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[TR] Eldorado Peak - East Ridge 04/22/2018

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Trip: Eldorado Peak - East Ridge

Trip Date: 04/22/2018

Trip Report:

It's a bit late but me and Fred skied Eldorado on Sunday 4-22-18.

We did a TH bivy in the car Saturday night (after helping dig a guy out of the snow 100' from the parking lot). There was a tiny bit of snow lingering in the shade at the lot, but none in the woods.

The log crossing wasn't nearly as bad as I had heard (though the water was low). Pretty typical Cascade stuff:


We were off at 0600 carrying skis wearing ski boots for about 2100', man is it nice to start under sunny skies and not with headlamps. At the start of the boulder field there was enough snow to skin but not by all that much. The snow was pretty variable, wind affected, but it went pretty fast. We crossed into the Roush Creek drainage at 6200' after a brief attempt to do so at 6500' (there is a cliff there). The drop down was only about 70' of easy plunge stepping until we put skis back on. Skinning to our lunch spot at 7500' went smoothly from there.


Skinning the boulder field:



Shitty views towards Cascade Pass:



Crossing the creek divide, this was 6500', too high:



 Lunch spot:


I think it was around noon when we took a long break to melt snow and have lunch at the plateau. Sun-screened up we headed up again. On the ridge the snow was firm and wind affected, it didn't warm up at all despite the hot sun and pretty warm air. We skinned to within about 150' of the summit where we switched to booting with crampons and axes. The ridge was a piece of cake, wind packed snow made for bomber steps and solid cramponing. After obligatory ridge photos we took some time to identify peaks and enjoy the clear spring views, planning future trips, then back to the skis.


Looking east toward Forbidden, Goode, etc.



Summit ridge:




I had thought that the snow on the ridge would be a horrid ski but it was more powdery than anticipated and was actually lots of fun. We shot as far across the snowfield as we could, then shuffled and boot packed a little over the hump. The ski down from about 7000' was horrid sticky sludge, but views and silence were pretty amazing. We spoke to another group that was headed for the NW Couloir at the divide ridge. How did it go?

From there more horridly awesome sludge down to the boulder field where the steeper angle made for suuuuper sketchy traversing causing the entire slope to slough off as wet slides. Way dangerous, though its probably all sloughed off to firmer stuff now. From there we hiked out for a round trip of 9.2 miles, 7100' in 12 hours.

Gear Notes:
Axe, crampons, helmet, ski touring gear. Didn't take a rope, glad of it.

Approach Notes:
Hiked about 2100' in ski boots from the TH.
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Nice work!  I remember that as being an ass-kicker of a day with mostly bad snow conditions.  Sounds familiar!  Hard to beat the views though. 

My guess is the NW couloir is a wallow right now but would be good to hear from that party, whomever they are!

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Nice report!  We were the party of two you saw heading for the NW face couloir.  Our plan was to approach it early Monday from the Eldorado - Dorado Needle Col, as in Nelson-Potterfield Vol II, and not try to rappel down from the Eldorado-Dean col as in a couple reports on this site.  The snow on the north side was looser - not as consolidated, and there was a nontrivial steep snow down climb out of Eldorado -Dorado Needle Col.  Plus, viewed from that col, the NW face couloir looked pretty bony about 1/3 of the way up - no sign of ice, and lots of signs of loose snow over rock.  Given that, and the extra energy we had spent in deep snow with snowshoes, we decided to retreat, and booted up the NE face instead.   When we passed the top of the couloir we felt a little wistful for having bailed - because the conditions looked pretty good at the top of it! --  but it was still a great outing.

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1 minute ago, pugetgold said:

not try to rappel down from the Eldorado-Dean col as in a couple reports on this site.

Any particular reason you didn't want to rap it?  It really saves a lot of time and energy!

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10 minutes ago, JasonG said:

Any particular reason you didn't want to rap it?  It really saves a lot of time and energy!

In retrospect we should have.  It just seemed like it might take us a lot of time to find it, and we hadn't done that rap before, so we went with the more known, if long, route to Eldorado-Dorado needle col, plus that way would give us a better view of the NW face couloir route.  But as stated above, that extra distance, and some hesitation about the route quality when viewed from the col, led us to bail.  Had we rappelled and just gotten right to the base and started up it, it may well have been fine!

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