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Dragon's Tail Pro Question

Colorado 13er questions, conditions, and other info should be posted here. Also includes topics related to 13ers.com. 13er Trip Reports
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Dragon's Tail Pro Question

Postby ash-ish » Mon May 20, 2013 11:37 pm

Probably posted in the wrong forum. Planning on climbing Dragon's Tail solo on Monday, May 27. I am comfortable with 4th class, but just want to carry a couple of cams for backup for the rock step. Does anybody have an idea what size cams may work? Any beta on the condition of the rock step will be helpful as well. I am planning on starting between 2:00 AM and 3:00 AM Monday morning. If anybody is interested, please pm me. Thanks.

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Re: Dragon's Tail Pro Question

Postby JonW » Tue May 21, 2013 6:45 am

I've never placed cams on Dragon's Tail, but in my experience smaller (0.5 C4 and below) work best in RMNP couloir snow climbs. With that said, you're going solo and bringing cams? Probably just safest to move quickly instead of rope soloing the thing. The "rock step" on Dragon's Tale is no harder than class 3. The consensus rating on the MP (http://mountainproject.com/v/dragons-tail-couloir/105747512) is BS. See Eli's comment at the very end.

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Re: Dragon's Tail Pro Question

Postby ash-ish » Tue May 21, 2013 7:00 am

Thanks Jon. I was not planning on using a rope, just a long runner to my harness with the pro on the other end - something to protect me while i make a risky move or two. DT was my first couloir climb with a guide a few years ago - i do remember the rock step was not too technical.

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Re: Dragon's Tail Pro Question

Postby TomPierce » Tue May 21, 2013 8:05 am

If you were planning on placing a cam and clipping directly into it with a sling, note that this is a very risky thing to do. You'd think it'd be fine with slings being rated for multi-Kn strength, but that's not the case. I posted a heads up on this issue in the past:

http://dmmclimbing.com/knowledge/how-to-break-nylon-dyneema-slings/

Those falls in the video were all vertical so I doubt you'd generate anything close to that while falling on class 3 terrain, but thought it was worth considering if this technique was being contemplated on steeper terrain than I assume, either in Dragon's Tail or other climbs in the future. The clip-directly-into-a-sling technique can be a fatal error.

Just my .02. Be safe and have a fun time on your climb!

-Tom

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Re: Dragon's Tail Pro Question

Postby ash-ish » Tue May 21, 2013 11:11 am

Tom,

It is defintely important information that you shared for future reference. My goal is to hold me if I am slipping while climbing with crampons and not to prevent a fall. I will still keep your advice in mind and rethink the need for pro on DT. Thanks!

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Re: Dragon's Tail Pro Question

Postby seth0687 » Tue May 21, 2013 11:21 am

You realize that if you plug a cam and clip in you are just going to have to unclip almost immediately when you step past it...that sounds like far more hassle than it could ever be worth.

If you are that worried about the rock step I'd say get a partner or choose a different climb...

But that's just my .02. As far as rack goes Check out Eli's rack for Rmnp on climbinglife.com. I normally carry a couple c3s and c4s to #1, set of nuts, couple pitons, and that's it for pro when I'm in the park.

Good luck.

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Re: Dragon's Tail Pro Question

Postby crossfitter » Tue May 21, 2013 11:48 am

ash-ish wrote:Tom,

It is defintely important information that you shared for future reference. My goal is to hold me if I am slipping while climbing with crampons and not to prevent a fall. I will still keep your advice in mind and rethink the need for pro on DT. Thanks!


If you slip to the point that a cam catches you, aren't you by definition falling on it? If you don't have the confidence to solo it, it would be much smarter to bring a belayer or rope solo the rock section.
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Re: Dragon's Tail Pro Question

Postby ash-ish » Wed May 22, 2013 4:25 am

Seth0687 and Crossfitter - thanks for your input. It's not that I am worried about the rock step or that I am not confident climbing class 4. It's just that every website/trip report gives a different perspective on the rock step, so I just wanted a back up. But from comments here it seems unnecessary.

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Re: Dragon's Tail Pro Question

Postby FullertonImages » Tue Jun 04, 2013 10:23 pm

I would say, if you're concerned at all about the rock step, bring a few piece of gear. But rather than messing around with a harness and clipping in for fall protection, just place a piece if you need it and use it for direct aid. Put in a bomber cam, pull on the sling, and that way you've got one super solid point of contact. Much fast, simpler, and I would argue, safer.
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Re: Dragon's Tail Pro Question

Postby James Dziezynski » Wed Jun 05, 2013 1:51 pm

I've done Dragon's Tail three times now, twice in mixed conditions, once in snow. The diciest part I've ever encountered was a half-frozen/rock traverse right before the final little snow field before the summit, which was much trickier than the rock step (as previously mentioned, it's really class 3 stuff). And that was only in mixed conditions where a lot of the climb was hard ice. You can easily drop down and skip this "frozen traverse" or if it is either more snow or more rock, it won't be a big deal. The nice thing about Dragon's Tail is you have lots of options.

So depending on conditions, you may have to do some clever route finding (I've hit the tougher traverses because they were faster and I was pretty comfortable with the moves) but if you can handle class 3, you'll be fine. And as a last resort, if you feel completely uncomfortable, you can always go back the way you came... ugh... placing pro solo is trickier than it seems in many cases, so good route finding should save you the trouble.
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