Staff Adventures: Dragontail

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Climbing the Triple Couloirs on Dragontail

by Collin Jenkins

Earlier this month, I went out with fellow Edgeworks staffer, Andrew Powell, and climbed the Triple Couloirs on Dragontail Peak (early May 2017).  This route has intimidated me for over a year since it first got on my radar.  After being turned back once with a different partner due to avalanche concerns, Andrew and I went back with a 24 hour window.

At 3am, the route started off unexpectedly stout with a small bergschrund crossing and pitch of solid WI3 ice and I thought, “There’s no way I can finish this.” But in the spirit of adventure and “try hard” I took off on the first couloir.  In no time, my blood was up and we were in a rhythm. We encountered a little scary mixed climbing and temperatures much lower than we were expecting, but not stopping keeps you warm! We caught a sunny break on the summit ridge, bagged the summit and headed down Asgard Pass.

Twenty hours, 14,000ft of elevation change, and around 20 miles after we set out, we completed our car-to-car ascent.

This route revealed to me that the “in-a-day” mentality I’ve observed in so many Pacific Northwest Alpinists I respect isn’t as crazy–​or demanding of superhuman endurance–as I thought.  Believing in yourself, trusting your partner, and simply not giving up can go a long way.  Endless calories and good weather help too!