American Alpine Jounrna and Accidents in North American Climbing

North America, United States, Washington, Cascade Mountains, Dragontail Peak, Northwest Face, Stuart Range

  • Climbs And Expeditions
  • Climb Year:
  • Publication Year: 1988

Dragontail Peak, Northwest Face, Stuart Range. On October 11, Alan Kearney and I climbed a new route on the northwest face of Dragontail via the prominent buttress between Serpentine Arête and the Boving route. We began in the huge corner system just to the right of the toe of the buttress. A pitch of third class led to a belay in the corner. From there, a 40-foot horizontal traverse brought us to a clean, discontinuous crack system. We ascended this for two pitches, occasionally diagonaling back to the corner. The second was hard with the crux moves protected by tied-off knife-blades (5.9). From a belay on ledges, we climbed a crack diagonally left through the steep wall of the corner to the crest of the buttress. We followed the crest for the rest of the route. It was fourth class for about three rope-lengths, but then the arête narrows and has four steep headwalls. The first two, 25-foot white walls facing right, were turned via hidden crack systems just to their left. The third wall is wider and slightly higher. It is split by a narrowing fist-to-finger crack which leads to a small stance (5.9). Then a short pitch ends on a flat ledge. Above, we climbed directly on the knife-edge for 75 feet to the fourth headwall, where a 15-foot traverse to the left took us to cracks (5.9) up through a notch. The final 200 feet up the arête to the summit ridge are pleasant scrambling on solid rock. (1200 vertical feet; 13 pitches; III, 5.9.)

Peter Kelemen

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