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JonParker

[TR] Eldorado + Dorado Needle - N ridge on Eldo, NW ridge on the needle 09/08/2022

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Trip: Eldorado + Dorado Needle - N ridge on Eldo, NW ridge on the needle

Trip Date: 09/08/2022

Trip Report:

 

Plans with a partner fell through again, so I took off on another last minute solo. I’ve had a lot of these this summer. It’s not a real complaint because I’ve been having a lot of fun. I feel fortunate to have some many great options near home.

 

I hiked toward the Inspiration with several options in mind for the day, which turned out to be much smokier than I expected from the forecast I saw. I entered a pretty bad layer by the boulder field and abruptly popped out just past the E ridge campsites. The fact that only Eldorado was above the smoke made it an easy choice for the first objective.

I climbed the N ridge. What little I found online about it tends to oversell it IMO. I think it’s a stretch to call it a cool route. While the rock quality is quite good, I found that difficulties were too short, usually only one or two moves at a time. It’s also devoid of exposure, at least the way I climbed it (on or just left of the crest) making it feel like a long V0 boulder problem. Slightly disappointing, but I contrived some fun moves here and there. At the top I wrapped around the NW side of the mountain, went up and over the summit and descended the E ridge.

Partway down I split off and started traversing towards the pass leading to the McAllister. Klawatti was still enveloped in smoke so I headed down onto the McAllister towards Dorado Needle. My first time on this awesome glacier. The route up to the NW ridge looked intimidating from afar, especially solo. But it was never very steep and there was a pliable layer of snow the whole way, so my steps felt secure.

At the notch I put rock shoes on and left everything else behind. I enjoyed this route more than the N ridge of Eldorado. Though short, it feels more like real climbing. The stone is pretty good, and there are some memorable sections, like an easy arete traverse with a piton at your feet trying to trip you, and a cool top out. At the summit I saw two pairs of climbers nearing the top of the E ridge route. Their profiles on the skyline looked cool when I was back down on the glacier.

Climbing down was just as fun as climbing up, and the McAllister descent went without incident. I was visited by a bird before returning to the pass.

By now Klawatti was finally out of the smoke but I was running a little short on time. Seemed like a waste to climb it on such a hazy day anyway. Couldn’t see Moraine lake at all, and Forbidden was barely visible. So I headed back to the car, with a long break to pick berries above the boulder field until I started to feel a little crazy. Despite that delay I avoided headlamp time, reaching the bottom around dusk. Took a ritual dip in the creek and headed back to civilization.

Gear Notes:
Approach and rock shoes. Axe and crampons

Approach Notes:
Inspiration glacier

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Edited by JonParker
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well thanks for this! I have all next week off and am suddenly partnerless, so definitely filing this away as an option...

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You continue to rack up the impressive solo string @JonParker!  I bet you'd like that SW side of Dorado Needle (if you haven't been that way already):

image.png.8d88a53f53feb4527ed71e7dcea04ddc.png

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Slow down man, leave some of the climbing to the rest of us!    That is a cool shot of that bird.    The weird bird experience I have had this summer is hearing owls hoot on pretty much every trip I've taken this summer. Usually late at night, right before I go to sleep.  And, after wishing I had an owl living in the trees on my tiny piece of land here in the city (West Seattle), I actually have been hearing them this summer while laying in bed at night!   Its a barred owl.   I should buy one of @Uncle_Tricky 's owl houses for it.

But every night, even heard one up at Goat Lake in the Olys, which was strange because I didn't think they would go that high.  My last was just there at the  Mineral Creek trailhead when I laid in the tent next to my truck.   Maybe I'm just going crazy though, idk.

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That’s cool @olyclimber reminds me that I heard one last week near Waptus lake, but didn’t see it either.

If you find yourself near Frink park (central Seattle) at dusk in the spring, it’s quite the haunt for barred owls.

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8 minutes ago, JonParker said:

That’s cool @olyclimber reminds me that I heard one last week near Waptus lake, but didn’t see it either.

If you find yourself near Frink park (central Seattle) at dusk in the spring, it’s quite the haunt for barred owls.

