Boealps ICC                                                                     
2008 Grad climb:  North Ridge Eldorado              
August 23-24, 2008                            
Students:  Drew Ettinger                                                        
Matt Eggelton        

After four hours sleep, I left Tacoma at 4:30 AM to the Eldorado         
trail head, meeting Matt and Drew at 7:55 AM.  They reported             
sleeping a comfortable eight and a half hours after obtaining a          
permit for climbing Eldorado.  I chugged a Starbucks double shot.        

We slogged up the steep trail, only loosing it briefly at the            
very start.  It was a good thing we found it, as bushwhacking up         
the first 2500 feet would of been miserable.  During the next 6          
hours, The trail went from rain forest, to large boulders, to            
high alpine meadows, to scree, to granite slabs and then finally         
to a glacier.  Ascending the glacier didn't require ropes or             
crampons, because of the soft conditions, and the crevasses were         
very scarce.                                                             

5,500 feet higher, and about 3 miles "as the bird flies" on a 2D         
map, we arrived at camp.  The weather was awesome, and I proved          
how awesome it was by taking a nap on a rock, wearing only a thin        
shirt and a wind stopper jacket.  We pondered taking advantage of        
the good weather, and going for the route that afternoon.  We had        
about 6 hours of light left, and we estimated the route would            
take about 6 hours to summit from there.  I guess I jinxed that          
idea by falling asleep!  We spent the rest of the day resting,           
and a little exploring of the glacier and our route and eating.          
A water drip provided us unlimited water to drink.                       
Sometime during the night, the clouds and wind moved in.  We got         
up about 5:30 and roped up, put on our "pawns" and headed up the         
glacier.  Nobody questioned the weather, at least out loud.  We hopped a 
few crevasses to reach the moat in about an hour.  Another hour later, we
had a picket to belay everybody down 15 feet and across the moat onto    
the ridge proper.  The last guy went without a top belay, but used our   
one ice tool (we had just one ice tool for the team)                     

We started up with a static belay.  Because we only had one rope,        
Matt could only about 1/2 a rope length.  That worked out fine,          
as the first difficulties were past by then.  Drew took the next         
lead, which turned into a running belay, with me in the middle,          
and Matt in the rear.                                                    
At one point, a real questionable move blocked progress.  I had          
Drew put me on a static belay, and went around to the left of the        
15 foot wall with the slightly overhanging hand crack, and opted         
for the awkward 5.7 corner thing.  (Later that night, much               
discussion went down over just how Drew got threw that                   
part.  It's still unknown.)  We swapped leads two more                   
times, with me in the middle the whole time.  The rest of the            
rock was completed with a running belay, even the cool steeper           
5.5 pitch that Matt lead.         
The top of the rock basically turned into a flat ridge top, that         
ended at a 100 foot ice head wall.  We gave Matt the ice tool, two       
screws and he took the lead.  He was nice, and took a mellower           
finish up to the left, which reached to about 60 or 65 degrees in        
pitch.  The conditions were nearly perfect, maybe on the soft            
side, which made following with just an axe relatively easy.             
Two ice screws later, and we were on the summit ridge!  We               
reached the summit at 1:00 PM!                                           
The wind was blowing, and we were getting some precipitation on          
and off all morning.  The west side of the mountain was getting          
pretty blown, and luckily the climb was mostly on the east side          
of the crest, except for a few sections.  So we didn't stay long         
on the top.                                                              
Getting down was really quick.  We just followed the east ridge          
route.  I took us 1 hour to get back to camp.  We left camp at           
2:30, in deteriorating conditions.  By the time we were in the           
high alpine meadows, it was steadily raining.  Getting down the          
boulder fields was the most time consuming, but luckily the path         
was marked well enough to find our way.  Once in the forest, the         
descent went fast, descending about 2000 feet in one hour!  We           
reached the cars at 6:05 PM!  Just under 4 hours to get out of           

It was a great trip which has a little of everything!  I highly          
recommend this trip for other ICC outings.  It's a great place to        
put all the skills together and in an awesomely beautiful alpine         

Everybody was great to climb with!  Thanks Guys!                         

More photos can be seen on Drew Ettinger's flicker account.

Category: Alpine Climbing
Sunday, December 17, 2017
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