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North America, United States, Washington - Cascade Mountains, Dragontail, Backbone Ridge

Dragontail, Backbone Ridge. John Bonneville and I did this ridge to the left of the white slabs on the northwest face in August. We started at the lowest point on the ridge and after two leads traversed right 150 feet. Go up a layback (F9) to a shallow chimney which gives way to easier ground. After working up and right third class for 500 feet, one gets to a fifth-class dihedral. Proceed to the base of the crux pitch, a 70-foot six-inch crack (F9). The protection on this pitch is questionable (chockstones). Go right and up to a belay on a ledge with a fixed pin. Traverse left (F9) and then up. Two fifth-class pitches take one to the Ball Bearing Amphitheater. One can get water here year around. Continue up the easy ridge for several hundred feet to the next steep section. Go left (unprotected F8) to a belay around the corner. Go up and into a gully (F9). Head up to the ridge and go right to the summit. The climb was 21 pitches long. NCCS IV, F9.

Mark Weigelt, unaffiliated