Dorado Needle & Early Morning Spire Climb | Miyar Adventures

Join Us on Dorado Needle and Early Morning Spire Climb

Located in the vicinity of Eldorado Peak in North Cascades National Park, Dorado Needle and Early Morning Spire hold some of the most diverse and challenging alpine rock climbing opportunities in Washington State. Accessing this phenomenal area is not easy, however, and requires an approach on a steep trail followed by talus and a glacier crossing. As a result these Dorado Needle climbs remain sparsely traveled and adventurous. The surrounding scenery is outstanding, with photogenic views of turquoise Moraine Lake, the jagged NW Face of Forbidden Peak, and hundreds of snow-capped mountains across North Cascades National Park.

A four-day itinerary allows for an approach day, two climbing days on two different routes, and a descent day. These days can be long and difficult depending on the objectives chosen. It is also possible to use one of these days for crevasse rescue practice rather than doing two climbs, or additional days can be added for rest, skills practice, or another climb.

Possible routes include the SW Buttress of Dorado Needle (11p 5.8 grade III+), East Ridge of Dorado Needle (10p 5.7 grade III), NW Ridge of Dorado Needle (3p 5.4 grade II), and SW Face of Early Morning Spire (12p 5.9 grade IV). If you have the time you can also tack-on the East Ridge of Eldorado, which is a glacier and snow route that culminates in a knife-edge snow traverse to the summit of Eldorado Peak.

Climbing any one of these routes entails a high level of fitness and ability in the mountains. This trip is an excellent choice for those looking to push their skills further in an alpine environment.

Difficulty in Dorado Needle Climb:

  • 5.4 to 5.9 rock climbing in climbing shoes
  • Steep snow up to 45 degrees
  • Glacier travel
  • Grade II to IV depending on routes chosen

Prerequisites for Dorado Needle Climb:

  • Previous multi-day backpacking experience
  • Previous experience using crampons and an ice axe. This can be gained on our Intro to Snow Climbing Course
  • Previous glacier travel and crevasse rescue experience recommended but not required. This can be gained on our Mountaineering Skills Course.
  • Previous multipitch rock climbing experience, preferably in an alpine setting. This can be gained on our Alpine Rock Climbing Course..
  • Excellent physical fitness. This trip involves long days on-the-move in the mountains while carrying a pack weighing around 45lbs on the way into camp, and 15 to 20lbs on route. Take a look at our Alpine Climbing Training Program to help prepare for the physical rigors of this trip.


  • Fuel, Pots, and Stoves
  • Tents
  • Group climbing equipment
  • Guide Services

  • Transportation
  • Parking or entry fees (when applicable)
  • Food or drinks
  • Accommodation before or after the course
  • Personal clothing
  • Personal climbing equipment (rentals available)
  • Gratuities for guides
Day 1 :
We meet at the Marblemount Ranger Station at 7am to collect our permit before heading-up the Cascade River Road to the Eldorado Peak trailhead. The approach is difficult, and gains 6,300ft over 5 miles. We first ascend a steep trail to a talus field, then slabs, and finally a glacier. We cross in front of the East Ridge of Eldorado Peak and ascend to a pass between the Inspiration and Mcallister glaciers before descending to the Dorado Needle Col. There is sometimes a moat that must be crossed as we transition from snow to rock near our campsite. This approach can take up to 8hrs, putting us in camp in the early evening in time for some dinner and well-deserved rest.
Day 2
Today we wake early and head to our first climbing objective. Generally this is the least difficult of the objectives chosen, as it allows us to acclimate to the elevation and get a little extra sleep. Many objectives finish by descending the NW Ridge of Dorado Needle, which puts us relatively close to camp after descending from our climb.
Day 3 :
Today we climb our more difficult objective, which requires an early start. Most objectives start with a descent from Dorado Col down an unnamed glacier. In late season this glacier has hard ice exposed, which provides access to water flowing over its surface. We then reascend steep snow slopes to reach the start of our route. Rock in the area tends to be very good, and crack systems create excellent and interesting climbing to ridge-crests where we navigate around gendarmes and up through complex faces en route to the summit. Behind us, the massive West Arete of Eldorado snakes its way down to Marble Basin, while from the summit we can see Klawatti Peak, the Smokestack, the Teph Towers, Austera Peak, and dozens of other glaciated summits. After summiting we downclimb and rappel to the McAllister Glacier and descend back to camp.
Day 4 :
This day we have the opportunity to sleep-in a bit, then pack-up and descend back to the trailhead. We then stop for an early dinner en route back to Seattle and celebrate an incredible trip.
  • Eve Jakubowski

