Support 14ers.com
Buying gear? Please use these links to help 14ers.com:

More info...

Other ways to help...
 Peak(s):  Dragons Back - 12,968 feet
Dolly Varden Mountain - 12,932 feet
Sunshine Mtn A  -  13,321 feet
PT 13,093  -  13,093 feet
 Post Date:  08/12/2010
 Date Climbed:   08/09/2010
 Posted By:  Furthermore

 A Dragon's Back and Then Some.   


"Dragon's Back" 12,968
Dolly Varden Mountain 12,932
Point 13,093
Sunshine Mountain 13,321




August 09, 2010
~11.3 Miles, ~3,200 Gain

Starting TH: Engineer Pass
Ending TH: Along road 870

Image

Waking up to overcast skies isn't exactly ideal. I woke up at 3:50 AM and John Kirk and I carpooled to the top of Engineer Pass from our camping area near Eureka. We started hiking north on American Flats around 5:30 AM. It's nice to start at such a high elevation.

We made good time on our 3.5 mile approach to Dragon's Back. Unfortunately, near the base of the climb it started to drizzle. Not exactly the best before a class 4 climb. From the south of the peak, we started up a prominent talus slope on the south face just east of the of the summit. At the top of the talus slope, we encountered our first bit of class 4 climbing. A non-exposed short tricky climb over a cliff band.

The Dragon's Back
Image

Class 4 climb over cliff band.
Image

From the top of the cliff band, we continued up a class 3 gully and from the top of the gully, we were on grassy ledges where the summit loomed over us. The route wasn't exactly obvious from our position and from some beta we had, the east ridge was a route. We started up another class 3 chimney toward the east ridge. Near the top of the chimney was an exposed class 4 section to the ridge. The wet lichen on the rock made things certainly more interesting.

Class 3 gully to grassy ledges.
Image

Scouting around on the grassy ledges on the south face.
Image

Starting up the class 3 gully to the east ridge.
Image

More class 3 to the east ridge.
Image

Once we reached the top ridge, we both got a bit nervous. The ridge was super exposed and looked harder than class 4, not to mention the damp lichen covered rock. There was a block about 40 feet from our position that just looked brutal and scary to bypass. We both felt that harness and gear would be necessary for the climb considering the conditions, and we would probably be singing a different tune if the lichen covered rock wasn't wet and the sun was shining.

Bailing down the class 4 on the east ridge.
Image

Bailing down the class 4 on the east ridge.
Image

Looking up the class 4 to the east ridge.
Image

There was a webbing anchor on the ridge and we decided to take out my 30 M rope and use it as a handline for the class 4 descent off of the east ridge back to our grass ledges. Taking a fall from that position wouldn't be good. After the down-climb we scouted around for another route. Things again were not looking good. Mostly class 5 headwalls towered around us; however, John did score some booty with a #1 BD cam while scouting around.

After some scouting around, I found a short class 4 climb that allowed me to traverse west of the summit where things were starting to look better. After this short traverse, we continued across some class 3 ledges into a class 4 gully. I went ahead and climbed the 30-40 foot class 4 gully which took us to the summit. Whew. I wasn't really excited to come back to this one with gear. We arrived on the summit at 7:50 AM.

Climbing the class 4 west chimney to the summit.
Image

Climbing the class 4 west chimney to the summit.
Image

Clouds were staring to roll in as Wildhorse Peak was completely socked in. Again, we decided to use the rope for the descent. We were able to loop the rope around a rock horn at the top of the class 4 gully where we carefully descended. At the bottom of the gully it started to rain. Good timing. We returned across the ledges and back down the gully back to the talus slopes.

Summit weather.
Image

Exposed east ridge from the summit.
Image

Descending the class 4 chimney.
Image

Descending the class 4 chimney.
Image


Descending the talus on the Dragon's Back
Image

Dragon's Back far east ridge.
Image

Engulfed Dragons Back.
Image

By the time we reached the base of the Dragon's Back, it was engulfed in clouds. We then headed southeast towards Dolly Varden. It was a very easy class 1 stroll to the summit where we arrived at 9:10 AM. To our surprise, we found a sheep herder walking around the summit. I can't say his dogs were very friendly as they growled at us.

Mellow summit stroll to Dolly Varden Mountain.
Image

Sunshine Mountain from Dolly Varden
Image

From the summit of Dolly Varden we headed east down a talus slope towards Point 13,093 and arrived on the summit of 13,093 at 9:45 AM after a junky talus climb up 13,093's west ridge. Clouds were coming and going and things were rather surreal. After our short summit stay, we continued towards Sunshine Mountain. We traversed north around a false summit and enjoyed the gentle grass slopes to the summit of Sunshine Mountain arriving at 10:45 AM.

West ridge up 13,093.
Image

View from 13,093. Wildhorse on the left and Dragon's Back on the right.
Image

I turned on my radio and contacted my wife who was on top of Engineer Pass working her way over to pick us up. How I love car shuttles. We descended north off of Sunshine and met up with my wife near the end of road 870. The weather began to clear, but on our drive back to camp in Eureka the clouds darkened and it rained.

Descending the grassy north slopes of Sunshine Mountain
Image

Route up Dragon's Back
Image

Rout Map.
Image



Thumbnails for uploaded photos (click to open slideshow):
 


  • Comments or Questions (2)
Presto


Hmmm ...     2010-08-12 15:27:36
You're knockin' 'em down like a row of dominoes. This is certainly a unique group of peaks. The saving grace for all of us is that it will soon be winter, which will hopefully slow you down a bit, and stop making the rest of us look like grunts. Thanks for posting. Happy trails!


Kiefer


Dominoes indeed!     2010-08-15 11:10:06
Dam, Derek, you've been on a mission on these 13ers! This trip looks like a hell of a good time. That shot of the Dragon's Back in the mist looks other-wordly.
Wildhorse also looks like a cool peak. Been a while since I've been back there.
Descending that 4th class stuff in the clouds must have been awesome! Especially on belay.
Way to go!! 8)



   Using your forum id/password. Not registered? Click Here


Caution: The information contained in this report may not be accurate and should not be the only resource used in preparation for your climb. Failure to have the necessary experience, physical conditioning, supplies or equipment can result in injury or death. 14ers.com and the author(s) of this report provide no warranties, either express or implied, that the information provided is accurate or reliable. By using the information provided, you agree to indemnify and hold harmless 14ers.com and the report author(s) with respect to any claims and demands against them, including any attorney fees and expenses. Please read the 14ers.com Safety and Disclaimer pages for more information.

© 2014 14ers.com®, 14ers Inc.