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[TR] Bonanza Peak - Mary Green Glacier 7/25/2008

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Trip: Bonanza Peak - Mary Green Glacier

 

Date: 7/25/2008

 

Trip Report:

Bonanza Peak TRs abound but here's mine too in case anyone wants more pics :)

 

This was Carl’s idea. I wasn’t too fond of it because I’d heard the rock was loose and sucky 4th class – meaning we’d be climbing 5.10 with boulders raining down (I have an active imagination). I’m glad I went.

 

We both called and prepaid for round trip tickets on the slow ferry from Fields Point to Lucerne ($34.50 each). We also sent the required email to Holden Village to reserve space on the bus that runs from the dock up to the village ($9.00 RT each).

 

I picked Carl up about 5am on Thursday and we headed to Chelan – a relaxing trip across highway 2 when done that time of day. At fields Point, we paid for the 3 days of parking ($12 total) and hauled the packs down to the dock. The Ferry arrived on time and a few hours later we were clinging to the seats of the old school bus, heading up the steep switchbacks towards Holden.

 

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It was 1:30 by the time the packs were off-loaded and we hit the trail. We headed out of town on a flat road that brought us shortly to the obvious trail. For a while, we had some shade and level footing but we were soon switchbacking up the hill, fully exposed to the sun. It was hot and we were both guzzling water along the way. There were a few small water sources higher up and we used these to refresh our supply. By the time we reached Holden Lake, my stomach, which had been bothering me for a week, was in full crap-mode. I was ready to explode and had slowed considerably. We took a long break, protected from the swarms of bugs by mosquito netting and Deet – the bugs were scary thick, like on some sci-fi movie. Hoisting our packs, we headed right around the lake and quickly took the wrong path into the swamps, ducking, dodging, diving, dipping and dodging and expecting to run into some ancient lost tribe. We quickly recognized our error after only an hour then retraced our steps. Then we decided to spend an additional half hour climbing up and down car-sized boulders just to test our balance with heavy packs and also to get the most out of our trip. I took a few cool shots, like that was our purpose all along, and then we retraced our steps…again. We eventually found the correct bushwhack route and before long we were churning up towards Holden Pass. I must admit, the approach had kicked my ass by this point and I was ready to bivy leaning against my trekking poles. I couldn’t convince Carl to jump up and down on my stomach – I’m not even sure if he had a jump left in him anyway. On hands and knees, I arrived at the pass and collapsed face down in the remaining patch of snow. I muttered something about it having been a pretty mild day but I think Carl saw right through that. We set up camp, ate, and then hung the food before retiring our luxurious digs. Carl to his bivy sack and ¼ inch thick leaking Thermarest and me to my mini tent and 2.5 inch insulated pad. Carl spent the night blowing into his pad and I finally caught my breath about the time the sun came up. .

 

Please, jump on my stomach

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Holden Lake

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Bonanza Peak and Mary Green Glacier

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Holden Pass

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Carl wonders where the trail is

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Finally! The Trail

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Holden Pass

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The day dawn glorious, made more so by some private quality time with nature. We got started up the route about 6:30. Climbing up the ridge from camp brought us to a short scramble through the trees and up to a large heather bench. After exiting the trees, we hung a left towards a ridge, hopping the boulders to its crest. The ridge topped out against a cliff, leaving us with the option of traversing across a slab of across a short stretch of steep snow. The slag looks slick so we went with the snow. On the other side, we scrambled class ¾ up next to small waterfalls. Some sections were wet and mossy but the holds were mostly positive. We traversed left from the top and scrambled across a few more waterfalls to the glacier. The glacier looked to be in excellent condition with only a few small crevasses showing. Carl led off and chose to stay right until reaching the top bench. The glacier is much taller than it appears from below but we reached to flat section in good time. We traversed left above the top, wandering through blocks from a small slide then more steeply up the bergschrund. The right side would have been a more direct line past this section and up onto the snow thumb. It was hard to see the condition of the bridge from lower down though. Instead, we continued up the middle, crossing the bergschrund on a wide and thick bridge - man, that thing is deep and wide! Once across, we traversed right towards the steep snow thumb. This was my personal crux area as I’m not overly fond of steep snow with yawners below to begin with. We reached the rock in good time. As usual, it appeared milder up close. We both switched to approach shoes, shoved both 30 meter 8mm ropes into packs then started up. The climbing was very pleasant. The rock was loose enough that I wouldn’t climb below another party, but not nearly as bad as I expected based on previous reports. Staying 4th class or lower was pretty easy and the few “off route” moves that were stiffer came supplied with good holds. We loitered for a short time on the summit before heading down. Some easy down climbing and a few raps put us back above the snow thumb. The snow had softened but footing on the steepest parts was still good. Once safely below the bergshrund, we picked up the pace and soon arrived back to our stashed gear above the slabs. I looked for rap slings on the far edge of the cliff above the slabs but couldn’t find any. We did find some about 100 feet farther back towards the glacier though. The rap put us on the edge of the first steep snowfield, which we would have to cross again. In hindsight, we should have just set up a rap on the cliff above the other side of the snow. Carl left his ice ax on top and had the pleasure of climbing back up the waterfall to retrieve it. Guess he really enjoyed that last rap. Got back to camp and ate an early dinner and retired.

