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Trip Report    

Late Season Eldorado One-Day

Took advantage of a brief weather window (that didn't always stay open) for a one-day climb of Eldorado.

  • Road suitable for all vehicles
  • The route was in late season shape with hard ice and snow underfoot and many open crevasses.  Creek crossing involved one wide step but was otherwise no problem.  Snow on the upper mountain was very hard. 

We started out at 5:00AM with headlamps on and got across the creek with a minor navigational detour and some bushwhacking.  (The creek crossing is straightforward if you take the correct heading toward the sign that marks the trail after the first cross.)

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Hiking through mist and light rain, we covered the forested portion and the boulder field up to the waterfall where we took a longer break to refill water and have a group discussion.  One climber wasn't feeling well and another climber wasn't feeling the weather, and they opted to descend to the cars rather than continue the climb.  (They had an InReach for communication, and we exchanged InReach handles and tested InReach-to-InReach communication before they set out.)

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The remaining group of seven hiked up through the meadows and descended down onto the Roush Basin at about 9:30AM.  We roped up at 11AM and snaked through crevasses on hard ice, tending climber's right.

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Rather than going climber's left around the enormous moulin that is opposite the Eggplant, we went around climber's right, crossing hard blue ice intermixed with patches of soft, pasty snow.  The moulin itself was striking, with small waterfalls pouring out of breaks along the face.


Visibility was limited crossing the "football field", but we took advantage of breaks in the clouds to adjust our path around crevasses and navigated up to high camp where we were treated to stunning view of dynamic clouds over Forbidden.

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Past high camp, we hugged climber's left on hard, dirty snow that was good for crampons but too hard to kick steps into.  There were significant moats open along the rocks as well as crevasses running parallel to the ridge, but we were able to navigate around the obstacles, getting onto the rock once on the way to the knife edge.

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fullsizeoutput_d064.jpeg We reached the knife edge close to our turn-around time of 2PM with weather oscillating between strong winds and clear, strong winds and low visibility, and strong winds with sideways hail, and after some deliberation with the group, I made the call to turn us around.  With better weather or with a slightly earlier start, we would have had time to protect — likely with screws —and cross the knife edge.  (We brought six long ice screws in addition to pickets.)

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We made good time on the way down in spite of stopping to enjoy abundant blueberries.  We got off the glacier at 3:30PM, off the boulder field at 6:15PM, back to the cars at 7:30PM, and to Mondo's just before closing time. 

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