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Trip Report    

Intermediate Alpine Climb - Bonanza Peak/Mary Green Glacier

Bonanza and Copper climb, 7/14-7/17.

  • Road suitable for all vehicles

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This was a 4-day trip, 7/14-7/17 (including drive to Fields Point Landing, boat ride to Lucerne and back, bus shuttle Lucerne-Holden and back, drive back home). Three of us left early on Wed morning to catch the Lady Express up Lake Chelan to Lucerne and then the bus onto Holden. The initial plan was to hike to Holden Pass on Wed, climb Martin on Wed late afternoon / early evening, Bonanza on Thu, move camp just outside Holden Village on Thu evening, climb Copper on Fri and then reverse the bus/boat/car journey on Sat am to get back home. Most of it was executed as planned with a few exceptions dictated by the heat.

Day 1 / Wed

We arrived in Holden around Noon, re-organized our packs, stashed some food at the Hike House (with one of the generous local ladies’ help) and started our hike to Holden Pass around 12:30 PM. The heat (and the bugs at Holden Lake area) were unbearable and did slow us down. We made it at the Pass right before 5:00 PM but were cooked by the heat and had no energy to go for Martin. We ended up setting up the camp, chilled, had dinner and went to bed early to get ready for the next big Bonanza Day.

Day 2 / Thu

Started from camp by 4:30 am and had no issues following the climber’s boot path to the start of the waterfall slabs. We had no issues finding various dry lines up the slabs to safely make it at the toe of the Mary Green Glacier. Around 6:30 AM we were roped up and ready to roll. I took the lead and the overall glacier travel ended up taking us longer than I anticipated. Mary Green is a big glacier, and the rock summit is quite a way out there even though it does not look like it. We passed numerous big crevasses as we approached the large shrund near the base of the rock route. The shrund goes across most of the glacier but is still passable on the far left maybe for 1-2 more weeks. After full opening some creativity might be required to figure out how to cross it (rappels in the crevasse, belays will be needed, etc.). I took a higher line to traverse to the rock to snow transition point and placed some pickets (given the steepness and known open crevasses 100 ft below us). Burned some time with that traverse, I must acknowledge. The transition to the rock required a big step from a small hanging snow finger to the rock wall (straight forward on our way up, I went first and setup a quick belay for Ian and Albert but a bit intimidating for me when we had to reverse it – I was convinced it will collapse given the heat we were dealing with but it didn’t; it will be out soon though and the transition will get more interesting). We started the actual 800 ft rock scramble around 8:40, after we stashed the glacier gear. It was so fun and nailed most of the navigation. Best advice we read was to not climb straight up between rap stations that you can spot from each one you find. Zigzag the ledges. Around the bottom two rap stations keep to the right in 3rd class (if you go left or straight up of the second rap station you will end up in some 4th/low 5th class slabby stuff that goes but has a high pucker factor – that was the only tricky part we had to carefully deal with). After the second rap stations we did trend left and just zig-zagged ledges up to the ridge. It did not feel harder than 3rd class/3rd+). The ridge itself was airy but fun and in slightly less than 1h we were on the summit. We did rap down the first two rap stations then downclimbed the rest. Took a late lunch break before we transitioned back to the glacier travel mode and concluded that given the heat and our tiredness, Martin will have to wait for another future climbing trip. Took a slightly different route on the lower part of the glacier and made it back at the waterfall slabs around 2:30 PM where there was way much more water flowing than when we went up early morning. We could not find a safe dry line to get back down. We did 2 raps down waterfall slabs (all raps with a single 60) starting from the two old pitons but we wound up on a ledge with a sketchy red webbing sling around a rock that looked sketchy with about 30ft left to rappel through an actual waterfall flow, we backed it up with a cord to a flake which felt secure and went for it. We made it back to the camp by 4:30 PM (later than expected but again, the heat did not help us at all), packed up the camp, hiked back o Holden and reset up the camp just outside the Village, near the Ranger station.

Bonanza was a great climb and made it in my top 5 favorite climbs.

Day 3 / Thu

Ian and I climbed Copper which was a long day with a lot of terrain to cover (12hrs camp to the village snack / ice cream bar) but relatively straightforward with about 500ft of loose rock scrambling to the summit. Mostly sustained class 3 with only one 4 class move. We used crampons for some snow fields and the lower part of the glacier while transitioning between slabs. We did not bring and did not feel we needed a rope. We forded the Copper Creek (which was low) on our hike in and found a log crossing downstream on our way hike out.

Jogged the 4 miles back to Holden (from Copper Basin) and got right to the end of the line for ice cream by 9pm. A generous human being decided to donate ice cream for everybody that evening just because it was his / her birthday (so many flavors and pretty much all you can eat). I could not take it for free completely and made a donation, but I definitely took as much Rocky Road as I could eat 😊.

Day 4 / Fri

It was the easiest day out after a big climb – we picked up our delicious fresh sandwiches + fruit (ordered online before our trip) and then got bused and boated back out.

Please note that climbers / hikers are allowed to be in town, but they are asked to stay outside all buildings. They are allowed to use the snack / ice cream bar though. Also, you can get water (from the jugs they have setup outside on their porches). Even though we did not get the whole Holden Village experience (no access to the buffet / cafeteria) we still enjoyed the vibe and local’s generosity. Holden Village is a neat place, and we will definitely go back.