Route of the Week: Dragons of Eden

By Blake Herrington, 28 July 2013

  • DATE

    28 July 2013


    Blake Herrington


    Rock Climbing

Dragons of Eden (DOE to the Der-town locals) was established in 1988 by Wayne Wallace and Robert McGown on the imposing north face of Dragontail’s NE buttress. The line was complete with the addition of one belay bolt and several sections of aid climbing, eventually merging with the existing NE buttress route after 800’ or so of very steep cracks and corners. The route was first free climbed a few years ago by Jens Holsten and Sol Wertkin, and it has since received a few other free or mostly-free ascents.

DOE has the shortest approach of any alpine rock route in the Stuart Range, beginning off the talus slopes that lead to Aasgard pass, just 700 vertical feet or so above Colchuck Lake. The route is stacked with several excellent and well-protected 5.11 pitches, with an initial 5.10- hand crack to get your blood flowing, and a thin corner rated .12a as the route’s crux.

If you aren’t interested in Dragontail’s upper buttress and summit, Dragons of Eden can also be rappelled with two 60m ropes, staying on or generally just right of the climb. For those who plan on climbing the entire line to NE or true summit of the mountain, the descent will be quick and easy, with a single rappel and then class 3 scrambling leading to Aasgard pass and then down along the peak to the base of the route where any stashed gear can easily be grabbed.

For more beta, check out’s page on Dragons of Eden [LINK].

Blake Herrington

Leavenworth, WA

Blake Herrington learned to climb as a teenager while working for a small bakery in North Cascades National Park. His first trips into the mountains instilled in him a familiarity with untraveled alpine choss and a love for remote peaks. Now in his mid-20s, Blake has lived in Denver and Bellingham, before recently settling into the mountain town of Leavenworth, Wash. He has established over two-dozen new alpine routes or first free ascents from Alaska, to Colorado to Argentina.

Blake is also a widely-published author, having contributed articles to Alpinist, Climbing and Rock & Ice. He has climbed sport and traditional pitches up to 5.13a, but considers diverse alpine routes the most engaging and inspiring sub-set of climbing. Despite savoring the alpine cooking of many climbing partners, he counts himself among the best camp chefs he’s had the opportunity to climb with.