Bonanza Peak/Mary Green Glacier

Bonanza has the distinction of being the tallest non-volcanic peak in Washington. This route has the distinction of offering a classic alpine Cascade climbing experience at the intermediate level, testing the mettle of those who attempt it.

Driving Directions

Drive to Chelan or Fields Point Landing and catch the Lady of the Lake ferry (or find alternative commercial transportation) to the town of Lucerne.  From Lucerne take the school bus to Holden (13 miles and 3,262 ft). Camping is available a mile west of Holden at the Holden Campground.

Approach

From Holden Campground (3,300 ft) take the Railroad Creek Trail approximately 1 mile to its junction with the Holden Lake Trail (3,600 ft), turn right and follow the latter trail 4 miles to Holden Lake (5,278 ft).  Camping is available here (can be buggy), or you can continue NNW from the head of the lake to good camping at Holden Pass (6,400 ft).

Ascent Route

From Holden Pass, make a rising traverse W along the ridge until you reach a snowfield below slabs (maybe snow covered early season).  Scramble up the slabs to the northern edge of the Mary Green Glacier.  Beware of objective hazard in this area due to the icefall above.

Rope up and ascend the glacier bearing W along it's north edge (climber's right), then traverse southwest along the base of the Bonanza's NE ridge until you reach the glacier's upper corner (southwest).  From here climb the steep upper snow finger to climber's right until it's highest point and look for a way to exit left onto rock.  There may be a moat here as well as an overhanging snow slope.

Climb the rock (Class 3-4) just right of a gully for several rope lengths, then traverse left into another gully and scramble to a prominent notch in the upper northeast ridge just north of the summit (Class 4).  Scramble along the loose ridge crest (Class 4) past a series of large blocks.  The summit is on the south end of the ridge and resembles a horn (9,511 ft).

Descent Route

Retrace the climbing route to the glacier, and the glacier route to the slabs below it. Either descend the slabs or look for a short rappel to the east. Retrace steps to camp.

Trip Profile

SEGMENTTIME (HR)ELEVATION GAIN (FT)
Seattle to Trailhead 3.5   
Trailhead to Camp 3 3,100
Camp to Summit 5-6 3,200
Summit to TH 7-8 -6,300
Camp to Martin 3 2,200
Martin to Camp 2-3 -2,200

Equipment

Standard glacier travel gear.

notes

  • This trip is best done in 3 days and you must coordinate transportation back to Lucerne and Chelan. 
  • A summit of Martin is possible from the same camp (Holden Pass preferred). From high camp at Holden Pass, Martin Peak can be scrambled.  Ascend east to the base of the west ridge of Martin Peak and gain the ridge crest.  Scramble rock easterly (Class 4, easier terrain on climber's right/south side of ridge). Approximately 100 feet from the summit scramble a steep gully (Class 4, exposed) to the summit (8,511 ft).  Descend the climbing route.
  • Suitable Activities: Climbing
  • Climbing Category: Intermediate Alpine
  • Seasons: June, July, August
  • Weather: View weather forecast.
  • Difficulty: Intermediate Mountaineering Climb
  • Length: 14.0 mi
  • Elevation Gain: 6,300 ft
  • 9,511 ft
Map
  • Trails Illustrated North Cascades National Park
  • USGS Holden
Activities

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