Trip Report    

Eldorado Peak/Inspiration Glacier

An exploratory outing aiming for the northwest face couloir ice climb turned into a mellow step-kicking affair up the northeast face and descent via east ridge. This trip report mainly intended to provide condition update for the approach

  • Road suitable for all vehicles
  • Cascade River Road is now drivable by all vehicles to the Eldorado trailhead, and still gated there.

    For the approach, it appears Cascade River must have shifted course over the winter, and so the prior wide log crossing -- the first thing a climber experiences on this climb -- is no longer available. Thankfully, there is now a new gravel bar that one can use a different log to descend to, and then you can re-gain the river crossing at the second big log, which now has more water under it since the river has shifted that way.

    Higher up, the boulder field is entirely covered in snow as of April 23, but beware - it is melting quickly and was hazardous to cross mid-day, even with snowshoes, as pockets are developing that can suck in your leg, or worse.  Furthermore, we witnessed multiple loose-wet avalanches occur, triggered by very small point releases coming off the cliffs above, two of which likely would have been fatal had one gotten caught and carried all the way down into the terrain-trap gully below.  Try to cross the boulder field before the sun hits it if you can, and then beware any mid to late afternoon return across.

    As for the route on the glacier - no crevasses visible.  Route on the knife edge ridge of Eldorado is kicked in, firm, and mellow.

We set out to explore the Northwest face couloir.  Compounding factors led us to abandon that plan and boot up the Northeast face instead.  These factors were: slow-going approach with our snowshoes sinking in considerably, tiring us out;  difficult descent out of Eldorado-Dorado Needle Col, and most critically, NW face couloir route appearing bony with loose snow when viewed from the col.   

Nonetheless, one can't really beat the scenery in that area, and we had a fun and rewarding climb of Eldorado via an easier route!