The East Ridge of Eldorado Peak is one of the Northwest’s classic climbs. It is a moderate glacier climb with a spectacular knife-edged summit ridge in the heart of the North Cascades. For fit climbers, the East Ridge is a perfect introduction to climbing glaciated peaks and moderately steep snow.
For most climbers, the first day of this climb is the hardest. The climb starts at 2,100′ and climbs steeply up the Eldorado Creek drainage. The first campsites encountered are around 5,400′ with the highest camps, near the east ridge, at 7,800′ – a 5,700′ elevation gain. Most people prefer to camp at the lower camp but if time allows it’s nice to break the approach into two days with the first night at 5,400′ and the second night at 7,800′.
From the base of the East Ridge, the route ascends the southern edge of the Inspiration Glacier, which is aptly named. From there the route climbs the airy, knife-edge ridge crest to the summit. This section of the route is mainly what gives this route its “classic” status.
While the climbing is relatively easy climbers will need to be fit for this climb and comfortable with a little bit of exposure near the summit.
- No previous climbing experience required.
- Moderate to Strong fitness level with the ability to hike with an overnight pack on for 6 to 8 hours.
- Previous backpacking experience highly recommended.
The East Ridge of Eldorado Peak can be combined with Eldorado Needle, Klawatti Peak, Austera Peak, Mount Torment or rock climbing on the Tepeh Towers. The South Face of Eldorado Peak is also a fun climb with moderate rock climbing in the 4th and low 5th class range.