OverviewThis is arguably the easiest way up Dorado Needle. The route was originally established in 1940 by Lloyd Anderson, Karl Boyer, and Tom Gordon. It leads up relatively easy fifth class rock and offers some good exposure. Once up, take in the views of Eldorado Peak, Mount Baker, and the other beauties of the North Cascades.
ApproachThe Cascade River Road/Eldorado Creek approach is described on the main page.
Ascend the steep (30-degree) glacier above the flat, heading northwest to a point high on Dorado Needle itself – to the top of the glacier below several gendarmes on the northwest ridge. Explore the vicinity to find a safe moat crossing, and climb a short rock pitch (low fifth class) to the ridge crest proper. This part of the climb can hold snow late in the season, so you may have detours around snow patches on the rock. On the ridge, two more short but very enjoyable pitches of low-fifth-class climbing on solid rock lead to the exposed summit.
Descent: Down-climb the ridge until you are able to make a rappel to the glacier, and retrace the approach route.
Essential GearIce Axe
Small rack to 2.5 inches
6 feet of webbing for rappel anchor (replace and remove old/worn webbing)