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West Route

West Route

West Route

Page Type: Route

Location: Washington, United States, North America

Lat/Lon: 47.47890°N / 120.8322°W

Object Title: West Route

Route Type: Mountaineering, Scrambling

Time Required: A long day

Difficulty: Scramble and / or Moderate Snow

Grade: I

Route Quality: 
 - 5 Votes


Page By: Fred Spicker, Moni

Created/Edited: Feb 20, 2005 / Feb 18, 2006

Object ID: 164062

Hits: 10526 

Page Score: 74.92%  - 5 Votes 

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The "West Route" (as per Beckey) starts at the col between Dragontail and Colchuck Peaks and is sometimes referred to as the Colchuck Glacier Route since most parties approach the col from the north via Colchuck Glacier. Combined with a descent of the East Route back to Aasgard Pass, this makes for a very pleasant traverse of the mountain and round trip from Colchuck Lake.


From the south, the col may be approached via the Ingalls Creek Trail either from its trailhead accessed from US Highway 2, or via Longs Pass - Ingalls Way Trail - accessed from the end of the Teanaway Road south from Cle Elum, WA. This is certainly the long way - about 11 miles via the Ingalls Creek Trail and up Porcupine Creek or between 7 and 9 miles via Longs Pass and up Porcupine Creek.

CleElum District trails: Cle Elum Trails

From the north, the col is approached via the Colchuck Lake Trail and / or the Stuart Lake Trail reached from Leavenworth, WA. It is about 4.1 miles from the trailhead to Colchuck Lake. The junction of the Stuart Lake and Colchuck Lake trails is about 2.5 miles from the trailhead. From the junction, it is 1.6 miles to Colchuck Lake. The glacier is just above the lake.

Leavenworth District trails: Leavenworth

Route Description

From the col between Dragontail and Colchuck Peaks, ascend an easy gully (snow in early season, scree later) between Dragontail and Pandora's Box to a notch in the south summit ridge.

Crossing through this notch is an easy scramble when the snow is gone. However, in early season the notch is very steep on the east side and can even be corniced. Care, and probably a rope are in order here on early season ascents.

Past the notch, the route meets the South Route and ascends directly north to the summit on easy snow or scree, or one can continue up the ridge also without significant difficulty.

See the Colchuck Glacier Route for more information and photos of the glacier part of the route.

This Site has a trip report, map, and excellent photos of an early season climb of this route.

This Site has photos and a description of a late season climb of this route.


Descend the route, or to complete a nice traverse, and round trip from Colchuck Lake, descend on easy slopes to the south and east to Aasgard Pass and descend from there back to the lake.

Essential Gear

If climbing from the north or in early season - ice axe, crampons, and rope. Some parties may want some snow protection for the notch.

Additions and Corrections

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Josh LewisVirtual Map and GPX File

Josh Lewis

Hasn't voted

When I went up this route we got a little lost, so I decided to draw up a virtual map which can be seen here. For those who want a gpx file, you can get it here.
Posted Aug 13, 2011 4:01 am
skjosClimb to the ridge at the notch

Hasn't voted

In the early season where the down-climb from the notch can be trecherous, climb the ridge on the left of the notch for easier passage to the back side. The access to the ridge is about 20 feet or so below the notch.
Posted Jun 10, 2013 2:46 pm

Viewing: 1-2 of 2    


Colchuck Lake from the route...West Route of Dragontail Peak.Traditional shot of..."I am Beelzebub and you shall...Looking down the west ridge...The ever-inquisitive mountain...South Ridge Notch West Route,  Dragontail
Ascending Colchuck Glacier.West Route, Dragontail PeakThe Aasgard Pass route is at...If you are looking for...Redwic heading up DragontailSketchy TerrainLooking up at Colchuck...
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