Ascent of Eldorado Peak on 2016-09-25

Climber: Emanuela Agosta

Date:Sunday, September 25, 2016
Ascent Type:Unsuccessful - Turned Back
Peak:Eldorado Peak
    Elevation:6256 ft / 1906 m

Ascent Trip Report

Mountaineer's intermediate ice climb. The weather forecast up to departure was really good. We felt had very good chances of success. We started in the afternoon with the intent to get as high as possible and camp and start early the next day, summit via the NE ice face and then make it all the way back. We left Seattle on a sunny day and returned to Seattle also under sunny skies but the weather in the North Cascades was not so. If you have never climbed Eldorado you may still have heard about the approach. I think I can safely say it is the most brutal one I ever done. To get to our camp site was 2.5 miles and 3800 feet of gain through thick rooty steppy forest first and then a hellish never-ending boulder field scramble. Add a glacial gear pack and a rope and this small girl was carrying almost half of her body weight in the first part. Pure mental strength as the physical was definitely not there. We arrived to our camp site around 6:30 pm and it was a gorgeous spot. The fall colors stood out even in the overcast evening and nearby Johannesburg, Torment, Boston and Sahale were stunning in a fresh coat of snow and evening light. We ate dinner away from our campsite due to a bear reported in the area. We never saw it but we took all due precautions. Night descends and we can see some stars. But once tucked in our bivies, the rain start and continues all night. 4% chance of rain on a warmish fall night seemed like a reasonable forecast for a bivy. 100% rain was not. After a miserable night in the bivy, we woke up at 5 am in the rain and decided to wait till daylight to see if would stop. Beginning an ice climb wet did nor seem like a good plan. At 6:30 the rain had stopped and the clouds were higher so we decided to give it a go and hope it would continue to improve. But by the time we left the clouds had rolled even lower down and the rain resumed. We headed out first up some wet granite (I mean ortho-gneiss) slabs up to the notch on the ridge that separates the Eldorado Creek and the Roush Basin. Then descended into the Roush basin at the base of the Eldorado Glacier. All of this in the rain. We scrambled through more wet granite boulders and finally at 9 am in near white-out decided it was not our day.
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