Eldorado Peak

The day has finally come; obligations, chores, work and goodbyes taken care of, I head out of town and on to Martinez to fetch my friend Dennis. Hook up onto Highway 101 and wind up the coast to Crescent City and up a beauty of a road to Grant’s Pass. Up I-5 through Seattle and on to Bellingham to re group at Pat’s house. A couple of beers and an Avocado Tostada, put Dennis and I back on the road that night to the Eldorado Peak trailhead.

A crack of 8 start, an obligatory log crossing to get started, puts us on the undeveloped climber’s trail leading directly upward and into the bowels of the North Cascades. The route we have chosen, the East Ridge of Eldorado Peak, rises 6800 feet from the road. We are heading to the ridge separating the 2 lower basins beneath the Eldorado Glacier. This ridge is situated at about 6,000′, which makes our approach 4000′ in about a mile. That’s damn steep.

The approach was steep indeed; an undeveloped climber’s trail without switch backs, heading nearly straight up for 2000′, ending at the dreaded “Boulder Field”. Luckily for us, it was mostly melted out at the start, but higher, a post holing episode of monstrous proportions ensued. We post hole in deep snow for hours.

That evening at our bivy, the sky is clear as a bell, and the magnificent alpenglow become the stuff of fantasy. A 360 degree view of all the high peaks of the North Cascades are a dizzying notion to my mind. I want to climb them all. To me, there is nothing finer than being  in big, alpine, glaciated peaks.

A 5:00 am start see’s us descending slightly to the level of the Eldorado Glacier, then up said mass to it’s junction with the Inspiration Glacier, to form the largest continuous ice sheet not on a volcano in the lower 48. These peaks are fault block, glaciated, and made of Granite. This combo makes for my favorite kind of mountains.

Eventually, we climb up the last bit of it’s knife edged ridge, and on to Eldorado’s Icy summit; at just under 8,900′, we are just about as high as Carson Pass in California, but here, in the Cascades, this elevation and latitude and close proximity to the ocean, create an alpine environment that is unparalleled. The glaciers here are sizable indeed.

We descend the 6800 feet in a few short hours, that, over the last bit, had taken us 13 hours to ascend. Back at the truck by 5:00 pm, we head off to Pat’s for the evening. In the spirit of keeping the adventure alive, we experience a tire blowout on the drive out. A quick roadside fix and we are at Pat’s in Bellingham by 6:30.

Tomorrow I head out to San Juan Island to visit with my old friend Ben; then off to catch the ferry to Skagway and start pedaling to the Arctic…  Onward.

IMG_8487

Mt Johannesburg

IMG_8526

Eldorado Peak

Tomorrow I head out to San Juan Island to visit with my old friend Ben; then off to catch the ferry to Skagway and start pedaling to the Arctic…  Onward.IMG_8412 IMG_8414 IMG_8418 IMG_8421 copy IMG_8422 IMG_8424 IMG_8427 IMG_8433 IMG_8442 IMG_8456 IMG_8463 IMG_8471 IMG_8476 IMG_8488 IMG_8489 IMG_8501 IMG_8521 IMG_8522 IMG_8532 IMG_8537 IMG_8565 IMG_8570 IMG_8578 IMG_8582 IMG_8584

IMG_8586

Advertisements

4 thoughts on “Eldorado Peak

  1. Looks amazing; stoked for you guys, and yes it’s astounding how quickly we descend, one must constantly fight the good fight towards ascension! That’s what I love about you Linus.
    Be well, journey well.
    Smiling your way.
    Jo

  2. LLP, Great to read about this warm up in the Cascades. Makes me a bit jealous as I love being high in the mtns and rarely get to them these days. Great pics.

    I am adventuring vicariously thru you. Enjoy the next chapter!! Hugs, Deb

    From the RivetPhone

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s