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Author Topic: June 30, 2014, Eldorado  (Read 4248 times)
mikerolfs
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June 30, 2014, Eldorado
« on: 07/02/14, 10:42 PM »

Inspired by Lowell Skoog's solstice Eldorado report, jtack and I decided to poke our noses into the north central cascades. 

Coming from Wenatchee, the trip to the end of the Cascade River Road is a long one.  Add to the drive that NCNP's desire is to dictate where you sleep, crap, and how you carry your food, and we were in a pretty fowl mood by the time we pulled over (outside the park boundary) to spend the night before our trip.  Once above treeline though, all the hassle seemed trivial.  Our attitude changed to wonder of why we aren't in this area every weekend.  The mountains stretch on forever in every direction, waterfalls pour out below glaciers, crevasses interrupt the snow fields, jagged peaks are so many that it seems no one could know and climb them all.  This place is a slice of heaven and it seems endless.  Our backyard in Wenatchee is pretty nice, but you folks who live near Marblemount, I salute you.  You win.  This is amazing country that may have no rival.  On our day trip we met one guided party (we think it was Forest McBrian and client), one solo guy on his way to Klawati, and two climbers spending 5 days climbing alpine rock routes in the area.  It isn't the kind of place you meet flip-flop hikers.

The whole trip was fabulous.  We started hiking at 6AM.  Right off the bat there is a log crossing that could be the end if you fell upstream.  Jamie pulled out his microspikes and I wished I had a pair.  The trail is steep enough that you use your arms frequently.  The boulder patch isn't a patch, it is a thousand feet of boulders, each of which is slippery in the morning.  The most amazing feature of this ski is the transition from rainforest valley bottom, to high alpine glaciated peaks.  The trip went as such: Ferns and devil's club and river bottom, to cedar forest, to boulder field, to snowfield with sparse trees, to full glaciated alpine above the treeline with jagged peaks in every direction.  I'm not saying I enjoyed the steep trail through the nasty devils club, but I sure did appreciate the new views around every corner and across each elevation change. 

The summit ridge is as knife-edge as reported, and the ski is as good as you would expect.  We had a dandy time, surely the most exciting trip of the summer so far.  Home in bed by 11PM after a long drive across Washington Pass.

Wildlife sighting at Cascade Pass



Jamie on the steep forest trail from the valley floor



Decent views on the Eldorado Glacier



Moraine Lake below Forbidden Peak.
wow.


We didn't ski from the summit, but it was darn close.


Really fun skiing:




one carry required between the Eldorado Gl. and the snowfield above the Eldorado Creek drainage.


the end of the skiing



between the boulder field and the forest trail.  (Between nasty bullshit and ugly nastiness):



ahhhh...
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danpeck
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Re: June 30, 2014, Eldorado
« Reply #1 on: 07/02/14, 11:36 PM »

Oh Man!  Nice work fellas!  Super envious.  Now you know why I can't stop going back to this place.

I was actually just in the area with my family.  We drove through HWY 20 and stayed in Mazama for some climbing and hiking.  I was lucky enough to get a quick lap at the hair pin.

But as we drove into the North Cascades I felt this sense of awe, wonder and sacred fear for the place.  The mountains there really are something to behold.

If you ever want to plan a multi day tour with me up there... lets do it!  My tradition is every May and June  Grin
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danpeck
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Re: June 30, 2014, Eldorado
« Reply #2 on: 07/02/14, 11:36 PM »

Oh, and I don't think that was Forest... I believe he's currently in the alps.
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mikerolfs
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Re: June 30, 2014, Eldorado
« Reply #3 on: 07/03/14, 11:24 AM »

Oh, and I don't think that was Forest... I believe he's currently in the alps.

We didn't think to ask the guy's name until too late.  Nice young guy who looked competent.
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Boot
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Re: June 30, 2014, Eldorado
« Reply #4 on: 07/03/14, 03:14 PM »

 "Add to the drive that NCNP's desire is to dictate where you sleep, crap, and how you carry your food,"

No level of stupid coming from NP would ever surprise me anymore, but are you saying they wouldn't let you camp at the trail head or are you just talking about restrictions of camping up on the mountain?

