Trip Report    

Glacier Climb - Eldorado Peak/Inspiration Glacier

Perfect conditions for this classic climb in the North Cascades. Cool and cloudy on the way up, beautiful sunset from high camp and straight forward climb to summit with amazing 360 degree views.

  • Road suitable for all vehicles

We left the trailhead on Saturday 6/25 at 7:30am in cloudy and foggy conditions. It had rained a lot the 2 previous days, so the climber’s trail to the boulder fields was pretty muddy and slippery. The boulder fields are completely snow free, but were still wet and so our group climbed through slow and with caution. A few people slipped, but with no consequences. We filled up water at the waterfalls just below the top of the boulder fields. After some more muddy trail, we reached Eldorado basin which is still mostly snow covered. The snow was soft, but a decently compacted boot path made travel to the ridge fast. Despite the weather forecast calling for clear skies by mid-day, we were still by enlarge surrounded and in the clouds. Outgoing parties all reported lots of rain and new snow from the previous day and the morning. None of them had summited. We reached the ridge between Eldorado creek and Roush basin at noon and decided to take a longer break to see if the weather would clear up. There is still enough snow on the ridge to camp (backcountry permits only allow to camp on the ridge when it is snow covered). A few naps, snacks and hours later, the clouds had still not lifted, but there was enough visibility to continue on with the hope that it would clear up in the evening. After an easy and snow free scramble down to the Roush basin, we traveled along the Eldorado Glacier on soft snow, but again a good boot path made travel easy. There is still a lot of snow and there were no crevasses en route to the East Ridge.

We set up camp on snow along the East Ridge at High Camp. There were already 2 parties camping on the currently very small rock outcropping, so we decided to stay to the left (West) side of the nudge and on snow. There was running water in the afternoon, but the source froze up and was not available the next morning. The toilet is also snow free.

Since visibility did not improve, we decided to not try for a summit push and relaxed in camp instead. It turned out to be the right choice. The clouds lifted and the skies cleared up just in time for a beautiful sunset with great views all around. The weather stayed clear throughout the night and into Sunday.

We left camp for the summit at 7am. We put on crampons since the snow had firmed up overnight, but it was getting soft rather fast with the sun. The climb to the knife edge ridge was straight forward on a well trotted boot pack. The knife edge ridge did not disappoint in exposure and definitely caught everybody’s attention, but it was still easily navigable with a boot path and soft yet hard enough for good boot and ice ax penetration, so there was no need for pickets and rope. The summit is still completely snow covered except for a couple of rocks. The views from the top were spectacular.

The decent was straight forward and with nothing particular to note.