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Trip Report    

Basic Glacier Climb - Eldorado Peak/Inspiration Glacier

Eldorado is a wonderful basic alpine climb for the aspiring alpinist.

  • Road suitable for all vehicles
  • See below.

Date climbed: June 1, 2019

Road Conditions: Well maintained dirt road. We parked at a turn out on the right hand side of Cascade River Road, just after mile marker 20.

Weather: Clear weather the whole day

We had 9 people in our group, and started our climb at 3 am. The old log crossing has washed away. There was another log jam down river, but we considered it too slippery to cross. We instead forded the icy cold river. The water levels fluctuated throughout the day. At 3 am it was knee deep in certain sections (great way to wake up). We found a slightly more shallow section a bit to the right, rather than trying to cross straight through. On the other river bank we changed out of sandals/approach shoes and put our boots on (stashing our shoes on a nearby boulder). We made our way left to hit the climbers trail. After ascending for a few hours, we arrived at the boulder field around 5:30 am and progressed up along the eastern side of the boulders following the cairns (there is also a trail to the western side of the boulders). Plenty of opportunities to refill water bottles along the boulder field. We hit small patches of snow past the boulder field which then turned into a steady snow field. At around 6000 ft, we traversed west, crossing into the Roush Creek Basin. The down climb into the Roush basin was a bit slippery and needed a bit of extra caution. We then continued to ascend up, just to the left (west) of the rocky ridge line, with a few accessible water spots around 6500 ft (with caution to avoid the developing moats). Continuing on the snowfields, we reached the flats of the inspiration glacier around 7500 ft. We roped up and crossed the flats, stopping at the campsites near the rock croppings (8000 ft) to have a lunch break (10 am) before making the final summit push. The final ascent to the summit was slow going, with lots of post holing up to knee depth. We reached the summit at 12:40 pm. A large cornice was visible at the very peak of the knife edge, so we stopped 20 feet short of the cornice. The descent was straightforward, with more post holing as the snow warmed up. We remained roped up on the descent till crossing back onto the eldorado creek basin, to protect against moats. After the talus field, reconnecting with the climbers trail, we made sure to keep to the left (a few instances of misleading trails to the right). At the bottom, we found the trailhead marker, and took a left along a trail that followed the river to get back to our shoes, and cross the river at 7:45 pm. The river was higher, around thigh high, but still able to be forded.

We had brought pickets and crampons, though did not end up needing them. We had three rope teams.