Serpentine Arete (5.8), Dragontail (North Cascades)

Page Type
Trip Report
Washington, United States, North America
Date Climbed/Hiked:
Jun 8, 2009
Hiking, Mountaineering, Trad Climbing
Spring, Summer
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Serpentine Arete (5.8), Dragontail (North Cascades)
Created On: Jun 7, 2009
Last Edited On: Sep 14, 2013

Studying for final exams....

The Route

(Click on images to enlarge)

It was the weekend before spring quarter final exams at UW. I study better under a time crunch, so my friend Sara and I headed up to climb Serpentine Arete (5.8) on Dragontail.

We climbed the route in a day from the car. We left the Stuart Lake trailhead at 4:30am, got to Colchuck Lake by 6:30am, were climbing the rock by 8:30am, summited at 2pm, made it back to the lake at 4:45pm, were back to the car by 6:45pm, and were back to Seattle by 10pm. Time to study!

We simulclimbed most of the route, and had a blast. Here are some photos and brief descriptions for this trip report.

Illustrated Trip Report

(Click on images to enlarge)

Looking up the route from the base. We started just right of the orange slabs at the top of the terminal morraine above Colchuck Lake.
The first pitch, short 5.7ish pitch to get to class 3 ramps.
Easy scrambling for much of the route.
Sara leading the first of the 2 "crux" pitches mid-route, a 5.8 crack. These were our 2 favorite pitches, we wished there could be more of this kind of climbing!
Sara following the second of the 2 "crux" pitches mid-route, a 5.8 dihedral. These were our 2 favorite pitches, we wished there could be more of this kind of climbing!
Most of the second half of the climb involved fun 3rd to mid-5th class climbing up the arete. There were several possible variations.
We spotted a Mountaineer party heading up to Colchuck Col. I decided to make the route look more impressive by rotating the photo....
A piton, perhaps from the original ascent of Serpentine Arete in 1973.
The view of Colchuck Col from our climb.
The view south from the summit.
The view of Colchuck (and Stuart behind) from the summit.
Early summer snow in the Upper Enchantment Lake Basin on the descent down the back of Dragontail and down Aasgard Pass (a walk-off, although Aasgard Pass never fails to be uncomfortable on the knees).
The last of the winter ice on Colchuck Lake.
I can never resist taking photos of chipmunks.

More on my website

This trip report is copied from my website, which has several other climbing trip reports and photographs from the North Cascades and elsewhere:


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