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Trip Report    

Eldorado Peak/Northeast Face

ON Oct 3-4 weekend, 5 of us left TH at 10:30am. From the road crossed the river on the large tree trunk. The trail immediately started up and we reached the first boulder field in 1.5 hours. Many cairns clearly mark the path. Stay more to the right and look for somewhat of a dirt trail that goes in and out of the boulder field and along the bushes. Much easier this way than straight up the boulder field. At about 5200 traverse left on well marked trail to base of a small waterfall. Great place to refill water bottles and take a break. Continued up the trail and into the large open basin. Numerous cairns mark the trail all the way up to the notch (6200) to drop over into the Roush creek basin. Trail drops steeply but can be easily down climbed.

From the steep trail down turn right up to the Eldorado Glacier. This was my fist time being here so late in the year and was very surprised to see the glacier so far up. At this point we ran into two separate teams of climbers that attempted to summit Eldorado Basic route and both teams had to turn around due to hard ice near the summit. Neither of the two teams had ice screws with them. They both reported that it would take us another 3 to 4 hours to each the east ridge bivy site due to the open crevasses. We all were moving slow and feeling the elevation gain and decided to camp just below the glacier and get an early start. Found a few flat spots to set up camp and had running water near by.

Sunday morning left camp at 5:45 am and reached the bottom of Eldorado glacier within 40 minutes. Once on the glacier there were several wide open crevasses that we weaved through with one section having to dip into the crevasse to get to the other side. After 2 hours leaving camp we made it to the first typical bivy site near eggplant peak. Crossed the open flat glacier field and headed up to the notch on the east ridge. Crossed over the notch and went down short dirt section (25') onto the snow. Headed up the east ridge on the glacier for approximately 35 minutes to the bergschrund. Just to the right you can see large rock cliff bands and here is where we turned right and crossed just below the rock cliffs around the bend to the Northeast side.

We continued around the NE side and up towards the north ridge. Realized we went to far and had to traverse back down and to the left. From this view point we could see numerous open crevasses that we would need to navigate through just to get to the bergschrund, which is the crux of the move. By this time it was 11:00am and we realized we would not have enough time to make it to the summit and get back to the TH at a reasonable time. We traversed back to the east ridge and three of us decided we had enough time to summit Eldorado east ridge route. Sections had very hard ice and we used a few ice screws as a running belay. Made the summit by 1:30ish. Headed down off the summit and again used ice screws as running belays around some steep sections. Most of the way back down was on the rock ridge until you drop back onto the snow. Made it across the flat open glacier field to the typical first bivy site by 3:30. Again weaved through the open crevasses and off the glacier to our campsite. Left camp just before 6pm and out to TH by 11pm.

Really bummed we weren't able to summit the NE face route, but still had fun. The weather was perfect, clear sky with 360 degrees views. Depending on how fast your party is I would recommend leaving very early from TH to allow enough time to reach the east ridge bivy site or allow two nights to camp. The few steep sections we climbed the snow was pretty hard and would be difficult to place pickets. From this and having to use ice screws on the east ridge I would expect the NE face to have pretty hard ice.