After securing our permit and some extra blue bags from the helpful NPS Ranger, we quickly cross-checked our gear. First technique: rigging a sled for hauling the copious amount of supplies needed for a Denali expedition. Fortunately, or not, our trip was 6 days and we left the sleds behind.
The trail that parallels Eldorado Creek begins in ernest, gaining 4,000ft in just a few miles. The views of Johannesburg from the first rest break show the recent spring snow blanketing the region.
Day three. Sun's Out Guns Out! Our trio made short work of Eldorado. Three hours from high camp to the top and back.
In preparation for our future Denali climbs, we erected snow walls around our camp. It is common to build 5' high walls surrounding tents at 14,000 ft. (and sometimes lower) on Denali's West Buttress.
From our Eldorado high camp we were able to see into Boston Basin and the pointy summit of Forbidden Peak. We were left to contemplate why it's named so...
Our trio emerged from the alpine zone triumphantly on the 6th day. We sampled Marblemount's finest dining, the Good Food Drive-in, while basking in the low elevation sun wearing fresh shorts, t-shirts, and flippy floppies.
The course was a huge success! With many of our friends currently in tents at established camps along Denali's West Buttress, I have mixed feelings about not being there to share in the fun. However, the North Cascades look very Alaska-esque with a marine layer mimicking the lower Kahiltna. This is an amazing area to hone our skills and not have to "fly for an hour or walk for a week," as the saying goes in the Alaska Range.