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Ascent of Dragontail Peak on 2017-10-07

Climber: Eric Gilbertson

Date:Saturday, October 7, 2017
Ascent Type:Successful Summit Attained
Peak:Dragontail Peak
    Location:USA-Washington
    Elevation:8840 ft / 2694 m

Ascent Trip Report

October 7, 2017, 4:30am – 7:30pm

35 miles, 12,000ft elevation gain, 5 bulger mountains

Another snowstorm was set to hit the cascades on Saturday, but east of the crest looked potentially dry. It was peak fall-color season, especially for the larches, and I decided to hike into the enchantments. The weather was supposed to be a few inches of fresh snow, extremely windy, and cold.

I drove out Friday night and got to a mile from the trailhead by midnight, but was blocked by a tree that had fallen across the road. It was high enough that cars could squeeze under, but with the top-carrier mounted I was completely blocked. I vainly tried to cut out the tree with a hatchet, but the wood was too hard and the tree too big.

I ended up parking right next to the tree and sleeping in the car. Several other vehicles drove by throughout the night, and by 4:30am I decided to start hiking. I soon made it to the Stuart Lake trailhead and hiked up to Colchuck Lake by sunrise. One hiker was already descending, having bailed out of a planned thru-hike when he encountered snow and wind.

The talus leading to Asgard pass had a dusting of snow, and definitely required caution not to slip. It was extremely windy and quite cold on the way up, and reminded me of a winter hike above treeline in New Hampshire. Unfortunately at that point I realized I had left my gloves, hat, and sweater back in the car. It was too far away to go back and get, so I determined to just keep moving throughout the day to not get cold.

I reached the pass by 8am, and luckily the wind died down on the enchantment plateau. The sun also intermittently poked out to the east, and the skies were actually clear down toward Wenatchee. I soon left the trail heading left, and scrambled up to the summit of Enchantment Peak by 9am.

... Link to full trip report and pictures.
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