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[TR] Eldorado- NW Couloir 11/13/2004


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Climb: Eldorado-NW Couloir


Date of Climb: 11/13/2004


Trip Report:

Ken and I climbed the NW couloir on Eldorado this weekend in a rather slim 12 hour window of good weather. It was a fun and reasonably short route with some good ice and a lot of neve. We took a different and shorter approach by rappelling down from the notch between Eldorado and Dean's Spire.


Full trip report here



Bug n' Billygoat



the route






Gear Notes:

1-2 ice screws, 2 pickets, medium rock rack with pins. One rope.


Approach Notes:

Road gated at Eldorado TH. Snow started right after the boulder field. about 6-12" of spring-ish snow with a rain crust. Firm footing about 7500ft.

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Nice job, Dave!


You faired much better at the crux of the climb than we did:

the approach. We left Seattle at around midnight, without any sleep, hoping to do it in a day. We made good time to the first boulderfield, but then we fell...





Clearly we were missing our Twightian angry-at-the-world mp3s or our Gaddian RedBulls.

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Nice work guys. That gulley looks swwweeet! Now I'm really jealous. Oh well. The hot tub thing worked out afterall..... But that's a tr for a different site.





It was a great time. Dave thanks for talking me into giving it a go. I am riding on cloud 9 today and really stoked now to get on some Canadian Rockies goodness. Yeehaw!!!!!!

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Hey Mark, I'm lame, the only camera I carry is the one in my mind, as of yet they haven't worked out the technology to share those images I have of Dave climbing that pitch. Though, I think it was easier than when you guys climbed, just because it was one of few place on the route with real solid sticks.

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AHHHH I see that spindrift you spoke of. What a pain that must have been.


You left out the postholing, the 10:30 am committing Alpine start (we woke up at 4 am to snow, fog and 20 foot vis and went back to sleep), the pulling the crux and topping out in the dark, climbing the knife edge ridge to the top assisted only by a weaka and a myo, down climbing the East Ridge during a moonless night, waking up to rain and wind, postholing down, hiking that brutal trail, getting back to the truck at 11 am only to find I had just left for a three hour hike ten minutes ago kinda hardship, and the fact that you did not take my truck down the 20 miles to Marblemount for burgers wazzup.gif (must have been the beer I left ya wink.gif)....I will have to go to your website Dave to hopefully get all the gory details!




That was a fucking great climb based on a good yet seriously committing call! rockband.gifthumbs_up.gif



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Yeah that hike was brutal, feels like it is straight up hill. Then the postholing in the soft snow, I freaking hate postholing. When we decided to give it a go there were several times where I wanted to turn back and join you and Bug for beers and just truck it back to Seattle. Thankfully I kept on talking myself into going a little further, cause once we got up on to the plateau the glacier was nice and firm. No post holing or crampons needed, that is when I new we could do it. When we got back it was tempting to take your truck and go get some food, after Dave's yelling for you, didn't produce a response. Then we found the beers, ah yeah, beer is good food.


Billygoat we couldn't have done the climb without ya, seriously a big thanks to ya. I asked Dave on the way down what we would have done if you didn't offer to stay and wait for us, both of us didn't have an answer, we probably would have bailed. Thanks man thumbs_up.gif

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The climb looks really nice in your pictures. I'll have to add it to my list.


I wonder how many folks have read Bill Pilling's original 1987 AAJ report of this climb (p. 164). It's a Cascade classic:


El Dorado Peak, North Couloir


The north face of El Dorado Peak is a hazardous enigma. In October, Dan Cauthom and I--carrying plenty of noodles and tuna packed in oil--emerged from the depths of the Cascade forest empire to investigate this hidden facet of the "Queen of the Cascade River." There were no clouds to cause concern. (Still, you never know.) We left our camp below the west face of El Dorado at six A.M. and walked toward the Dorado Needle-El Dorado col until we could climb onto the glacier beneath the north face of Eldorado. The elegant and unmistakable couloir required 6 to 8 pitches of frozen snow and water ice between 55 degrees and vertical, finishing on the knife-edged summit arete. On the summit at one P.M., Cauthom summed it all up: "Good climb, good climb ... I think so, don't you?" (III).



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Hmm that is a good question. I would think I would reserve skiing it for the late spring. I would think by then it would be filled in with snow, during the winter I think I would feel little insecure going down that slot on hardpack. I think it is too steep to really fill in with powder, but maybe somebody else knows differently.

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enem, dave burdicks trip report has some pics of the current conditions on the approach, specifically one shot taken from the Roush Cr divide.


my experience with the approach route and (count em!) 3 trips up that way in November(s) is that its a terrible approach to ski until everything is completely buried...April, May. You break out of the trees at a pretty low elevation, so the snow wont fill in the boulderfields for a long time (perhaps Feb?). Its pretty steep going all the way up, so skinning is pretty tough until after the Roush Cr divide (the first 4000 elevation gain) if you dont have smooth filled in slopes to deal with

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I skied the regular E. Ridge route in February or March of a low snow year, and it was great.


I would agree with those who suggest waiting until the snowpack builds up -- in midwinter we had dry ground up to just short of the boulderfield, and plenty of snowpack on the boulders and everywhere on up. Right now, you'd get good skiing higher up but it could be oh so much more fun with five feet more snow. However, you could easily climb that NW couloir in ski boots, so if you are headed up there anyway....

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