Spring came very early this year to the cascades and with a decent forecast, I wanted to get out there in a big way. Peter and Susan were game for an adventure as well and we settled on Eldorado, which made for a fast car-to-car on my first outing. We planned on a night out on the mountain to take in the views and generally have a leisurely pace.
We left Seattle pretty early on Saturday and were able to drive all the way to the trailhead with no signs of snow. The approach went quickly to through the boulder field and we transitioned to skis just as we finished weaving our way through the boulders. The skin went quickly through the trees on the climber's right side and wove up to the ridge where we dropped down and continued up the glacier. It was a warm, sunny day below the soccer field open area, but as we neared that plateau, the winds kicked up and it got pretty cold.
To stay out of the wind, we skinned up to just below the ridge, where we camped in a shoveled-out platform just below some rocks. The sunset was gorgeous. The dinner was tasty. It was cold and windy, but my bivy sack and 0-degree bag made for a relatively comfortable night.
We waited for the sun to come up in the morning and didn't really get moving until 9am. Unfortunately, the wind had kicked up even more and our route to the summit became an exercise in facial exfoliation. We ditched the skis, given the icy, windblown crust, and put crampons on to head for the summit. Peter and Susan decided to turn back a couple hundred feet from the top and I pressed on, soloing the final ridge and tagging the summit very briefly before turning around and heading back to camp.
Back below the plateau was gloriously sunny and warm again and we took our time heading back down to the car, still making it out in the early afternoon. Great start to the season.