Just wanted to write a few words about yesterday's attempt of Eldorado for anyone that wants to attempt it.
We started at 3:30am. We had planned to get up at 5:30, but another group got and and so we figured "why not" and that the snow conditions would be better (the weather had forecasted around freezing-level temps and clear skies).
Actually, the only hard part of route finding was finding the trailhead. The guides we had read said go downstream 300m from the parking lot to find a crossing, but we found a crossing about 50 feet down on some icy logs. In the dark we wandered in circles for half an hour trying to find the trailhead sign.
So a note to anyone else starting in the dark: go about 50 feet downstream from the trailhead to find a log crossing the creek. Then, just in front you will see a very large uprooted tree root system. Walk on this tree (for seriously about 100 feet!) and it will take you right to the trailhead.
The first part is a slog but with a well-defined trail that was easy enough to find even in the dark. Lots of fallen trees right now though.
We didn't encounter any snow until the talus field at 4000 feet. It was pleasantly firm when we arrived at it around 6 or 7am. There is a small step after this first talus field, which we went up in the center... a minor scramble, but the beginner climber we had with us had difficulty on it. On the way down, we found an easier route through this step on the right side (as facing uphill) of the step. Note that currently the large boulders are exposed now and the mixed terrain is a little precarious when the snow is slushy as we experienced on the way down.
The beginning climber in our group unfortunately wasn't able to go any further past the ridge line due to his fitness, but seeing this basin on top nearly made the whole slog up worth it. This basin, and the Enchantments, are probably the two most beautiful places I've seen.
On the way down, probably 11am or noon, the snow became a slush fest; nearly every step we would fall up to our knees at least.
We will definitely attempt this one again!
: snowshoes, crampons, ice axe, gaitors.
A few pictures on my Flickr page