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best of cc.com [TR] Bonanza- NW Ridge via Dark Pk. (IV 5.8)

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Climb: Bonanza-NW Ridge via Dark, Needle Pk. (IV 5.8)

 

Date of Climb: 8/20/2006

 

Trip Report:

This 2-day North-to-South climb followed a huge connecting ridge that stretches all the way from Needle Peak to the true summit of Bonanza Peak. The original plan had been to stay on the crest the entire time, but deep notches between Needle Peak and the Anonymity Towers provided the impetus for a detour on day one.

 

4427trip_map.JPG

 

Tim Halder (TheRunningDog) and I spent Friday night at Swamp Creek Camp along Agnes Creek, before heading out Saturday morning on Needle’s long North Ridge. The climbing was fun and featured sections of solid fourth and low-fifth class rock to the summit, which had seen 2 entries in the previous five years.

 

Tim and I sketching out on what Beckey calls “third class with some exposure present.”

 

4427Bonanza_024.jpg

 

4427Bonanza_013.jpg

 

Lovin’ the views after sewing up the North Ridge of needle.

 

4427Bonanza_021.jpg

 

After working our way along the ridge from Needle, we decided that we’d need to rappel down to the East side to access water and avoid steep gulleys. We contoured lower towards the Dark Glacier before noticing a likely looking access point to regain the ridge between two previously unclimbed peaks known as the Anonymity Towers. (Green Beckey Guide, Page 232)

 

South Tower

4427Bonanza_081.jpg

 

North Peak

4427Bonanza_068.jpg

 

Both of these peaks are just over 7,500’ and we built cairns and left registers on both North and South towers. The South tower required 2 pitches of low 5th class, while the North Summit was a simple scramble.

 

We eventually worked our way onto the Dark Glacier and began the climb, which was straightforward and got us back onto the ridge crest for good.

 

Tim leads the way up to the ‘Dark Divide.’

 

4427Bonanza_111.jpg

 

Atop Dark Peak on Saturday evening.

 

4427Bonanza_126.jpg

 

We enjoyed an amazing sunset from our ridgeline shiver-bivy that night, and continued along the crest early Sunday morning with pleasant climbing and plenty of mileage ahead.

 

4427Bonanza_132.jpg

 

Myself and Tim, taking turns leading the way.

 

4427Bonanza_171.jpg

 

4427Bonanza_176.jpg

 

The final 1,000’ up to the West Summit of Bonanza was actually the easiest part of the day, and we arrived on top to find an old tin-can register with 2 entries in the previous 54 years. (‘52, ’03)

 

4427Bonanza_202.jpg

 

From the West summit, Beckey quotes that “knifed teeth and vertical walls gave absolute protection” to the true summit, so it was comforting to know that the traverse had at actually been completed in the past. We found the climbing memorable, if loose in spots.

 

Ye-Haw Bonanza!

 

4427Bonanza_211.jpg

 

The last 3 pitches were actually very solid rock and some of the best climbing of the route.

 

4427Bonanza_218.jpg

 

4427Bonanza_221.jpg

 

Enjoying some Stehekin Bakery cinnamon rolls on the summit.

 

4427Bonanza_223.jpg

 

We down-climbed solid rock to the Mary Greene Glacier and descended skier’s left without too many crevasse problems.

 

Tim and the Entiat fire.

 

4427Bonanza_240.jpg

 

Gear Notes:

Full rack of rock gear to 2” and Glacier gear. Ice tool might have been nice for the upper Mary Greene Glacier.

 

Approach Notes:

Approach 8 miles up the Agnes Creek trail from the Stehekin Road.

 

 

Best part of the de-proach (after ice cream in Holden Village)

 

4427Bonanza_260.jpg

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Stehekin Bakery cinnamon rolls! I can't believe you had the will power to hold out that long... I would have eaten the thing before getting to the trailhead blush.gifyellaf.gif

 

Good work guys! thumbs_up.gif

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We down-climbed solid rock

 

Bet that was a nice change from last week, eh? Congrats on the climb! I enjoyed the pics as always. Wish i could have climbed it with you.

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That looks sweet thumbs_up.gif

 

This:

4427Bonanza_221.jpg

 

looks way gnarlier than this:

4427Bonanza_202.jpg

 

Is that the same ridgeline though? (just looking from opposite directions). How long did it take to traverse to the main peak from the west peak?

 

And where was that west peak summit register, we didn't see it up there last year cantfocus.gif

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That looks sweet thumbs_up.gif

 

This:

4427Bonanza_221.jpg

 

looks way gnarlier than this:

4427Bonanza_202.jpg

 

Is that the same ridgeline though? (just looking from opposite directions). How long did it take to traverse to the main peak from the west peak?

 

And where was that west peak summit register, we didn't see it up there last year cantfocus.gif

 

Phil, that is the same ridge. I think it took us about 2 hours, Tim might remember better. Beckey suggest 4 hours. I'm not sure how many times it's been done, probably just a handfull.

 

The West Summit register was probably buried by snow when you were there two Junes ago, but the cool Company Glacier ski video on your webpage helped plant the seed for this route in my mind.

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Awesome adventure fellas! And how industrious to haul up that antique camera to take those fantastic sepia-toned images...

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So how does this compair to Martin Volkens trip in 03?

 

He went up the Mary Greene glacier to the NE Ridge, the true summit, then traversed to the West Summit, then headed onward to the SW Summit.

 

Other than the Main->West Summits traverse (which we did in opposite directions) we were on different routes entirely.

 

As far as I can tell, our route was a new one all the way from Dark Peak to the West Summit of Bonanza.

 

I'm still trying to figure out how the whole "climb grade" system works as well, but it would be a grade V if the start of the route is the base of the Dark Glacier (where we roped up from and began climbing in my opinion) and a grade IV if you consider the route beginning at Dark Peak summit.

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So how does this compair to Martin Volkens trip in 03?

 

By being longer and cooler...

 

cool.gif

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Excellent photos! Sounds like a great trip. So, what is with the sepia pics?

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Excellent photos! Sounds like a great trip. So, what is with the sepia pics?

 

tryin' to be artsy

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For the sake of future googlenauts, I thought I'd bump this with info on an alternative approach (not discovered by me) that avoids the swamp creek schwack, and is thus strongly recommended. The attached picture is really all you need, but: continue past swamp creek for a few miles, turning left off trail at a distinct opening/flat spot where the trail abuts the river at a gravel bar, with many very large chainsawed logs strewn about, and a very large boulder on the right (river) side. Head more or less straight up hill, following your nose and sticking to the largest trees, and there's essentially no bushwhacking or scrambling (the red line is approximate). Upon reaching the col you could presumably cut left in order to start at needle, as above ^, but I can't say for sure.

DarkApproach.jpg

  • Thanks 1

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