Dragontail Peak, West Route

Technical climbing info

  • Mountain: Dragontail Peak
  • Elevation: 8,840ft
  • Route: West Route, Pandora’s Box
  • Length: 3,200ft
  • Grade: I/II

That guilty/fat Feeling

Jess and I took a random Tuesday off with the hope to climb.  As of Monday early morning, the overall conditions looked too warm and we called off the climb…or so we though.  Sitting around at 5pm and feeling guilty/fat, we said “Why not shoot for Dragontail?”  We had just got a good look at the route previous week during our run up Colchuck and we figured it would be pretty stable in the warmth. And similar to Colchuck, we wanted to get to know the route we would use to descend our more technical winter/spring attempts on the peak. 

I was tired AF when we pulled up to the trailhead.  Our last-minute decision meant I slept for 4 hours.  I had only slept 4 hours the previous night too, so woo! Parking was aplenty, there was only one other team we ran into. Boasting our new trail runners, we cruised through the trail a lot quicker than last week in our mountain boots. 


Getting to the Colchuck Glacier, things had clearly been warm.  The bootpack put in the previous week had totally melted out.  Kicking in a bootpack in the standard route of a well-traveled peak in the middle of the climbing season was unexpected.  Some masochistic part of me enjoys breaking trail though.

We got up to the Colchuck Col in pretty good time, we chilled for a bit. I stacked up a big pile of rocks to ditch our poles, trial runners, hat, etc, under. Ain’t no goats eating our sweaty stuff today! 

Moving up through the main couloir of the route, the snow was in straightforward climbing conditions.  Last week people had been front pointing up this, the sun definitely changed that for the easier.  Getting up to Pandora’s Box was pretty cruiser and a little down climb brought us to the upper mountain’s plateau.  The sun was destabilizing the snow quite a bit, so we moved quick.

We didn’t bring any beta along with us, so I shot towards what I thought would be the way to the summit.  It turned out to be totally wrong, bringing us into a somewhat sketchy slabby traverse towards what ended up unexpectedly being the summit. A happy surprise considering I thought we still had a ways to go. 


On a side note, bring mosquito spray! We didn’t experience it the previous week at all, but coming back we got attacked by mosquitos. Way worse than I have ever ever seen anywhere in the Cascades. It reminded me of my childhood playing by still water in the Philippines. The next day I was scratching at 52 bites (I counted). 

UP NEXT, Why not Do a Double-Summit-TAP on Colchuck?

Colchuck Peak, Colchuck Glacier

After a fairly intense (ie. extremely dangerous) experience on Mount Hood’s North Face recently, Jess and I were feeling pretty risk adverse in approaching a tight weather window between periods of heavy unseasonal precip. We’ve been wanting to climb Colchuck’s North Buttress Couloir, but had never actually climbed Colchuck to begin with. Why not check…

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