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Author Topic: June 28-29, Eldorado / Austera tour  (Read 1657 times)
Paul_Russell
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June 28-29, Eldorado / Austera tour
« on: 07/01/08, 10:59 PM »


NE Flank of Eldorado and the Tepeh Towers
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Paul Cornet and I set out early on Sat morning for the Isolation Traverse from Eldorado to Pyramid Peak in 3 days dropping off a car at the Pyramid Lake TH.   From the start, we were concerned with the warm temps and lateness of the season for this trip, and had alternatives in mind.   Setting off by 9am after stopping for permits, our climb to Eldorado went smoothly, and we were pleasantly surprised by the firmness of the snow and cool breeze on a hot day with only a few other parties en route for such a nice day.  The creek crossing went easily, and we carried skis to just beyond the boulder field where the snow began with consistency. 


Approaching Eldorado on the Eldorado Glacier
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After 6400' of gain with full packs, we found that the heat had taken its toll on our energy by the time we reached our bivy at Tepeh Col about 6pm.  With much of the traverse in view, we also found concern with thin snow coverage around Isolation Peak and potential bergshrund problems at the Backbone Ridge crossing without a good freeze overnight.  Doubts emerged about continuing, as we discussion options.

 
Left, bivy site at Tepeh Col. Right, View of the Isolation Traverse

We enjoyed a beautiful sunset that night from one of my favorite places in the N Cascades with the whole range in view in alpenglow.  We awoke early to unfrozen soft snow as expected which confirmed our decision for a tour of Klawatti and Austera.  We had a few creavasses to negotiate and roped up, but the traverse went easily.  We reached Austera by about 8am, and after a nice break to take in the views, we had a great run on softening snow toward Klawatti Lake.  We were pleased to have no sluffs, but stopped well short of the lake to avoid a steeper roll and evident cracks.


Paul descends the Klawatti Glacier
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Left, the Forbidden Cirque. Right, Mt. Johannesburg
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We then toured around Klawatti crossing over to the McAllister Glacier by the Smokestack.  This gave us new views into the Isolation Traverse which gave further evidence to limited snow on the descent from Backbone Ridge making us feel better about our decision.  We returned to camp and decided to head out to get home early.  However a couple of events intervened.  The first was nearly disastorous.  Just a few hundred feet above the boulder field, we had to transition and take off skis due to a break in the snow from rocks.  Paul clicked in and goes.  I clicked in one ski, then struggled with the next.  5 minutes passed, still not working.  Tired and with the heavy pack weighing on my every move, I finally got in and took off across the somewhat steep slope on firm snow with lots of debris and rocks below.  I took a careful turn and suddenly a ski ejected, broke loose and I was down, sliding.  I wasn't in!  In seconds, my speed picked up, and I'm wondering...but luckily after about 50 feet, my pack slammed into a rock, I stopped, and escaped with a few scrapes and bruises.  I searched and found my ski.  With a sore shoulder, I had doubts about the long descent on the boulder field below.   But I got it together and got down.  Lesson learned, the hard way.  You REALLY have to check these bindings to make sure they are securely in.  This was never a problem with tele and makes me pause to think a ski can come off.  Needless-to-say, I'm reevaluating my procedure and rereading earlier threads on this subject.
________________________________________ ________________________________________ _________________

    

Left, Sunset from Tepeh Col. Center, Paul climbing with Johannesburg behind. Right, Dorado Needle and Marble Needle (Pt 8400 crossing of Backbone Ridge)
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We reached the river crossing about 6pm and the creek was running over the log crossing after the long hot day.  It looked like some big steps into the water to get over, so we opted to spend the night.  I awoke that night to big flashes of light, wondering if it was from hitting my head on the rock.  Thankfully it really was lightening!  The next morning the water had abated, and we crossed easily.  But it wasn't the same to get back to the car for beer at 6am  Huh  We retrieved Paul's car and had a nice breakfast at Clark's with the locals.

A bit of an adventure for sure, and a great reconnaissance of the Isolation Traverse which I am sure to go back for.  Thanks to Lowell for paving the way on these trips and his inspiration: 

The Isolation Traverse http://www.alpenglow.org/skiing/isolation-1994/index.html
The Forbidden Tours and Turns http://www.alpenglow.org/skiing/forbidden-2002/index.html
« Last Edit: 07/02/08, 11:02 PM by Paul_Russell » Logged
jd
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Re: June 28-29, Eldorado / Austera tour
« Reply #1 on: 07/02/08, 06:20 AM »

Cool trip, and nice pictures, esp. the B&W (just wish the thumbnails opened larger versions).
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Paul_Russell
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Re: June 28-29, Eldorado / Austera tour
« Reply #2 on: 07/02/08, 08:11 AM »

Thanks JD (I enlarged the thumbnails)
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Zap
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Posts: 1769


Re: June 28-29, Eldorado / Austera tour
« Reply #3 on: 07/02/08, 10:17 AM »

Nice TR and photos.  Good decision on the trip modifications.  About the binding problem,I have learned to use a process that ensures the boot and binding are engaged.  I have found that in spring/summer condtions that I may be skiing steeper slopes and many times a combination of soft corn and firm sun cups which can stress a boot/binding interface.  Glad to hear you had a relatively safe slide.
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Lowell_Skoog
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Re: June 28-29, Eldorado / Austera tour
« Reply #4 on: 07/02/08, 03:18 PM »

Great photos, Paul! That sure is cool country. Let's go back some time.

Bummer about the binding incident. Thanks for mentioning it and reminding us all to watch out for that sort of thing.
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Stugie
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Re: June 28-29, Eldorado / Austera tour
« Reply #5 on: 07/02/08, 05:37 PM »

Sorry bout the binding, but looking at your AMAZING pictures, I was in awe!  Nice work, great trip and tr!
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"The mountains are not stadiums where I satisfy my ambition to achieve, they are the cathedrals; the houses where I practice my religion." - Anatoli Boukreev
ski_photomatt
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Posts: 316


Re: June 28-29, Eldorado / Austera tour
« Reply #6 on: 07/02/08, 10:46 PM »

We were the group of skiers next to you at the trail head.  Nice trip report and photos.  It's good to see you had a great trip after changing plans on the fly.  I agree with you, this is also one of my favorite places in the Cascades.
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