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[TR] Bonanza - Mary Green Glacier 7/3/2015

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Trip: Bonanza - Mary Green Glacier

 

Date: 7/3/2015

 

Trip Report:

Summary: Dylan and I climbed the Mary Green Glacier route on Bonanza over a three day weekend (July 3-5) by way of Lucerne-Holden. The route is in; the final rock scramble is easily accessed from the upper glacier. Crevasses are easy to navigate. The real crux of the trip was just getting to Holden in the first place!

 

Details: Our adventure started off with a 430 AM departure from Seattle so that we would make it to Fields Point in time for the ferry. After a long drive (4 hours) we arrived at Fields Point, but we found out that the bus to Holden only runs Sat-Sun on account of the mine remediation project going on there. Also, the road to Holden is closed to hikers and so are many of the trails near Holden. Guess we should have done more research! After scratching our heads for a bit, we decided to just go anyway and see if we could beg a ride up on one of the supply busses that goes to Holden. Crossing our fingers, we paid out the dough for the ferry and enjoyed the several-hour-long ride up Lake Chelan.

 

And boy was this trip to be expensive!

- $60 ea for the ferry tickets

- $10 ea for the bus to Holden

- $14 for parking

...or maybe we are just cheap.

 

At the Port of Lucerne we saw a supply bus and tried to beg our way to a ride, but to no avail. The lady mentioned something about "liability reasons" (huh?), claiming that she knew it really sucked, but we could not hitch a ride. I bet she had no idea just how much it would suck. After scratching our heads for a bit (and heaping curses on the people of Holden), we found a cunning path along abandoned trails and via bushwhacking that would get us to Holden without entering into the verboten area, just 12 miles to go! So, we bushwhacked 5 miles up the severely overgrown Railroad Creek trail, then 5 or so miles of easier wooded trail, then bushwhacked to the valley bottom, waded across the waist-deep river, then through heinous alder to another trail on the other side, and finally to Holden. Yeah, it sucked. And it was hot. By the time we got to Holden, it was getting dark, so we set up camp at the forest service campground just outside of town.

 

The next morning we hiked 5 miles up trail to Holden Lake, then a few more miles along worse trail to Holden Pass. From Holden Pass, we traversed rocky ledges with numerous waterfalls until we could move up to the base of the glacier. Nothing above class 3. I'd recommend staying as far right as possible on the waterfall ledges because ice blocks threaten the ledges on the left. We saw ice falls come down the ledges several times during the day.

 

Once on the glacier, we stayed far right until just below the final summit pyramid, which avoids the crevassed central portion of the glacier. At the plateau below the pyramid, we traversed climbers left to access the glacial ramp leading to the rock portion of Bonanza. The glacial ramp is in great shape and it is easy to step onto the rock.

 

The final rock section is about 500' (or more) of 3rd/4th class scrambling. I found that you could always find a 3rd class option by looking to the right or left of the central gully. I also thought that the rock was pretty good by North Cascades standards. A final exciting traverse on a ridge crest brings you to the spectacular summit. What a view!

 

After soaking in the views, we descended all the way back down to Holden, reaching camp at dusk. The next day, we got up leisurely and ambled into town around 10 AM. Much to our delight, we caught a bus going down to Lucerne. We then upgraded our tickets to get on the Lady Express so that we could get home a reasonable time.

 

Pictures:

Fording the river on our hike to Holden

19310581749_2078657658.jpg

 

Holden Lake and Bonanza

19470621676_69b2a902de.jpg

 

Waterfall ledges

19470616966_261a39afec.jpg

 

Heading up to Holden Pass

19308946680_6c928b8489.jpg

 

The grassy ledges that we traversed

19310533499_d3c43bc00e.jpg

 

A crevassed glacier

18874161004_d0d18d07b4.jpg

 

Heading up to the summit pyramid

19496630045_6eb44686ef.jpg

 

The condition of the glacial ramp

18874128734_253249f5d6.jpg

 

El summito

18874115394_c7605d23b6.jpg

 

Headed down

19308869220_805e54d209.jpg

 

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I tried Googling 'Mary Green' to learn who the glacier was named for, but I ended up at a web site selling ladies underwear. Anybody know who Mary Green was?

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One of my favorite climbs - such an adventure. Nice work!

Agree with the sticker shock on the transportation, add a bike fee on the ferry and it really starts to hurt.

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Nice Jon and Dylan! This is another one that I had considered lately (we've had quite a few near misses in the mountains in the last few weeks). I was planning to come in from Spider Gap though. On my little recon. hike last summer (where I ran into you and Dylan on Buck Mountain, Ha!) I noticed that it only took about 4-5 hours of easy hiking to get to Lyman Lakes (in this photo) and what looked like a nice trail to Holden via the Railroad Creek (maybe 5-7 more miles away). We of course went the other way to Buck Creek, but I think that it would make a nice alternate approach with the work going on in Holden right now. Has anyone tried this? Is the Railroad creek trail from Lyman lakes to Holden lake in OK shape?

 

P8212448.jpg

 

Bonanza is hiding in the clouds. I think that you can see the shoulder of it on the right.

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I thought of that approach, but because we were already at Lake Chelan, it made more sense to forge ahead with the Lucerne-Holden plan. People in Holden seemed to think that major construction would be done by next year too. Val, don't you have more TRs to be putting up?

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I was planning to come in from Spider Gap though. On my little recon. hike last summer (where I ran into you and Dylan on Buck Mountain, Ha!) I noticed that it only took about 4-5 hours of easy hiking to get to Lyman Lakes (in this photo) and what looked like a nice trail to Holden via the Railroad Creek (maybe 5-7 more miles away). We of course went the other way to Buck Creek, but I think that it would make a nice alternate approach with the work going on in Holden right now. Has anyone tried this? Is the Railroad creek trail from Lyman lakes to Holden lake in OK shape?

 

Val, this is a great approach to Bonanza, and honestly I think the better one after you've done the Lady of the Lake once (it's worth it once for the experience.) Having been to Holden several times myself now, I'd just do the walk up and over Spider Gap now. I did the Spider Meadow-Buck Creek loop the other day and the trails were all in fantastic shape. As for Lyman->Railroad, I was last there in Spring of '14 and it was in great shape then.

 

If I remember the cutoff to Holden Lake trail is about 15-17 miles from the Phelps Creek TH. A party in reasonable shape that doesn't overpack should be able to cover that faster than the extra driving to Chelan + Boat + bus shenanigans, saving time and money overall.

 

Though the schwack up Railroad Creek makes an awesome story! :D

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