Ascent of Eldorado Peak on 2013-05-19

Climber: Marlin Thorman

Others in Party:Doug Dixon
Date:Sunday, May 19, 2013
Ascent Type:Successful Summit Attained
    Motorized Transport to Trailhead:Car
Peak:Eldorado Peak
    Elevation:8868 ft / 2702 m

Ascent Trip Report

With a short 2 day window Doug and I decided to give the east ridge of Eldorado Peak a go even though the weather report wasn't the best. We left Spokane at 5am on the long drive to the trailhead. After stopping in Marblemount for a permit we were finally on the trail by 11:30am. The creek crossing was easy and we started up the steep trail in the rain. In the first talus field, Doug had a fight with a rock and lost, leaving a large knot on his leg. We finally reached snow about the 4,000' mark and the going became easier. The weather however continued to shower us with drizzle and then snow once we got high enough. Visibility was often down to 100 ft our less.

After several hours of slogging through the snow with no visibility we finally reached the edge of the Eldorado Glacier just as the sun was starting to break through the clouds. We stopped briefly to talk with a few other climbers, but decided to continue on and camp at the base of the east ridge. As we were crossing Eldorado Glacier there was just enough sun and blue sky to get a good look at the east ridge. After a short search we found a level spot for our campsite in the shelter of a rock with the best view anyone could ask for. Unfortunately the sun and blue sky didn't last long and soon it was snowing again. After setting up camp, melting water, and eating our supper it was time to get some shut eye.

The next morning we stayed in bed while checking the weather hoping it would improve. But with no improvement we put the crampons on and headed out of camp by 5:30am. As we started up the ridge we immediately found tracks from teams ahead of us. We reached the beginning of the knife edge ridge just as the lead team was starting up it. Since visibility was still low and nobody was sure if the summit was large enough to pass, we waited for that team to summit and then come back down the ridge. Just as we were roping up to start the ridge the clouds cleared and the sun came out. It was perfect timing for us! A couple minutes later and we were standing on the summit looking out above the clouds to neighboring peaks. After a few summit pictures we descended the knife edge and then headed down into the clouds on our way back to camp. W packed up camp and started out with visibility now down to 50 feet. The snow was much softer than the day before even though it was still early morning and without skis the decent was a long snow slog. Finally around 5,000 ft visibility improved. We reached the car just after 1pm and then drove the 6 hours back to Spokane.

The following pictures are a mix from both Doug and I.
Summary Total Data
    Total Elevation Gain:6800 ft / 2072 m
    Round-Trip Distance:8.2 mi / 13.2 km
    Route:East Ridge
    Trailhead:Cascade River Rd Trailhead  2068 ft / 630 m
    Grade/Class:Class 3, Grade II
    Quality:8 (on a subjective 1-10 scale)
    Route Conditions:
Unmaintained Trail, Snow on Ground, Snow Climb, Glacier Climb
    Gear Used:
Ice Axe, Crampons, Rope, Tent Camp
    Nights Spent:1 nights away from roads
    Weather:Cool, Windy, Low Clouds
Whiteout below 8,500ft.
GPS Data for Ascent/Trip

 GPS Waypoints - Hover or click to see name and lat/long
Peaks:  climbed and  unclimbed by Marlin Thorman
Click Here for a Full Screen Map
Note: GPS Tracks may not be accurate, and may not show the best route. Do not follow this route blindly. Conditions change frequently. Use of a GPS unit in the outdoors, even with a pre-loaded track, is no substitute for experience and good judgment. accepts NO responsibility or liability from use of this data.

Download this GPS track as a GPX file

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