I just had the good fortune to spend a couple great days (and windy nights!) at Colchuck Lake in the Stuart Range. Charlie and I were trying to escape some wetness on the west side of the Cascades and wanted to climb some steep snow and alpine ice. Since we are just coming out of an excellent snow year, we knew that we could find steep, snowy terrain in the Dragontail Peak and Colchuck Peak couloirs and stay out of the rain. Although our primary objective had been Triple Couloirs, a 3000′ snow and ice route up the center of Dragontail Peak’s north face, we opted out of it since the route was actively funneling rocks from the morning’s thaw. A short hike further up Aasgard Pass led us to the base of an unsung Cascade classic route, the NE couloir of Dragontail Peak. The couloir portion of this route features about 7 pitches of steep snow and ice, up to 60 degrees, and excellent rock anchors along the sides of the couloir. We chose to descend before reaching the ridge crest (a long and convoluted alpine climb in itself) and rappelled and downclimbed back to the base of the route. The NE Couloir is an excellent climb and should get done a whole lot more than it does!
Let the photos begin!