    I was part of a group that summitted Mt. Baker in early August this year. Overall, it was a great experience. I went into it not knowing what to expect from a guided climb (my past few had been unguided) and was pleasantly surprised. I was concerned that I'd be bored, but was happy to find that they did a great job juggling our group's varying skill levels, and I walked away feeling like I had learned and progressed as a climber. Ben and Anthony are both very knowledgeable (you can always learn from guides, it just depends how much time they have to teach!) and I found myself getting a bunch of new experiences even just in the 24 hours that we climbed. I was also impressed by their abilities to read us and judge when clients needed encouraging or advice. They did a great job managing us, and I remember the moment that my attitude turned from "this isn't going to happen but it's still experience" to "holy crap, we have a shot!" After toughing it out through some rain, blustering winds, and low visibility, the skies cleared up and we had our chance. Thanks to Ben and Anthony for the positive attitudes and guidance that weekend! I'd definitely join them again in the future.

    Eve Jakubowski
  • Climbing Mt Baker

    What an awesome experience to go on climbing Mt. Rainier with Miyar Adventures. Sandeep and his team of guides ( Kirk, Alexis, Joe, Ben, Chris, Jasmin ) did an awesome job to lead the multiple rope teams trough snow skill preparations and guiding through safely on glacier journey. The amount of efforts put into multi-month preparation, pre-trip meetings, accessibility to gears for rent and attention to details with food/weight/personal gears were all instrumental in almost all of us (in a group of 24) able to summit Mt. Rainier and have wonderful memories. We knew we were in best company and safe hands with prior experience with Miyar Adventures led climb to Mt. Baker and few other preparation trips. And guides calibrated their approach from novice climbers to experienced climbers to push enough to have an enjoyable experience. I highly recommend to go with Miyar Adventures on amazing trips they have lined up around the Puget Sound Area and internationally.

    Harshit Shah
  • View of the North Cascades from Mt Baker

    This was my first time technical/glacier climb under great guides assistance & summited Mt. Baker & can't wait for more to come, see you soon ;)

    Zuzana Svitek
  • Mt Baker

    If you are interested in doing any climbing or hiking but need a guide , I highly recommend Miyar Adventures...Sandeep is a wonderful person and you will actually learn (and practice ) climbing and crevasse rescue techniques in addition to the trip/climb is definitely beyond a just a "get you to the summit" experience. He genuinely cares and brings in other excellent guides for bigger groups. My husband and I recently successfully made it to the summit of Mount Baker with Sandeep, two other guides and a group of friends and we had a fantastic experience. He and the guides he works with are very knowledgeable so I had confidence in their abilities to lead us but they are also very friendly and fun so that overall trip was enjoyable. I will definitely climb with Miyar Adventures again!

    Monica Henry
  • Star Trails over Mt Baker

    I've climbed Rainier and Baker (+several other training hikes) with Sandeep and other guides from Miyar Adventures. The climbs were made super fun, safe, and informational. With Sandeep's detailed prior planning, extensive know-how of the mountaineering practices, and long climbing experience, you know the climb is going to be safe with great chances of summit. Before all big climbs, Sandeep does an indoor session to discuss the itinerary and answer any concerns. You'll definitely learn a lot whenever you spend time with Sandeep. He has expertise in all forms of climbing: mountaineering, rock and ice. So it also makes it easy to try other activities because you already know the guide well. I've taken instructions from few other guides as well and I wouldn't doubt to state that Sandeep is the best guide I've climbed with! He'll keep you motivated and answer your questions with patience. He'd have fun stories to tell from his rescue ops, first ascents, or other hard climbs. He is ready to make adjustments based on the preferences of the group which is a key in making the trip not only successful but also enjoyable. I can't recommend Miyar Adventures enough! Give them a try and you'll be glad you did.

    Prateek Sharma