Dorado Needle + Klawatti Peak / 多拉多針+克拉瓦提峯

My partner and I were up here climbing one month ago. We went up via the Inspiration Traverse. It was great to check off these two farthest peaks. Though, it felt like a never-ending journey crossing five glaciers in one day. It was disappointing that we couldn’t also include Dorado Needle or Klawatti Peak on the way out.

To Dorado Needle, thanks for everything
To Dorado Needle, thanks for everything

See more trip photos here.

So here I was one month later. One again, going up the same way to climb Dorado Needle and Klawatti Peak by myself. Even though it’s only mid-July, the moat was my biggest concern on this trip. So it depended on how much snow has melted since my last visit. The trench between the snow and the rocks could either make or break the deal.

Dorado Needle and Klawatti Peak at a Glance

Access: Cascade River Road @ mile 18.5
Round Trip: TBD
Elevation Range: 2160′-8485′
Gear: helmet, ice ax, snow, rock
GPS Track: available
Dog-Friendly: no pets

Inspiration Glacier to McAllister Glacier

Apart from the beautiful views, getting through the head of Eldorado Creek and Roush Creek was unexciting. More crevasses had since opened up on Eldorado Glacier. There were lots of boot tracks through this section. But most presumably went climbing Eldorado Peak. Much snow on the Inspiration Glacier had also melted. Leaving behind massive crevasses and exposed rocks.

Halfway through the Inspiration Glacier, I stopped at Tepeh Col at 8000′. It’s the gap to the right of Dean’s Spire. From there, I got my first look at Dorado Needle. I dropped off my overnight gear and proceeded to make my descent. I went into McAllister Glacier by traveling west and bypassing a few small crevasses. Then I noticed the group of four climbers making their way up to the summit.

See more trip photos here.

Dorado Needle Climb

After losing 400′ feet, I at the 7600′ notch. Then I started traveling northwest up to a flat area at 8200′. I was now to the north of the summit. I had hoped to get onto the rocks by going directly up the east face. But the climbers were descending. And I would rather not be in the line of rockfalls. So much snow had peeled off from the rocks. So it was easier to get onto the northwest ridge through the rock debris.

The climbers took a while to rappel. So I decided to bypass them via the steep west face. Then I would regain the ridgeline above their anchor. The au cheval section had exposure on both sides. So I carefully inched forward atop the arête. This section was not for the faint of heart! Then a short steep rock scramble finally put me on the summit. There was just enough seating room for one.

See more trip photos here.

Dorado Needle Summit Plus Views

I anchored myself into the solid summit rock. Then I moved around taking photos. Wow! The backside of Eldorado Peak looked so much more impressive. My next day’s target, Klawatti Peak, was on the other side of McAllister Glacier next to Tepeh Towers. The Ragged Ridge loomed in the background. This summit was, hands down, the best seat to see five of the WA highest peaks in a row.

On the way down, I took the east face route on steep scree. I was able to transition back onto the snowfield through a small snow bridge. Then I retraced my way back down to the 7600′ notch while bypassing crevasses. Soon, I was back at Tepeh Col. From there, I went back onto the Inspiration Glacier. Then I traveled northeast toward Klawatti Col.

See more trip photos here.

As Night Turned Into Day

Someone had made a lovely bivy spot on the south side of Klawatti Col. I love the sight of the Inspiration Glacier stretching from here over to Eldorado Peak. Then there was the Torment-Forbidden Ridge spreading beneath the Milky Way. Klawatti Peak was right behind me. It looked like a scary creature in the dark.

There is so much daylight at this time of the year. So it’s nearly impossible to get enough rest before the first light. From here, I didn’t need to walk very far to climb Klawatti Peak. So I took some time checking out the moats across the south side. Then I found a dwindling snow bridge below a southwest-trending gully. So I dug in my ice ax and slowly got onto a ledge with a big step.

See more trip photos here.

Klawatti Peak Climb

The south side of the peak was colder as it was in the shade. There were several class 4 moves in the steep gully. So I carefully worked my way up through this section. Once I got up to the southwest ridge, it was a walk up to the top. The elongated summit made it hard to tell the highest point. I didn’t find a register.

Views, views, and more views! I poked my head down the steep northeast face to see the Klawatti Glacier. It looked all crumbly. It was surreal to see Dorado Needle on the other side of the McAllister Glacier. I was just there the day before!

See more trip photos here.


Getting back down, I didn’t want to go through the gully again. I might have a hard time getting onto the snow once I reached the bottom. Then I spotted some cairns along the southwest ridge. So I followed them to where I eventually saw my tent by the col.

There I found a couple of old anchors. I backed up one of them with extra webbing. Then I made one rappel down onto the slabs directly below me. From there, I down climbed the rest of the way. Then I was able to hop over the moat to get back on snow. A couple of hundred yards later and I was right back at camp.

See more trip photos here.

By then, it was getting warm. But I needed to start walking soon before more snow had softened. So I quickly packed up and got back on Inspiration Glacier. Then it was a long traverse back to the other side and down the mountain.

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