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[TR] Dorado Needle - SW Buttress 8/20/2011

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Trip: Dorado Needle - SW Buttress


Date: 8/20/2011


Trip Report:

When this is your plan B, you know you live in a pretty good part of the country. Unable to secure a permit for a particularly well known locale in NCNP, Gord, Curt and myself pulled the only permit for Friday night in the Eldorado XCZ. The only one!


The trail doesn't mess around, so we tried not to either, arriving at the camp at the base of the east ridge in about 5 hours. There is now a composting toilet here, and it is easy to find meltwater just east of the camps. Gord and I went up to the summit of Eldorado for the evening light and were treated to one of the best views in the park. It never gets old.


We turned in pretty early anticipating a long day, and set the alarms for 0430. It came early, much too early, interrupting my dream of Concrete yahoos burning donuts by our camp (on the glacier!)with their jacked up trucks. Imagine my surprise when I only awoke to a slight breeze, stars, and endless quiet. We were off about 0545 and traversed down, around, and up to the base of the route in about 2 hours. We were climbing by 0800, and Nelson is pretty spot on with his written description of the route (the line on the photo is a bit off, however).


The route is pretty long (10+ pitches) and we were glad to have rock shoes for most sections. Most of the climbing felt hard enough to pitch out, and the rope drag would be pretty bad for simul-climbing unless you were pretty close to one another. There is one pitch in particular that is stellar, and Curt enjoyed every meter of it. About as good a pitch as I have climbed anywhere in the mountains! Most of the other pitches have some looseness, but not bad at all for the mountains. It took us about 6 hours to reach the summit.


On the descent, we down climbed back to a rap anchor and did a 10 and a 30m rap to the glacier. We had to swing over the gaping moat to get on the snow, but it was better than it looked from above. We quickly (well, slowly) returned back to camp (@~1700)to pack up and descend before dark. We just made it, arriving back at the car at 2015. Unfortunately Good Food was closed, as was Annie's, so we settled for Bob's in Sedro. Good burgers to round out an excellent trip!!


Photos are much better than my writing though, so here is our trip, flip-book style. Let me know if you want captions.





















The SW side of Dorado Needle, the buttress is left of center in the photo. Taken from the summit of Eldorado the day before:





































Gear Notes:

Medium rack to 3" seemed to work well


Approach Notes:

The trail just gets better by the year!

Edited by JasonG

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An excellent outing - thanks guys!


Considering how good Jason's photos are, you hardly ever notice him stopping along the way!? I'm starting to think what he does is 99% Photoshop.

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Between you and me . . 99.9%


Now, if I could just figure out a way to leave the camera at home altogether, I'd be set!

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Nice work y'all! Bivying up near Eldo is so rad! The rock quality looks great from those rad shots. 6hrs as a party of three and hauling that SLR around is solid!


Stoke for the fire!

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Thanks Mark! I've always enjoyed the photography of your TRs, so I am glad to return the favor.

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The rock quality looks great from those rad shots.

It is generally quite good, but a fair part of the route can be described as mediocre. Gravelly, rampy stuff, loose blocks in places, stuff more typical of Cascade rock peaks. The group concensus for the entire route was "good, but not great". Still quite recommendable, I'd say.

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Yeah, it doesn't have quite as good of rock as Early Morning Spire, but overall probably a bit better than something like Serpentine Arete. Certainly worth the walk though for Curt's pitch alone!

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