Climbing Conditions - Eldorado Area

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Mountain climbers walking on glacier with mountains in the background
Climbers traveling across Inspiration Glacier to the east ridge high camp.  Photo W.Hsieh
September 13, 2020
Eldorado Conditions
Eldorado glacier remains mellow, but care should be taken at the lower part where climbers need to cross thin snow bridges and slippery rocks. Many crevasses are opening on the flat area of Inspiration glacier before reaching the high camp. Large moats are present along the east ridge and crevasses are easy to spot. Climbers could opt to descend on rock with easy scrambling (class 3 or 4) almost all the way back to camp. There are spots with small moats where climbers can transition back to snow to avoid a section of steep loose rock. The high camp is clean, and the composting toilet is in good shape – please help us maintain a clean camp and pack everything out! Running water from snow melt is available at the high camp below bivy sites.
ElDorado's Knife Edge
A ranger climbs Eldorado's knife edge. Photo W.Tarantino/NPS
August 9, 2020
ElDorado Conditions
The Eldorado approach trail is melted out to Eldorado Creek Basin, with only patches of snow until it crosses over into Roush Creek Basin at the base of the Eldorado Glacier. The Eldorado Glacier is still very mellow up to the bivy sites, but a few moats are forming in the rocks down low and a couple small cracks are beginning to open up in the flats. The East Ridge route is in great shape with only one easy bergschrund problem and a bomber boot-pack all the way up the knife ridge.

The Eldorado area is becoming very popular and this route has been getting A LOT of use. Remember that all parties camping within the National Park need a backcountry permit! Eldorado Cross-Country Zone permits are the only valid permit for the bivy sites at the East Ridge. The toilet at the bivy site is in good shape, but be prepared with blue bags in case you need to pack it out. Bears are entering the high country and the mice are hungry, please bring an approved food storage container!
Looking across the Inspiration Glacier towards Klawatti Peak from the north side of Eldorado
Klawatti Peak rises above the well-named Inspiration Glacier, photo taken from the North side of Eldorado Peak

W. Tarantino/NPS

June 24, 2020
Eldorado and Klawatti Icecap Conditions
Like the North Cascades alpine terrain in general, Eldorado and the Klawatti Icecap region are still in early season conditions. The Cascade River log crossing at the start of the Eldorado approach, is the first challenge climbers face when attempting to access this area. The river and its braids are swollen with water from snowmelt and recent rains, so fording is not recommended. There is a large, crossable log-jam downstream of the parking area, 20-30 meters past the culvert, look for the small cairn marking the use-path. Once across these initial logs follow a faint path upstream to a second log crossing and follow the now well-worn path further upstream to the old approach trail and sign. The trail is in standard condition and easy to follow up to the boulder field. Snow is currently encountered about 2/3s of the way up the boulder field (~5000ft), and becomes consistent as the trail traverses East out of the boulders (~5400ft). Use caution negotiating weakening snow-bridges over the creeks in this area. The upper mountain glaciers have ample snow coverage, with few noticeable crevasses outside of the lower icefall areas. Take caution that the North Cascades alpine is still undergoing a melt-freeze cycle during this time, and conditions have yet to stabilize, expect deep unconsolidated snow and challenging walking conditions until there is another hard freeze or the late-season snow melts out.

Eldorado Peak from the summit of Dorado Needle
Eldorado Peak, viewed from the summit of Dorado Needle.

W. Tarantino/NPS

Small wet slab and large point release avalanches were also noted on the steeper slopes throughout the area, including many small human-triggered releases. Most common times for natural wet avalanches are during sunny afternoons/evenings or periods of warm rainy weather. Eldorado high camp (7600ft) still has deep snow in places, but a few bivy sites have melted out and the backcountry toilet has been dug out and is available for use. Whether staying at the East Ridge bivy sites or not, make sure to bring blue bags to carry out human waste above tree line!
August 25, 2019
Eldorado Conditions
The approach route is in normal condition. Look for the cairn on Cascade River Road for the most manageable creek crossing. Cross the creek on downed logs. Parties have reported bear sightings close to the boulder field. Please refrain from camping in Eldorado Basin and Hammered Ridge to preserve alpine vegetation. Follow cairns to drop into Roush Creek Basinand up to the toe of the Eldorado glacier. The lower Eldorado glacier is becoming more crevassed and is currently in its late season stage. Parties have been roping up for the approach to the East ridge bivy sites. At the East ridge bivy sites please store food properly as there have been increased rodent issues. The composting toilet is in great shape.
July 10, 2019
Eldorado / Inspiration Glacier / Austera Peak / Klawatti Glacier
Approach to Eldorado is in standard condition with patchy snow starting just below the ridge between Eldorado Creek and Rouse Creek Basins. Toilet at Eldorado is in good working condition. Please only TP and feces in the toilet. Many parties are going up the Eldorado glacier and East Ridge of Eldorado without any issues. Traversing the Klawatti Glacier and Inspiration Glacier to Austera Peak is in more or less typical condition for this time of year.
June 15, 2019
Starting from El Dorado trailhead, river can be forded about 15-20 feet from original log crossing. Use caution while fording! Crossing might be safer than "log jam" crossing down river. Ford is below knee height.

The toilet at the bivy site is melted out, please do not put trash in composting toilet.
Ridge Between El Dorado and Boston Basin
Ridge between El Dorado and Boston Basin in early September.
D Veenhuizen
From June 1 to November 15, Interagency Grizzly Bear Commitee approved food canisters are required for camping below the vegetation line in Boston Basin , El Dorado , and Sulphide Glacier cross-country zones.

For old climbing conditions blog posts, check out the links below.

Last updated: September 14, 2020

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