Don't ask, don't tell??
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mikerolfs
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Re: June 30, 2014, Eldorado
« Reply #5 on: 07/03/14, 04:39 PM »

...are you saying they wouldn't let you camp at the trail head...?

I am saying that.  The ranger told us if we camped below a certain elevation (6400 I think) that we had to carry a bear can.  It was late in the afternoon and I didn't want to commit to getting that far, and I didn't want to carry a bear can, so I said "we'll just sleep at the trail head".  He replied "I'm obligated to tell you that you can't do that".  He directed us to the nearest pay-to-camp area.  It turned out not to be a big deal.  It's only a couple miles from the park entrance to the Eldorado pull-out.  We were tempted to give the park the finger by camping next to the Park entrance sign, but we resisted and went one pullout further down the road.

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Boot
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Re: June 30, 2014, Eldorado
« Reply #6 on: 07/03/14, 04:56 PM »

Well thank God they were only "OBLIGATED to tell you that you can't do that".  I lied; that is a new level of stupid from OUR NP Service.  Sad

BTW, very nicely done TR and photos.  I enjoyed that part.   Wink
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bfree32
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Re: June 30, 2014, Eldorado
« Reply #7 on: 07/03/14, 05:34 PM »

I am saying that.  The ranger told us if we camped below a certain elevation (6400 I think) that we had to carry a bear can.  It was late in the afternoon and I didn't want to commit to getting that far, and I didn't want to carry a bear can, so I said "we'll just sleep at the trail head".  He replied "I'm obligated to tell you that you can't do that".  He directed us to the nearest pay-to-camp area.  It turned out not to be a big deal.  It's only a couple miles from the park entrance to the Eldorado pull-out.  We were tempted to give the park the finger by camping next to the Park entrance sign, but we resisted and went one pullout further down the road.


They've made me carry a bear can for a camp on the Inspiration Glacier.  Huh  Huh I guess it made a decent, albeit heavy and bulky, seat.
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jtack
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Re: June 30, 2014, Eldorado
« Reply #8 on: 07/03/14, 11:58 PM »

The first thing I did when I was thinking about this trip, was try and get some idea how long it would take.  To do this, I gleaned what information I could from Lowell's report. I  figure out how far it was from Seattle, to the trail head, a long way.  Then got out a map, and figured out how many vert. from the trail head to the summit, a lot.  And I took it for granted that he was being modest, when he said he was "moving pretty quickly", and that he had lunch on top and started down before noon.  Well, it turns out that even though we thought we were moving pretty quickly too, it was no where near that speed.  It was a big day for us (well maybe just me) and it felt darn nice to step onto the road at the bottom.  Our turns down the Eldorado Glacier were not as sublime as the ones Lowell put down, but we had Sound of Music views at every turn, and dealing with the Park Service seems like a small price to pay for such a wonderful place.  If you had ask me at the end of the day, if I would be back I might have said  nope, that's it, that thousand feet of bolder hopping beat me down, but already the memory is dulling and my knee is starting to feel better.

Some of those Sound of Music views







Mike on his little toothpick skis making it look easy.
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danpeck
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Re: June 30, 2014, Eldorado
« Reply #9 on: 07/04/14, 12:07 AM »

Jamie,  you get the gold star for the best skiing attitude of all time!

Love your perspective!
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kurthicks
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Re: June 30, 2014, Eldorado
« Reply #10 on: 07/06/14, 12:39 AM »

Nice to run into you guys up there. I was with a guest for those alpine rock objectives, which were both awesome by the way; the other guy you ran into was John Minier.

I was jealous of your tracks, but we saw some other good ones out on the McAllister--wolverine!
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jtack
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Re: June 30, 2014, Eldorado
« Reply #11 on: 07/06/14, 02:23 PM »

Nice! 

They look like classic Wolverine for sure.

I took these pictures a week before near Daniels, I fiddled with them trying to make them more visible, but they are still hard to tell for sure, but where they were, makes me think they could be Wolverine as well. 

On a trip a few years ago near Spider gap I cut a very fresh track and was sure I would see the maker, but it did not happen, yet another good reason to spend time up there!





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