I don't think I've been to that one! I will get over there.  Schmitz Preserve and Mee Kwa Mooks, both which are close by to me have them.  Once or twice a year you hear of them "attacking" someone, probably because that person has a hairdo that looks like a tasty rodent or something.

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3 hours ago, JonParker said:

Better up close?

I thought it was worth climbing, though it isn't all as solid as the photo would suggest.  Still, that pitch is one of the better alpine pitches I've climbed in the Cascades and really made for a memorable trip. 

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7 hours ago, olyclimber said:

probably because that person has a hairdo that looks like a tasty rodent or something.

I think owls can be very territorial.  I know I don't have enough hair to look tasty, yet I have had them bomb me, as have several other Hair Club for Men members.

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Fantastic photos! Love the snow bridge one the hawk one, the rock one, the glacier one... :)

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4 hours ago, JonParker said:

Probably got some snow in the last few days but it was dry when I was there 

Is dorado needle NW ridge still accessible? How’s the glacier and is the moat an issue? I’m wondering because I don’t see this route claimed often in September by mortals. 
 

thanks! 

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Moat was not an issue for the NW ridge.

The photos just before the hawk photo show the glacier conditions as of 10 days ago. 

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Just returned from Dorado Needle and Eldorado beautiful double feature at more relaxed pace. Also nice to spend some time with my friend tanstaafl

Notes:

Colder temps this last weekend with a thin layer of snow on top made for some easy travel on the glacier. 

There was no smoke, maybe the slightest haze the first day .

No moat issues.

Mr. Sharp-shinned brought up some friends there was three of them flying around Dorado Needle while we made our ascent. 

Final note is to self, need to get out more.

 

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I am finding these selfies photos satisfying.  cool to see faces to the names/avatars that are familiar but never met.

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3 hours ago, ken4ord said:

Mr. Sharp-shinned brought up some friends there was three of them flying around Dorado Needle while we made our ascent.

So cool!

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Thanks Jon for the beta.  Respect for soloing that glacier; that would have made me nervous.

We went in loaded up for the SW Buttress but it was so dang cold on Saturday night that we opted for Maximum Enjoyment and did the NW Ridge instead.  Never have I had such a lackadaisical alpine day; we left camp at 10 AM!  This turned out to be perfect as we were in the sun all day except for a few minutes in the notch.  Even so I was wearing two jackets on the whole climb.  Summer's over.

Note: while we were out, some tweaker broke into all the vehicles at the Eldorado trailhead and apparently was siphoning gas from them—all had gas caps off.  The climbing rangers came up while we were at Eldo camp and let us know that Ken's was the only vehicle without a window broken; possibly because his gas cap didn't lock.   Evidently this has been happening quite a bit at Eldorado, Boston Basin, and Thornton Lakes trailheads.  Be warned.

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On 9/20/2022 at 7:59 AM, tanstaafl said:

Thanks Jon for the beta.  Respect for soloing that glacier; that would have made me nervous.

We went in loaded up for the SW Buttress but it was so dang cold on Saturday night that we opted for Maximum Enjoyment and did the NW Ridge instead.  Never have I had such a lackadaisical alpine day; we left camp at 10 AM!  This turned out to be perfect as we were in the sun all day except for a few minutes in the notch.  Even so I was wearing two jackets on the whole climb.  Summer's over.

Note: while we were out, some tweaker broke into all the vehicles at the Eldorado trailhead and apparently was siphoning gas from them—all had gas caps off.  The climbing rangers came up while we were at Eldo camp and let us know that Ken's was the only vehicle without a window broken; possibly because his gas cap didn't lock.   Evidently this has been happening quite a bit at Eldorado, Boston Basin, and Thornton Lakes trailheads.  Be warned.

I know pictures were posted by the original OP, but how did you find the Mcallister glacier up close? Was there any issues? Thanks!

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hey just saw this.  The glacier was definitely crevassed; I was happy to be roped up, but as it's late season and there was only the merest skiff of fresh snow, the crevasses was all easily seen and avoided.

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