Here are some pictures of the trip Mike, Alex, Marla and I took to El Dorado (May, 2001) in the North Cascade Mountains of Washington...  This trip has an aggressive approach, starting with a steep trail along El Dorado creek, continuing with a boulder field up to a steep ridge.   Once on the ridge, drop down on to El Dorado glacier, and traverse up on to the Inspiration glacier.  We set camp on a flat section that (hopefully) wasn't over a crevasse!  The scenery was typically inspiring, and due to the difficulty, only serious backpackers even go up.  The approach is approximately 5 miles in, and 5500 feet up.  Click here to view a relief map with the route superimposed.

The Hike Up... - Following a short flat section that crosses the North Fork of the Cascade river, the trail heads aggressively up.  After about a mile and a half, the tree line gives way to a boulder field at the base of a ridge.  This makes a nice place to stop and rest, and enjoy the wonderful view of Johannesburg and Cascade Pass.  Marla took this shot of Alex, myself and Mike as we relax before the boulders.

Johannesburg in the background as we take a lunch...

The Views Get Better... - The boulders were tricky as the low snow fall and great weather were conspiring to melt the snow bridges over the gaps.  Extra care was needed to make sure we didn't break through.  Once over the boulders, a steep ridge must be ascended to get up to the El Dorado Glacier.  Once up on this ridge, it's even more scenic.  I took this shot of Marla with Johannesburg and Glacier Peak in the background.  We finally set our base camp on the Inspiration Glacier, which lies at the base of the approach...

Marla frames Johannesburg from the El Dorado glacier...

Summit Day... -
Mike and Alex formed one rope team, while Marla and I formed the other.  Mike took this shot of Marla and I heading off the glacier and on to summit ridge.
I took this shot of Mike with Moraine Lake and Forbidden in the backdrop...  Black Peak and Mt Goode are further in the distance.
This shot is of myself leading Marla further up the approach ridge...
Mike took this shot of me with Mt. Baker in the backdrop on a step at the base of the cornice that forms the summit...
I follow Alex up the cornice towards the summit...
Alex at the actual summit!
I took picture of Mike with the valley below, and Mt. Baker in dramatic backdrop...
I think this is one of the airiest summits you can stand on - right on the edge of a cornice, around 1000 feet down on one side, and several thousand feet on the other!  
The view of an untouched valley around 6000 feet directly below to the west is almost religious!  A great rock perch just past the real summit affords a nice place to lunch and take in the view...
Back on the glacier, Alex and I team up to head back to camp...  Glacier Peak forms an awesome background!
Deciding to head out a day early, we head down.  Mike found this chute to make the cross-over to the El Dorado Glacier.  The chute began as a class 5 scramble on rock, interesting with our full packs, and plastics.  Mike took this myself and Marla making our way up the snow...

Mike sinks a picket on the way to the summit...

Weather Over Inspiration Glacier... - From the summit, we watch as weather moves over the Inspiration Glacier.  Our camp can be seen in the lower right hand corner, the group of two tents.  Another team, a group of three tents, can be seen to the left of our camp.  Cascade Pass can be seen near the center of the picture. Weather over the Inspiration Glacier...

Back to Tom in the mountains...

 

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