Trip Report    

Basic Glacier Climb - Eldorado Peak/Inspiration Glacier

Don't trust good weather reports! We were turned around at high camp due to a freezing rain storm and high winds.

  • Road suitable for all vehicles

Improvements for next time: 

  • Permits: We arrived at 7 AM to get the free permit for camping overnight. I was in line until 7:30AM to get the permit. To avoid having the group wait around for a half hour in the future I would either show up earlier to get in line for the permit or have the group meet me there at 7:30 AM. 

    • If camping overnight, you are required to give the make, model and license plate number cars that you wish to leave at the trail head. In the future I would collect that information on the group gear list in advance. 

  • Bear Cans- I’d originally thought it would be nice to set up camp around 6000 ft, but was told by the rangers we’d need bear cans below the glacier. We saw a black bear in the trail portion after the boulders, so the need is legit! 

  • Carpool:  My plan was to carpool from the Marblemount wilderness information station; however, they do not allow overnight parking. In the future I would find a different place from which to carpool. 

  • Weather: I was keeping an eye on NOAA’s forecast that was very optimistic: partly sunny and 20% chance of rain. In actuality, after the glacier we were met with vicious wind and a freezing downpour that soaked all our Goretex. Next time I would consider multiple forecasts and prepare for the worst, no matter how positive they sound. 


The bare bones report:

  • Parked and began trip around 8:30 AM. Facing away from the cars, we walked left to the cairn indicating the trail. The two log crossings were in good shape and the trail between them turns right through the woods. 

  • The trail portion was steep; the boulder clambering portion was fun. We stayed on climbers right side of the boulder field with the cairns and occasional trail. At one point there is a small waterfall that you can avoid climbing up by taking a faint trail in the woods at right. 

  • At this time of year, the glacier is quite icy and steep at the beginning with several exposed crevasses. We roped up, wore crampons, and I was happy that we did :) We did not place any pickets. 

  • The weather turned absolutely foul in the middle of the glacier. Turning around was considered. I decided we should press on to camp in order to get shelter as soon as possible, as some participants were in danger of hypothermia. 

  • At camp, everyone worked together and maintained good spirits despite terrible conditions. 

  • There is a water source a bit north of camp. The toilet is in working order. 

  • Rain continued steadily in the morning and everyone’s gear was soaked, so we decided to return. The boulders and trail back down were extremely slippery. There were quite a few falls and stumbles, but everyone was safe. 

  • We arrived back at the cars around 4 PM and I was very grateful for our tenacious, positive crew!