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[TR] Primus Peak-Eldorado - Traverse 6/24/2016

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Trip: Primus Peak-Eldorado - Traverse


Date: 6/24/2016


Trip Report:

My friend Dave and I approached Primus Peak from the north then exited across the icecap and out the regular Eldorado Approach. This has to be one of the most straight forward high traverses in the North Cascades with nice soothing terrain throughout and the potential for minimal technical difficulty. Good for small children or the elderly.


On Friday evening we hiked six miles up Thunder Creek to Mcmillan Camp under occasional drizzle. The following morning we found an excellent path leading 4000' up an occasionally steep forested ridgeline to the cirque below the Borealis Glacier. Old Austin Post photos show a spectacular icefall leading into a piedmont-type tongue of ice filling the entire basin. Sadly this is no more. The glacier has retreated high into the cirque and some partially sunken slabs of ice are all thats left to indicate it's former greatness. Even sadder was the fact that the clouds were not breaking up as forecast and the entire basin was filled with a dense soup of mist.


The North Ridge of Primus is one of these obscure routes that just sounds and looks like it could be some sort of unknown classic. However, that is definitely not the case! If you're a frequent choss-dawger you may find it solid and delightful. I often felt like I was about to pull the whole mountain off with me. Maybe if we hadn't try to stay so true to the crest we would have wisely avoid the worst rock in a few rotten notches. So if it's not unrecommended it just certainly won't be the highlight of your summer. About five minutes after topping out two skiers came strolling out of the mist. Maybe more surprised than even we were to encounter another group in such a remote place.


While we had originally intended to return the way we came at some point I had convinced Dave that hiking out via Eldorado would be only minimal, if any, additional effort. This was pretty much the case, particularly with a skin track to punch holes in. We bivied near the foot of Klawatti Peak before tagging Eldorado in the morning and experiencing culture shock in the Tentropolis of Eldorado high camp. Wandering across the Klawatti/Inspiration icecap should be considered a must do by any Cascades climber no matter how you get there.





















Really I just wrote this whole TR so I could have an excuse for posting this picture - there are I think 4 people in the image 3:20 pm 6/25












Gear Notes:

small rack to 2" for North Ridge

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Damn Darin, I love those photos (some are downright stunning) and thanks for the heads up on Primus. I've wondered about that route.


I forget, did you get the RX100?

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Great photos. The one of the Eldorado summit ridge is indeed stunning. What was your photo set up?

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Its an Olympus Stylus 1. I have a love/hate relationship with it.


Purchased primarily because at the time it was one of the only P&S with a built in EVF which is real handy on an icecap.


The lens is pretty sharp to me and the 300 comes in real handy at times (like that Eldorado Ridge shot) but I miss wide-angle as it only goes to 28.


The sensor is tiny and it definitely shows when lighting becomes dim. I can't push the ISO very far at all and as a result I'm always having to shoot wide open and sometimes that doesn't even work.


Keep thinking of buying an LX100 or an RX100 but then you loose the zoom. To many tradeoffs to upgrade yet. Waiting to see if the Nikon 1" sensor 24-200 ever shows up.

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this must just might be the most quotable TR of the year!


So if it's not unrecommended it just certainly won't be the highlight of your summer

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btw every picture in the TR is friggen awesome. i know some might be better than others, but they are all good. thank you.

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