Distance: 8.6 mi.
Elevation Gain: 7612 ft.
We walked about 100 feet down the road from the parking lot, then turned right toward the river just before 7 AM. We had an immediate balance-y river crossing over a downed log. We picked our way along the trail through the forest, although it had some dead end trail branches that caused some confusion. The trail was steep and dusty after a recent dry spell.
We reached our first boulder field, with beautiful views of Cascade Pass, at 8:30 AM, and had a snack and sunscreened up. Upper Eldorado Creek basin was pretty lightly covered in snow. When we reached the ridge, we looked for the secret gully that would allow us to cross the ridge due west (left). There were a couple tricky scramble moves through the gully to Roush Basin below. We decided to have lunch in the shade and then continued north across the basin. We found a nice rock outcropping midway across the basin to rearrange gear and rope up before reaching the glacier.
Despite having never all climbed together before, our six-person team moved like a well-oiled machine. We curved right toward the east ridge of Eldorado, briefly stopped at the campsite here for a potty break (I hear the views are amazing from the toilet), and then turned left (northwest) to continue up the east ridge. Our path curved back and forth a bit around some smallish crevasses as we continued to climb. We finally reached the knife-edge ridge just below the summit at 1:45 PM, where we filed across one by one, and then we had a nice snack break on the warm rocks for a half hour. We retraced our steps as the snow got a bit sloppier through the afternoon.
The climb up the gully was understandably easier on the way back. From there we shortly reached dry land and moved quickly through the boulder fields. We reached the very buggy parking lot just before 6 PM, and then boogied over to Cascadia Farms for some delicious ice cream. This was a fun, challenging, and rewarding one-day ascent of Eldorado.
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- Aluminum crampons
- Aluminum ice axe
- Glacier glasses
- Locking carabiners
- Mountaineering boots
- Trekking poles