Buying Gear Online?

Use our price tool to find the best price on any piece or gear or clothing. Purchases using this tool support cc.com.


Supporting Sponsors






CC.com Blog
Be sure to check out the Cascadeclimbers.com Blog for informative posts and reviews written by knowledgeable members.
Click here to read the blog.
Who's Online
20 registered (ivan, Dennis H, Buckshot, 11 invisible), 81 Guests and 0 Spiders online.
Key: Admin, Global Mod, Mod
Supporting CC.com
Forum Stats
25867 Members
52 Forums
96185 Topics
1124087 Posts

Max Online: 627 @ 12/18/06 12:02 AM
Top TR Contributors
ivan 111
tvashtarkatena 99
off_the_hook 90
danhelmstadter 88
KaskadskyjKozak 87
JasonG 77
telemarker 68
Feck 67
wayne 61
G-spotter 56
Topic Options
Rate This Topic
#1112389 - 09/20/13 11:35 PM [TR] Bonanza Peak, Washington - FA: The Oregonian Route 9/4/2013
SethKL Offline
stranger

Registered: 12/01/11
Posts: 20
TRs: 2 Photos: 45
Loc: Southern OR
Trip: Bonanza Peak, Washington - FA: The Oregonian Route

Date: 9/4/2013

Trip Report:
First Ascent Trip Report

The Oregonian Route a.k.a NW Buttress of SW Bonanza Peak
(Slightly closer than the Soviet Route but also not really the “North Face”)

5.9+, 2200’ (1600’ new) Grade V

A few other Statistics:
Six days, 36 miles of hiking, 43 hours on route, 2 bivies

We also wish to express our gratitude to Steph Abegg for her vision and research digging up the Soviet Route and documenting it.


SW Bonanza Peak (right) and West Bonanza Peak (left) seen from the west. (Photo: Steph Abegg)
1. NW Buttress, “The Oregonian Route.” 5.9+ V. Keena and Bonnett 2013.
2. W Buttress, "The Soviet Route." 5.9+/5.10 V. Bershov et. al. 1975. (Overlay as documented by 3rd ascent party)


When looking for some alpine mischief to get into this summer we stumbled across Steph Abegg’s excellent trip report from her third ascent of the Soviet Route. To our delight, we noticed a parallel buttress starting slightly uphill to the northeast. A bit shorter, probably a bit steeper, just as remote. Within moments we were smitten, ready for adventure, ready to go climb and explore the vertical world, ready to overcome obstacles… and of course there were many more than we had anticipated.

Approaching Bonanza Peak has become increasingly complicated as of late due to the Holden Mine remediation to the east (the quickest approach). Since we were constrained by work schedules, we opted for a combination of mountain biking and hiking over about 30 miles from the west up the Suiattle River to Suiattle Pass. This approach offered shorter driving time, low cost, and schedule self-determination, but unfortunately no quality bushwhacking.


The loaded rig.

The west side approach also possessed the customary WA mountain road condition; limited use during construction. Riding past the work and gradually ascending the narrowing gravel road for 10 miles led to the FS-26 – Glacier Peak Wilderness boundary. We then hiked the following, respectively: Suattle River trail, PCT to Suiattle Pass, hiker trail to Cloudy Pass, finally cross country to Bonanza Col (South of Grant Glacier).


MTB approach


Great bridge near Suiattle River- PCT trail junction


North Star Mtn and the cross country route taken to the Col (far right bench).


High camp

Finding ourselves still in dense fog and rain on a drab fourth dawn we were becoming worried about getting climbing weather before we’d have to pack up and leave. Just as the meteogram had predicted, however, the weather began to lift, just slightly, around midday (visit pataclimb.com for a great description on how to generate meteograms for climbing). With intermittent fog and less-frequent drizzle, we decided to pull the trigger.