 

Heading up from the pass

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Small, steep snowfield above heather benches

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Scrambling the slabs next to the waterfalls

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Starting onto the Mary Green glacier

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Upper bench on the Mary Green Glacier

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Crossing the bergschrund

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Heading towards the snow thumb

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Climbing up the fun stuff

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The summit team

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Heading down

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The hike out was uneventful.

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We arrived in Holden just in time for lunch. For only $7.00 we got to enjoy a leafy salad and half a bowl of African peanut soup. A wave of nauseas ness once again engulfed me…for some reason. Carl went for seconds. I found out later that he actually owns a Holden Cookbook and wondered how two people so completely different could get along. Then I wondered if he’d be willing to jump on my stomach. It was an easy day; surely he had a jump left in him.

 

The bus ride to the dock was bumpy and I kept my eyes focused on the trees and away from the busty lady across the aisle. I daydreamed of mountains unclimbed. Burgers in Chelan then over to I90. We talked about Bonanza Peak and about our next adventure all the way home. Time flew by.

Bonanza_070.jpg

 

 

Gear Notes:

Pickets. 60 meter rope for raps.

 

Approach Notes:

Stay out of the swamp and off the boulders at the lake. Go right of the swamp.

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Hey,

 

I climbed Bonanza this week too, but did it from a totally different approach. I hiked up to Hart Lake and climbed a Southeast Buttress just west of the big waterfall. I climbed up through the trees to the ridgeline and then up and along the ridge to the summit. I believe I did the approach for the NF of the SW Peak--Soviet Route as described in the Beckey Guide. Then I climbed the SW Arete, summiting both Peak 8599 and the SW Peak 9320. I descended a coulior towards North Star Mountain and then back down through much slide alder and agony to the valley floor. Saw a bear on the SW flanks of Bonanza!

 

I was staying at Holden Village and did the round trip in 11 hours.

 

The rest of the week I spent fishing at Hart and Holden Lakes-- lots of trout!

 

What an amazing place!

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Hey,

 

Then I climbed the SW Arete, summiting both Peak 8599 and the SW Peak 9320.

 

Two years ago, Tim Halder and I traversed from Dark Peak to Bonanza via Pt. 8599' and the West summit. However, we added a couple rocks to the top of pt. 8599' and it is now just pt. 8,600'

 

:grin:

  • Rawk on! 1

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Hey,

 

Then I climbed the SW Arete, summiting both Peak 8599 and the SW Peak 9320.

 

Two years ago, Tim Halder and I traversed from Dark Peak to Bonanza via Pt. 8599' and the West summit. However, we added a couple rocks to the top of pt. 8599' and it is now just pt. 8,600'

 

:grin:

 

Blake, I sensed you were amazing, but...to build mountains? Wow...damn man, impressive!

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11 hours seems like pretty good time RT for such a hot weekend. I struggled with the approach on Thur but felt better Friday and had a good time with the climb...other than the steep snow traverse directly above the open berschrund, which was certainly my psychological crux. We didn't see any bear during the trip but by the amout of bear doo and torn up trees near Holden Lake, sure seemed like lots around that area.

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I saw five different bears in one morning last summer at Holden , all within 100 yards of the buildings. One chased a mule deer fawn right down the road. crazy.

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That traverse above the bergschrund certainly can get your brain going. It's not exactly super-steep, but just steep enough to make you think a fall could be kinda hard to arrest, and that such a thing would be, ummmmmm, "bad".

 

My trip up there was 4 years ago, and there wasn't much bridge left across the bergschrund. The first person across put in a few pickets for belaying the others, but then we didn't protect the subsequent traverse at all. The traverse seemed far riskier at the time.

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Great Topo! the pix are nice and helping me plan a trip in early September also on the MG, do you think the glacier will be in good condition?

 

Also, did you guys ever need crampons?

Edited by ddday

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I've no experience with the glacier later in the season but we did see a few cracks opening up, which I assume (based on other TRs) can be avoided by staying right on the glacier. I can't imagine the bergschrund would be much fun in September though.

 

The sun hits the glacier pretty early so it had softened up a bit by the time we got on it. Even so, we used crampons and they were handy for the harder snow in the runnels on the traverse to the rock. They were also nice for the short and steep snowfield before the glacier, which will probably be melted out by the time you get up there.

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thanks for the beta - I'm a little concerned about the 'schrund. Are we talking impossible here, or just some creativity needed.

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The schrund may require a little creativity as it gets late into summer, but something can probably be worked out, perhaps on the far left edge.

 

The part of the route that I think has the most risk of some kind of accident is the ascent up the short section of wet slabby stuff. A fall there probably wouldn't be fatal, but there's no great route up through it. On the way down near that area, we rapped from a small tree, about 2" or so (edit: on further review, it looks like the pics above show the same tree rap). Pulling the ropes felt very clean, but we had 2 rocks about 20" in diameter silently dislodge and come right at me and another guy. Closest I've ever come to getting killed.

 

The other thing about Bonanza that surprised me was how very little rockfall or loose stuff we encountered. Beckey mentions how loose the rock is, and I've heard other people mention that, but we never encountered anything too loose on the part above the glacier. And we never saw any evidence of rocks on the glacier below, either. Ours was an early August trip, and the glacier was completely free of evidence of rocks.

Edited by gslater

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