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Trip Report    

Glacier Climb - Eldorado Peak/Inspiration Glacier

Successful early spring climb of Eldorado via Inspiration Glacier

  • Road suitable for all vehicles
  •  No snow encountered on the hike in until we hit the boulder field which offered treacherous travel conditions due to partial snow coverage especially on our hike out on Monday. Each participant ended up sliding and getting snowshoes trapped in various holes between boulders hidden under soft snow . We were thankful to make it back on the climbers trail without any injuries. 

    Good, continuous snow pack started above 5000 ft.  

Cascade River Road is closed at mile 18 (due to construction started last year at mile 20 and not finished) and 2 extra miles (each way) were added to our journey. Due to the same construction project addressing Eldorado Creek erosion at mile 20, the log used by us climbers to get from the road to the main log system over the creek  is not there anymore. Given current low water levels, we had no issues jumping over some rocks in order to make it on the main log system to get us on the other side of the creek but in the summer, when water levels are high, I can see the start of the crossing being problematic.

After making good time on the road and the steep climbers trail, we got slowed down significantly starting at the boulder field due to soft snow and significant postholing even with snowshoes. Our initial goal was to camp at 7300 ft camp but after 5.5 hours and 4000 ft elevation gain we decided to camp at 6100 ft right next to the notch we would downclimb from into Roush Creek basin next day for the summit push. It was a great choice -- perfect spot for camping and we had the honor to spot an wolverine which was planning to cross the ridge and drop into Roush Creek basin  and wasn't happy we were in his way. He popped on the ridge and  got very close to our camp, almost convincing us that he was planning to join us for dinner but ended up finding a backup route for his descent in the basin.

We had a perfect weather window and snow pack for the summit day. Started at 4, made it on Inspiration glacier plateau right at sunrise (timed it perfectly), roped up and summited around 9:30 am after negotiating very narrow knife edge. We did a running belay using 4 pickets. Down climb was straight forward and by noon we were back in the camp. Hike out was a different story (nerve racking for sure) due to snow melt in the boulder field. 

Brought and used: 37 meter rope, 4 pickets, crampons, snowshoes. A longer rope (60 m) for the knife edge protection would had been better.

Water available around 5300 ft.