Eldorado Peak - Inspiration GlacierDate:
Solo ascent of Eldorado Peak via probably the most popular route on this peak, Eldorado and Inspiration glaciers route. One day approximately 11 hours car to car. I started my day at 3 am at home, geared up and headed out at 3:20 am. I reached the trailhead around 5:30 AM. My climb started at 5:45 am. The climb presents a challenge from the start as the crossing of eldorado creek is not super obvious to someone that has never done it. Finding the log to cross the creek wasted about 7 minutes of my day. That being said, once you park, the log crossing which is huge is about 100 feet down/back the road on the climber's right side. The trail as most descriptions will tell you is steep, but not the steepest trail by any means. Along the route you'll find a very extensive boulder field that will make your knees hurt (it made mine hurt). The trail is obvious until you get to the boulder field, once there watch out for cairns and follow their general direction. Eventually reaching a beautiful basin, eldorado basin. I kept on the climber trail and following cairns, eventually leading to a 3 way intersection. I chose to descend about 100 feet or so to another basin below eldorado glacier. From here, I stayed closed to the ridge but trying to avoid obvious rock fall hazard. To get on eldorado glacier, the best route to me was close to the ridgeline. Most crevasses along the route are open and navigating around them works fine, the climber path others have made is pretty obvious. The crevasses are quite big and deep so it was a bit intimidating. Once you get on Inspiration Glacier, the steep grade becomes mild. This is where I finally saw other climbers returning from their ascent. Camp sites are visible in Inspiration Glacier basin or on rock platforms along the final ridgeline to the peak. The knife edge was exhilarating since I was only wearing microspikes, but other climbers during that day had already kicked in steps. I reached the top around 11:30 AM. I descended the same route I came up and was back at my car around 4:43 PM.
My GPX if interested: https://dl.dropboxusercontent.com/u/57379305/Eldorado%20Peak.gpx
start of boulder field
not sure, but maybe johannesburg mountain
glacier peak in the distance
snow campsite in Inspiration Glacier
final crevasse/bergschrund along route
going down the knife edge
campsite in final ridge line
one of the crevasses along the routeGear Notes:
solo light gearApproach Notes:
First 10 miles of Cascade River Road are paved. Next 20 miles are not.