Chelan County High Point Trip Report

Bonanza Peak (9,511 ft)

Date: July 19-21, 2003
Author: Bob Packard

an attempt

We took the Lady of the Lake II ferry on Lake Chelan from Field's Point Landing to Lucerne, a bus ride from Lucerne to Holden Village, and a hike from Holden Village (3200 feet) to camp at Holden Lake (5300 feet), 5 miles in 5 hours.

Next day, July 20, my birthday, left camp at 6 AM, got to Holden Pass and up onto Mary Green Glacier. The major obstacle was a huge crevasse going ALL the way across the glacier cutting the upper "thumb" off from the rest of the lower glacier. There was a narrow snow bridge across about midway. We knew about this in advance having talked to a couple at Holden Lake who had attempted Bonanza the day before. They had turned around here, not feeling comfortable with the belay situation with only 2 people.

The entrance to the bridge was steep and the exit very steep. Using pickets, we belayed Jimmie across. He made it up the other side and put in a picket and I had a double belay to cross, then Jimmie and I belayed Ken across. We used about 20 wands to mark our route, ends of crevasses and belay points. Got to the interface between glacier and rock and easily got on the rock. Jimmie opted to go no further, intimidated by the 3-4-5 class rocks above. Ken and I got about 200 feet higher thru some 3rd class and a little 4th class. At 4 PM, about 700 feet below the summit we turned around, not wanting to bivouac on the glacier. Got below the glacier at dusk and back to camp at midnight. A tough 18 hour day!

We estimate that it would have taken another 3 hours if we had summitted. Next day we hiked out, already formulating plans for next summer.

I now feel that I can make Bonanza and know some changes I want to make to give myself a better chance. I'd stay at Holden Village after the ferry and bus rides and next day, with an earlier start, get above Holden Lake to Holden Pass AND BEYOND where we saw a chance for a camp with water (Holden Pass was dry). Instead of 2 150-foot, 11 mm ropes we'd carry 2 150-foot, 8 ml ropes. There is opportunity for long rappels on the down climb.

I would want to be on a rope team of 3 with 2 experienced climbers. I also would like to see others, like Ken Jones, Bob Bolton, Dick Michelson have a crack at this with me, but this to me implies another team which in turn implies finding more experienced climbers willing to help. I'm open to suggestions and advice from people who really know what they are doing (more than I), such as Jerry Roach.

Folks, this, to me, is a scary mountain. One observation: more people, more rock fall.