The approach and first afternoon of climbing was made continually challenging by the banks of fog and drizzle that continued to lethargically glide by. However we were grateful to have a “window” and excited to be climbing! We made the traverse from the top of the col, past the Soviet Route buttress, to the first climbing technicalities in an hour and a half (enough time to surf some stellar scree).


Erik on the talus approach.


At 3pm we began by making a somewhat sketchy approach-shoe traverse up the toe of the pocket glacier to the north. Gaining rock a few dozen yards uphill and left of the lowest point of the buttress, we were immediately making near-vertical 5.8-5.9 moves.


The toe of the NW buttress. Climbing began on the upper left side


Looking up from pitch one

We continued ascending moderate terrain with more challenging moves for seven pitches to the lower ledge. The climbing was often loose, sparsely protected, somewhat lichen-covered, and wet, but with excellent position on the crest of the buttress. We only wish we could have seen the view!


Erik making moves


Banks of drizzle moving by added special "zest" to the evening.


Seth

Arriving at the lower ledge at about 10pm, we quickly prepped a flat talus surface and snuggled into our lightweight bivy system (1 bag + 1 foam + homemade nylon wedge + 1 small siltarp). We were excited to notice stars that night, and generally slept surprisingly well. We awoke at daybreak to clear skies(!)


Morning light on N. Star Mtn and Glacier Peak from bivy 1 ledge.


And…
A near-vertical wall punctuated by several significant overhangs rose for over 600’ above our bivy ledge. Given the quality of the rock and length of the route, we considered beginning to rappel. As the light slowly increased, we were able to make out a small ledge system, traversing left to regain the buttress crest. This pitch ended up having the highest quality rock of the route and gave us the emotional pump we needed to keep going. It was 6:30am with the makings of good weather.


First pitch of the day on great rock


Working up and left around loose overhangs

We continued for 8 pitches up arêtes and troughs, generally staying just left of the buttress crest, eventually reaching the talus field below the summit block. We climbed in micro-blocks of two pitches because we found leading over the loose and/or steep terrain mentally and emotionally taxing. We were surprised to notice that the rock was often better in the troughs and on vertical terrain, while the lower-angled arêtes tended to be looser. With a report of a party’s Soviet Route attempt ending in rockfall injury earlier this summer, we were very careful to position belays out of the line of fire.


Up and slightly left (north) of the arete proper. Note the airborne rock- a constant


working up the lesser vegetated troughs

At the talus field, we considered bivying again since it was already 4pm, but decided to continue, breaking the remainder into two blocks: ascending the upper Soviet Route (Seth), and the descent (Erik).

Some simul-climbing led us past the upper ledge (used to bivouac presumably by the Soviets) and on to the summit block. Three more pitches gained the summit in waning daylight.


Summit of Bonanza SW looking west


Summit of Bonanza SW looking north. Can you name any peaks?


Looking east form the summit at the two higher sub peaks and Isella Glacier (right)


THE DESCENT

We had planned to descend the south ridge using rappels and down climbing. We had scoped the bottom portion of the ridge from camp, but standing on the summit saw a long section of sharp ridgeline leading down to what we had seen below. It looked like the descent would require several rappels down a loose knife-edge arête just to reach the ridgeline. That descent seemed like a bad idea even in the daylight, as did trying to bivy on the summit. Following previous party’s routes along the ridge to the northeast would also require extensive 4th/5th class climbing in the dark. As light faded, Erik spotted a talus bench between the upper and lower Isella Glacier, exposed by glacial recession. We quickly slung a boulder and started to descend as the ledge disappeared into darkness below us.

A rope caught on the second rappel and was bravely fetched on lead by Seth. After three rappels we made our home again amongst talus, a few feet from the cliff edge. Though our thirteen hours of movement did evoked sound sleep, smashed up cheese wraps and celestial beauty were not missed.

As the sun rose and we were pleased finally to be in position to benefit from its warming rays. As Erik brilliantly led the downward charge, we moved quickly in and out of technical terrain toward the toe of the main Isella Glacier far below.


Erik and..


