Hidden Lake Peaks-Eldorado Glacier Alpine Route

  • Destination: Eldorado Glacier
  • Date: July 10, 2001
  • Difficulty: 5
  • Payoff: 6
  • Starting Point: Sibley Creek Trailhead (3600')
  • High Point: c.7400'
  • Round Trip Distance: ~11 miles
  • Equipment: The ten essentials, ice axe, crampons
  • Mountain Skills: Route finding, class 3 rock, snow to 50 degrees

Above: My lunch date
Right: Eldorado Peak from the west-middle peak notch of the Triad

This is the far more interesting way to get to the Eldorado Glacier. While not as direct, just as much elevation gain (due to ups and downs) and certainly not easier than the Eldorado Creek cross country route, after visiting this area this would be my choice of approaches to Eldorado Peak in the late spring to early fall time period. The route begins at the Sibley Creek Trailhead at an elevation of 3600'. To get there drive Cascade River Road 9.5 miles from Marblemount to Sibley Creek Road (FSR 1540, signed Hidden Lake Trail). Turn left and drive 4.6 miles to the road's end and the trailhead. Note that for those who are just heading to Hidden Peak Lakes, an ice axe is recommended for gully crossings.

I am not going to attempt to describe the route because I don't think that I can do a better job than Fred Beckey (see reference below) or offer much additional information. The route is reasonably straight forward with the only real potential for route finding difficulties being the gully descent and ascent. Whether you are heading to Eldorado or not, this alpine route is fun and offers spectacular views almost from the trailhead. I got off route a bit (deliberately of course) to check out the Triad (I failed to reach the summit; Class 3 and 4 from the east and more difficult from the west-middle notch) and a few other points of interest along the way. Here are a few view.

Sibley Creek Pass and Hidden Lakes Peak from the Sibley Creek Trail


The peaks of the Ptarmigan Traverse


The Southern Pickets in the distance


Eldorado Peak

Beware of large snow slabs (see below)  breaking loose from the area below the west-middle peak notch of the Triad. One chunck the size of a 1970's station wagon broke loose while I was descending past them (this is off the main route).

Hidden Lakes Peak from below the west-middle peak notch of the Traid


Eldorado Peak from near the end of the route

Cascade Alpine Guide Volume 2, Second Edition; Fred Beckey; 367-368
100 Classic Hikes in Washington; Ira Spring and Harvey Manning; Pages 42-43