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Dragontail Peak, WA | May 2014

K7ATN's picture
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Dragontail Peak, near Leavenworth, WA, is a committed and remote alpine climb - it can't really be considered a hike. This trip report can only give an impression and some basic facts - you will need to prepare carefully and appropriately by reading guidebooks and climbing websites, and making sure you have the necessary skills, experience and equipment. You will need to be able to handle wilderness route finding, high angle snow ascent and descent, rock climbing, and challenging terrain. Adequate physical conditioning is critical to ensure success and safety. Each of your party members needs to prepare in kind. Study the weather and conditions right up to your departure as these can change rapidly. Check the permit requirements as they are stringent and enforced.

Our party consisted of two experienced climbers - my friends Rick and Gen - and myself. Gen had recently passed her Tech and can see that the value of ham radio for emergency communications in the backcountry - and also the great combination of radiosport with hiking and climbing.

The total distance covered is about 17 miles with 5500 feet of elevation gain. It is a very challenging activation - even the first day pack-in to base camp is significant. The second day was about eight rough round-trip miles with 3300 feet of elevation gain (2200 of that is over less than one mile). The terrain included boulder hopping, steep snow, and mixed rock to the summit at 8840 feet. We were not rewarded with views because of fog, but the winds was calm and not too cold. The climb from base camp took about six hours and the descent about four.

The Enchantments Basin is extraordinary any time of year - the stark contrasts of rock and snow in the spring was beautiful. Due to weather conditions and the return trip back to camp, on-air time was very limited -with most contacts on 2m FM but did include great S2S contacts with Doug-W1DMH on Mount St. Helens. 

Pack in - still smiling
Campsite at Colchuck Lake
Aasgard Pass in center - Dragontail on right
Making contacts on the summit
Descent glissade on Aasgard - the fun part
An original "Mountain Goat"
N7KRN's picture


Nice pictures, and what a great peak to activate! I've been to Colchuck a few times and up Aasgard through the Enchantments once. It was so close, we considered Dragontail on our first morning - but without even an ice-axe along, caution prevailed. Such a beatiful area. Congratulations on an epic trip!

Fred - N7KRN