Loc: San Carlos, CA
Climb: Eldorado, Austera, Klawatti-Eldroado Ice Cap
Date of Climb: 7/19-20/2005
Trip Report: Short Story:
We did the Eldorado Ice Cap traverse to Austera Peak camping at Klawatti Col and climbing Eldorado on the way. I also climbed the southwest buttress of Klawatti Peak.
We set out from the parking lot at 9am under clear skies which made me want to get up into the alpine as fast as possible! The approach was steep and long, but not too bad the second time around. We made good headway and arrived at the base of the east ridge of Eldorado at 2 pm. Very few crevasses on either the Eldorado Glacier or Inspiration Glacier to this point. We ascended the Eldorado ridge under brilliant blue skies finally topping out at the famous knife edge. Tracks and steps from the previous days ended at the top of the snowridge, but I continued and kicked steps all the way to the rock outcropping on the west side of the snow arÍte. The views were marvelous and we took time to take photos of the summit ridge and views.
After descending Eldorado, we continued on the Inspiration Glacier, traversing at around 7800 feet to Klawatti Col. There were a couple crevasses in one section to navigate thru, which can be bypassed either above or below, but pretty straightforward. Arriving at Klawatti Col at 5:30 pm, we set up camp quickly on the snow as the shade from nearby towers was approaching. With the shade came plummeting temps and a cold wind sending us into the sleeping bags. I came out of the tent for a great sunset with awesome alpenglow on the summit ridge of Eldorado and a full moon rising over Forbidden.
We got out of the tent to see the sunrise under clear and cold conditions. The light on Eldorado was great. We set out for Austera-Klawatti col at about 6 am. The frozen snow made for great cramponing conditions. The moat crossing at Austera-Klawatti col was not too bad although we found an easier route on the return trip that was not obvious from the Westside of the col. The walk from the col to the top of Austera was fast and soon we were peering down at the expanse of the totally awesome McAllister Glacier and its twin ice falls. I continued to the true summit of Austera which was a 10 minute excursion thanks to the beta from Klenke on summitpost. We rested on the summit and watched the lighting change.
We made it back to camp at 11 am after a leisurely walk across the Klawatti Glacier. From camp, I ascended the southwest buttress of Klawatti. The hardest part was the first 100 feet of getting on to the buttress. Afterwards, the climbing was class 4, then class 3, and finally class 2 for the last couple hundred feet. The roundtrip up Klawatti was less than an hour.
Back at camp, we rested in the warm sunshine for a bit and then departed camp just after 1 pm, making it back to the car at 5:20. The view from the top of Austera is well worth the effort to get there - some of the best scenery I have seen in the cascades and endless photography opportunities. Hauling gear up the approach paid off with a fabulous sunrise and sunset.
This has been on my list for a while, your pics are going to bring it close to the top. BTW: has anyone continued this traverse, ie going out McAllister Cr, or the ridge between McAllister and Thunder? Doable, or too stupid to even contemplate?
BTW: has anyone continued this traverse, ie going out McAllister Cr, or the ridge between McAllister and Thunder? Doable, or too stupid to even contemplate?
Primus/Tricouni have been approached from Thunder Creek so one could exit that way as well. I haven't done that so can't comment.
The McAllister has been done in the opposite direction, descending into the hole from the vicinity of Isolation Peak thence upward to the vicinity of Tillies Towers bypassing the lower icefall. Nobody has ever had anything nice to say about this, nor, too my knowledge been masochistic enough to do it twice. A much better route, if you're heading North, is to drop into Marble Creek cirque next to Eldorado, then tootle on out northwards past Isolation, eventually crossing the Neve Galcier en route to a cold beer somewhere on the Skagit. All this stuff is pretty well documented elsewhere. Very cool country. Don't miss it.