Seth, feeling fine in the shine (finally)

Due to an excellent choice of rappel anchors we got to shower off in waterfalls during two rappels down to the sculpted bedrock below the glacial toe. We quickly coiled the ropes and walked out of the serac-fall zone, grateful to be back on terra firma!


(belated) Summit Snickers. Background: Isella Glacier basin, the descent ledges, and the SW summit. The 2nd bivy was at the last snow patch before the summit


Seth had to be back at work the following morning so we kept moving through camp and down the trail. Unbenounced to us, our last challenge still lay ahead. Six miles from the trailhead, tendinitis in Erik’s knees began limiting his ability to walk. Quickly Seth took all the weight while Erik staggered down the trail leaning on two trekking poles. Fortunately we were able to continue slowly to our bikes and arrived at the car just after 2 AM, twenty two hours after leaving our second bivy.

A caffeinated drive, a divine shower at NOLS PNW, a quick goodbye, and Seth caught the 9:40am Edmonds/Kingston ferry with 12 minutes to spare!


Gear Notes:
Cams: triples in fingers, double to 2.5",single 3", and a tiny fella.
Stoppers: rack of nuts and RPs.

Two 60m ropes (we used an 8mm and a 9.6mm)and lots of single slings with a few doubles.

Approach Notes:
Park at mile post 11, FS-26 and give workers excess tomatoes to let you ride bikes past. Ride 10 miles to Glacier Peak Wilderness boundary. Hike Suiattle River trail taking PCT North at their junction. At Suiattle Pass take trail to Cloudy Pass. Navigate to Bonanza/North Star Col. 36+ miles total.. Or take the ferry/bus from Chelan.


Edited by SethKL (09/29/13 11:00 PM)

Top
Help Support CascadeClimbers

Want to browse more deals? Check out our price comparison and deal finder tool!

#1112390 - 09/21/13 12:47 AM Re: [TR] Bonanza Peak, Washington - FA: The Oregonian Route 9/4/2013 [Re: SethKL]
Sol Offline
Pooh-Bah

Registered: 01/24/03
Posts: 1639
TRs: 30 Photos: 401
Loc: leavenworth
Sweet! Nice work!

I'd love to see a route overlay.

rocken

Top
#1112393 - 09/21/13 08:19 AM Re: [TR] Bonanza Peak, Washington - FA: The Oregonian Route 9/4/2013 [Re: SethKL]
curtveld Offline
old hand

Registered: 09/01/03
Posts: 999
TRs: 19 Photos: 189
Loc: Bellingham
Perfect name - wet rock, flying handholds - sounds alot like the Oregon Cascades! And similar to my visit to the NE Ridge of Bonanza.

A great adventure though, with that epic approach to a big chunk of unclimbed rock. Well done tup

Top
#1112418 - 09/21/13 05:13 PM Re: [TR] Bonanza Peak, Washington - FA: The Oregonian Route 9/4/2013 [Re: curtveld]
wayne Offline
spray'prentice

Registered: 05/14/01
Posts: 3445
TRs: 61 Photos: 607
Loc: Seattle!
Very impressive ascent guys! I would love to see a map of your approach. What exactly are they doing to stifle the access in Holden?
_________________________
http://waynewallace.wordpress.com/

Top
#1112437 - 09/22/13 10:47 AM Re: [TR] Bonanza Peak, Washington - FA: The Oregonian Route 9/4/2013 [Re: SethKL]
scottk Offline
journeyman

Registered: 06/17/04
Posts: 64
TRs: 4 Photos: 13
Loc: Seattle Area
Wow, what an adventure. Congratulations!

Top
#1112503 - 09/23/13 06:52 PM Re: [TR] Bonanza Peak, Washington - FA: The Oregonian Route 9/4/2013 [Re: SethKL]
rat Offline
addicted to cc.com

Registered: 05/20/01
Posts: 580
TRs: 13 Photos: 15
top shelf.

