Trip Report    

Intermediate Alpine Climb - Eldorado Peak/Northeast Face

The ice climb is in, at least for now.

  • Road suitable for all vehicles
  • Note that there are mice at the trailhead, so it is recommended to not camp there and to avoid leaving any food in your car.

    Water is available at several locations in the basin as well as higher up--even on the rock ridge near the summit if I recall correctly.  Avoid the far right of the glacier which is calving off onto the rock below--huge chunks fell off as we roped up and there was a lot more debris when we came down.  There are some crevasses to navigate at the start of the climb, but easy to get around; higher up no problem as well.

    There is good ice just a bit north of the rock ridge, which seems to be the route of choice for  reaching the summit this year.  The lower section is very steep, even overhanging at the top, but there is apparently a ramp of 70 degree or so ice going up to left--I didn't see it from my perspective, and felt that was too steep for me.  The upper section is around 45 degrees with some short steep steps and flattens out as you get higher.  We were able to find a way on the left to bypass the 70 degree section and get to the easier terrain via a snow bridge, but no idea how long this will last.  The ice was excellent quality and took screws well, but the route is not very long.  It is very dramatic with a lot of exposure at the bottom.  After it flattens out you can move to the rock and scramble class 2/3 to the summit.

    It's possible there's more ice further north (we saw only snow, but the face bends around out of view) but it seemed there were a lot of crevasses and we didn't have time to explore.

We had perfect weather which greatly helped to complete the climb in a day.  Started at 5:12am; it was light enough to not need headlamps when reached the boulder field.  Reached the summit in 9.5 hours, got back down to bottom of the boulder field at 8pm just as it got dark enough to need headlamps again, and finished at 9:14pm for almost exactly 16 hours.  I was moving slowly for some reason and we also had an odd number (5), which meant one climbing team of 3, which also slowed us down, so it's certainly possible to go faster.   A great group and very enjoyable climb in a beautiful location.