb up and left through broken ledges for approx 20 feet gaining a crack that climbs, pleasantly, up the right side of a right facing dark ear feature. Zig zag up and generally left through varied crack systems, face features, knobs, and small ledges. Exit off the left side of the face, turning the corner into a belay alcove approx 20’ below and to the left of the summit pinnacle. 

Descent

After summiting, work S and W across broken 3rd and 4th class terrain, slowly losing elevation until you gain a clean gully (approximately 500’ from the final belay station). Descend this to a large and obvious ledge, then scramble SW to walkable terrain, intersecting the standard summit descent to Aasgard Pass. Note, this was the easiest descent found by the FA party, however, many alternatives exist. Walk on cairned, braided and rocky trails to the top of Aasgard Pass.

The route is not set up for rappel.

Location

Hike to the south side of Colchuck Lake, then up approx 85% of the trail up Aasgard Pass. At approx 7250’ the main trail crosses right across Aasgard’s largest river braid; continue approx 5-10 min past this point, leaving the trail between approx 7300-7400 feet, crossing loose scree up and right, heading directly to the base of the route. The route begins approx 300 feet below where the top of Aasgard pass meets the toe of Dragontail, and below where two small tree/bushes sit on the first belay ledge, up approx 190 feet; start below the right side of the right bush. It could also be identified as starting in the middle of the protruding tower.

Protection

Doubles from .2-#2, singles of .1 and #3, a healthy set of stoppers (route takes good nuts), and an assortment of runners. If leading at your grade, or not comfortable putting distance between your gear, add your choice of triples from .3 to #2, a second #3, and a #4. Note that the pitches on this route are all nearly 60M, with no fixed protection, and use gear belays. If you prefer feeling well-protected, it will require a fairly-significant amount of gear (which the cracks will gladly accept).

Photos