Top
#1112522 - 09/23/13 11:39 PM Re: [TR] Bonanza Peak, Washington - FA: The Oregonian Route 9/4/2013 [Re: SethKL]
Rad Online   content
Pooh-Bah

Registered: 08/11/03
Posts: 2141
TRs: 23 Photos: 569
Loc: The Emerald City
Impressive outing. Nice work.

"The climbing was often loose, sparsely protected, somewhat lichen-covered, and wet..."

You're not selling it. Maybe "splitter" it up a bit: The rock was SPLITTER! The weather was SPLITTER! The approach was SPLITTER! The bivy was SPLITTER.
_________________________
Earth and stone echo my bone.

Top
#1112556 - 09/24/13 01:47 PM Re: [TR] Bonanza Peak, Washington - FA: The Oregonian Route 9/4/2013 [Re: SethKL]
Micah Faville Offline
stranger

Registered: 04/12/11
Posts: 8
TRs: 0 Photos: 0
hell ya! nice work guys!

Top
#1112703 - 09/27/13 07:45 AM Re: [TR] Bonanza Peak, Washington - FA: The Oregonian Route 9/4/2013 [Re: SethKL]
mtep Offline
n00b

Registered: 11/17/09
Posts: 49
TRs: 4 Photos: 69
Loc: Eugene, OR
I was psyched to get half way through your TR and say to myself, 'wait a sec, I know those guys!' Nice work Seth and Erik!

Top
#1112847 - 09/29/13 11:06 PM Re: [TR] Bonanza Peak, Washington - FA: The Oregonian Route 9/4/2013 [Re: mtep]
SethKL Offline
stranger

Registered: 12/01/11
Posts: 20
TRs: 2 Photos: 45
Loc: Southern OR
Thanks Max. Looks like you have been out amongst it this rock season too; nice work on the NIAD!

Join us this winter in E. Sierra?


Edited by SethKL (09/29/13 11:07 PM)

Top
#1113473 - 10/10/13 05:57 PM Re: [TR] Bonanza Peak, Washington - FA: The Oregonian Route 9/4/2013 [Re: SethKL]
Summit_Rolos Offline
n00b

Registered: 06/19/01
Posts: 31
TRs: 2 Photos: 34
Loc: Seattle, WA, USA
Nice work guys!

Top
#1113809 - 10/16/13 08:33 PM Re: [TR] Bonanza Peak, Washington - FA: The Oregonian Route 9/4/2013 [Re: SethKL]
Matt Lemke Offline
journeyman

Registered: 08/30/12
Posts: 66
TRs: 5 Photos: 0
Loc: Renton, WA
Awesome work!
Thanks for the idea smile

Top
#1113815 - 10/16/13 09:41 PM Re: [TR] Bonanza Peak, Washington - FA: The Oregonian Route 9/4/2013 [Re: SethKL]
ivan Online   sickness
Sick Spray Bird

Registered: 03/12/02
Posts: 15567
TRs: 111 Photos: 1636
Loc: Oceania
rawk
_________________________
Ignorance is Strength
War is Peace
Freedom is Slavery

Top
#1117115 - 12/06/13 09:18 PM Re: [TR] Bonanza Peak, Washington - FA: The Oregonian Route 9/4/2013 [Re: SethKL]
SethKL Offline
stranger

Registered: 12/01/11
Posts: 20
TRs: 2 Photos: 45
Loc: Southern OR
Couple of informative overlays:



G.E. image of the route (note:track line is not very accurate)



This is the entire approach for our trip. Car(start biking) to high-camp(6900 ft) was 32 mi and +6100 ft, bivy 2 to high-camp was 1.7 miles and -1900 ft...earned that shower.


Edited by SethKL (12/08/13 07:39 PM)

Top



Moderator:  chucK, mattp, Off_White, snoboy, To_The_Top 
© 2000-10 cascadeclimbers.com · Cookies · Board Rules · Mark all read ·
Powered by UBB.threads™ · Pimped by: Chinooktc · Top