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| | |-+  June 20-21, 2011, Eldorado
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Author Topic: June 20-21, 2011, Eldorado  (Read 3490 times)
artfreeman
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June 20-21, 2011, Eldorado
« on: 06/22/11, 08:13 PM »

Hollywood and I led a  Mountaineers Basic climb (party of 6) on Monday and Tue.  (photos by Hollywood)  The plan was to climb Eldorado and maybe Klatawatti, conditions permitting.  I was the only one with skis, although others were envious ONCE THE SKIS AND BOOTS WERE UP THERE and that is the key point.  It was a strong group and we had a great time.

Parked in the normal spot and the log crossing is just downstream and super easy.  Did not dare hike in ski boots since I knew it would be a long way before snow.  Hiked 2 hours up through what I think was all the boulder fields until hitting snow in the basin (about 4000 I think).  Some runnels on the Eldorado Creek side of the ridge.  Easy to cross ridge with snow. 

Above about 6000 the new snow from (I assume) last Saturday smoothed things out, but it had not frozen Sunday night so it was mush, and I was surprised at how much new there had been.  Up higher it was nearly a foot.  Camped in an established spot at about 7700 on the E ridge of Eldorado.  There was running water in the evening but not in the morning.   It had been cloudy so far but as the clouds thinned and lowered, we set up camp and headed to the top.  After only a few minutes in the shade the smooth water- saturated snow began to crust over, and I began to worry about a nasty descent on breakable crust.  We topped out at 8 p.m. or so but by the time I descended it was frozen solid so it was still a descent ski with no breaking through. 

In one of the photos you can see Klawatti in the background.  With all the new snow and the warm day ahead it was obvious that Klawatti not safe, so we slept in to 6:30 and took our time heading out.   It froze fairly hard overmnight and I skinned up nearly to the top of Eldorado in the morning for another run on smooth corn, and the Eldorado Glacier down to the ridge crossing was so good that I took 2 runs on that.  Moving lower down Eldorado Creek it was mush with runnels and seemed like it did not freeze there.  No pollen.  Saw 1 mosquito.


* Eldorado_summit__8pm_.jpg (38 KB, 720x227 - viewed 1043 times.)

* Klawatti_on_right.jpg (51.78 KB, 720x428 - viewed 1017 times.)

* excellent_log.jpg (154.12 KB, 720x480 - viewed 1017 times.)
« Last Edit: 06/22/11, 08:43 PM by artfreeman » Logged
danpeck
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Re: June 20-21, 2011, Eldorado
« Reply #1 on: 06/22/11, 10:40 PM »

Art,

Great TR.  I have a few questions for you.  I'm new to the NW and am amazed at the backcountry skiing terrain offered here.  I grew up in Utah backcountry skiing for over 20 years.  I've done a few small trips here in the NW and have been dreaming of skiing in this very area you are reporting on.

Here are my questions.  You said "parked in the normal spot."  Where is the normal spot?
What is "the basin?"  Are you talking about the basin just below the Eldorado Glacier, or Boston Basin?
Were you hiking on a well established trail before you hit snow?  What trail?  The cascade pass trail?

I'm looking at a map trying to figure out your approach.  Also, it sounds like you guide?

I have come to the realization that since I am so new and unfamiliar with this terrain, and not likely  to meet people easily who would be familiar with such terrain (as I'm busy with family and work), it is probably in my best interest to hire a guide.  I'm very familiar with backcountry skiing and avalanche skills, but not with glacier travel/rescue.  So I have a new skill set to acquire in order to ski many of the great ski descents in the NW.  What guide service do you work with? 

I'm hoping to find a guide service that I will feel very comfortable with going over and over again, cost friendly, but also perhaps customizable trips (which probably won't be cost friendly).  I've got a long wish list of areas I want to ski.  I'm hoping to hike some of these areas during the summer to familiarize myself with the terrain, but ultimately, I'm sure I will need a guide as the terrain and skill set are all new for me. 

Thanks for the post. 

Dan
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artfreeman
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Re: June 20-21, 2011, Eldorado
« Reply #2 on: 06/23/11, 10:25 AM »

The start is 19 miles up the Cascade River Road at the parking lot at 2160'.  (this from the book Selected Climbs in the Cascades Vol1 by Nelson and Potterfield) and the route goes up a trail and boulder fields up Eldorado Creek and then crosses the ridge at about 6000' to Roush creek then up to E ridge of Eldorado (this is shown on the map on page 68 of the book 100 Classic Backcountry Ski and Snowboard Routes in Washington by Burgdorfer).  Both of these books are in print and published by The Mountaineers. Those and other guide books would be an excellent place to start.

I lead climbs for The Mountaineers as a volunteer and have been involved with that organization for more than 25 years.  I know next to nothing about paid guide services so others will have to help you with that, but I would recommend you check out the course offerings (most start in the Fall or Winter) with The Mountaineers since that way you will learn a lot AND meet a lot of people to go out with.  And you can always use a paid guide service too until you get things figured out.

Welcome to the Northwest.  Pay close attention to the weather!  Do some easy things first.  When the road opens to Sunrise go ski there, or Chinook Pass, or Camp Muir.
Art
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kevino
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Posts: 173


Re: June 20-21, 2011, Eldorado
« Reply #3 on: 06/23/11, 11:28 AM »

The parking area is actually just past the 20 mile marker on the cascade river road.  There is a large pullout and restrooms.  That is how you'll know you're at the eldo TH.  Walk back down the road to MP 20 and as Art said, there are two great logs for crossing.  Once into the forest there is a sign with some info about the area. From there the climbers trail is obvious all the way up to the talus field.  There are some rock carins that will guild you through the talus (but there is only so many ways to ascend the talus field). 

Hopefully that will help get you going.
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danpeck
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Posts: 501


Re: June 20-21, 2011, Eldorado
« Reply #4 on: 06/23/11, 01:05 PM »

kevino,

Thanks, that definitely helps.  I'm excited to try this area out!

Dan
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danpeck
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Posts: 501


Re: June 20-21, 2011, Eldorado
« Reply #5 on: 06/23/11, 01:06 PM »

Excellent!  Thanks for the info!

I jut signed up as a member with the mountaineers.  What a great organization.  I'll definitely be looking for some groups to join and some courses to take from them.  That sounds like a great place to start.

I've skied the muir snow field a couple of time, but was worried about traveling on glaciers to didn't go beyond.  I've skied in the tatoosh a little.  Haven't been up to sunrise or chinook yet.  The north cascades have some appealing high traverses I'd like to try, but want more skills before I head there.  I've also skied some in the backcountry near Steven's Pass, but have yet to get into the enchantment peaks area, mt. stuart area, chiwaukums.  I've noted the backcountry around Crystal mountain seems to look fun.  I've been wanting to ski Mt. St Helens and Adams too, as they have glacier free terrain until I feel comfortable on glaciers.  I just need people to go with

Thanks for the specifics on your trip.
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rlsg
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Posts: 604


Re: June 20-21, 2011, Eldorado
« Reply #6 on: 06/23/11, 03:10 PM »

Sweet!!
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trees4me
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Posts: 506


Re: June 20-21, 2011, Eldorado
« Reply #7 on: 06/25/11, 09:14 PM »

Looks great Modern!  Can't wait to get back out there with you guys!

Must've been pretty nice if you got a 2nd lap on Eldo before the booters got going.
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chill people, skiing is fun
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