Bonanza and Martin (July 19-22, 2014)

Bonanza (9,511ft) Martin (8,511ft)

July 19-22 204


Linsey Warren (Leader)

Mike R.

John P.

Pat C.

Kenny D.


-- Day 1 --

Eastgate – 4.00am

Field’s Point – 7.45am

Holden – 1.00pm

Depart Holden – 2.00pm

Holden Lake –

Holden Pass –


-- Day 2 --

Depart Camp – 7.00am

Base of rock – 9.45am

Bonanza summit – 12.10pm

Depart summit – 1.45pm

Base of rock – 3.50pm

Camp – 6.30pm


-- Day 4 --

Lucerne – 11.45pm

Stehekin – 12.30 – 2pm

Field’s Point – 4.45pm

Eastgate – 8.00pm

-- Day 3 --

Depart Camp – 5.45am

Martin summit – 8.50am

Depart summit – 10.10am

Camp – 2.00pm

Holden Lake – 3.20pm

Holden village – 5.15pm

Depart village – 7.20pm

Refrigerator Camp – 8.20pm est.

When I got the first email from Kenny suggesting a 4.00am meet time at Eastgate I was of mixed emotions. I understood the practicality of it as the roads had been a little iffy with all the fires and there was going to be a triathalon going on in Chelan that could hold us up. And if we missed the boat we were just SOL. But at the same time, I really did not want to get up around the 3.00am hour on a Saturday. The evening before I tried to get off as early as possible to finish packing and get home and get to bed so I could get a few hours of sleep. And just as I crawled into bed I got a text message from Mike saying he wasn’t sure he wanted to go because there were forest fires all over the state and in that general area and it might be hazy. I told him when I talked to the ranger she said it was okay but it was ultimately his decision. I was just too tired to fight it. I then sent a message to John indicating if Mike didn’t want to go we’d do a quick gear shuffle at the car but I was planning to still go. Shortly after Mike sent a message saying he was coming but I was too tired to argue it.

We met at 4.00am, packed up all the gear and bikes and headed over the pass. We made a quick stop in Cle Elum so the gents could grab some breakfast at McDonalds and we continued on. We ended up making great time and made it to Field’s Point on Lake Chelan around 7.45am. That was nearly two hours before the boat was scheduled to depart. We toyed with the idea of catching the faster boat back as I had misunderstood and thought we couldn’t take the faster boatback before of the bikes. But, we decided to stick with the original plan. We took the Lady of the Lake II up the lake to Lucerne, hoped off and loaded the gear onto the ol’ schoolbus Julianne (I think that’s the name painted inside the front of the bus). We had to wait until we got clearance to go up the road. It is quite a difference experience being there with the construction going on. We caught the bus up to the village and grabbed some lunch in the cafeteria. We were lucky they let us eat there, they indicated that they are trying not to encourage it but since we had planned on eating there they would let us. Right as we were finishing up lunch it started to sprinkle. It wasn’t so bad so we put our packs on and hit the road. We walked out of the village around 2.00pm in the afternoon. There wasn’t too big of a rush as we just had 7 miles to do to get up to Holden Pass. It kept sprinkling on the way up to the lake, gradually increasing in frequency and drop size until it was raining. And because the trail is brushy in spots we were pretty wet by the time we hit the lake. That is where we stopped and discussed if we wanted to continue on to the pass. I voted yes as well as John. But Kenny and Mike were inclined to sleep down by the lake. We called Pat the decided factor but somehow, likely due to my insistence that it would be better for us to be higher to tag both peaks, we continued on to the pass. It was not nice. We were going through the brush and slide alder in sections and just getting soaked. At one point, with all the clothes sticking to my body, I felt like I had just been dunked in a swimming pool and pulled out. I was just soaked. We stayed right of the lake and went up slightly to avoid some of the slide alder. After we punched through a short section it opened up into big scree and a little higher an open slope with a small beaten path. There were a few cairns to mark the way. We followed the path up to the pass and found a spot to set up camp.

I was getting cold at that point and someone had mentioned something about making a fire last time it rained on them. I asked if we could that this time. Although on the bus they had said no fires, given the fact it was raining and we were soaked it seemed almost like a survival scenario with minimal risk given the dampness. So we picked underbrush that was still fairly dry and I got my trip reports (the ones we had duplicates of since everyone seemed to bring Bongiovonni’s) and we shredded those and used those as tinder. It wasn’t long before we had a fire going! It was incredibly nice to stand in front of the fire. I couldn’t remember ever really building one to use in this type of situation but it proved incredibly invaluable. We all stood around it and tried to try our pants and coats. It was misting a little but it had for the most part let up on us which made it easier to dry our gear. It was an amazing feeling to start to feel warm and dry again. I was worried it’d be a miserable night being wet and that I might have to wear my long underwear bottoms the next day to climb in if my pants were still wet. But I managed to dry out my clothes and the pack cover on my pack, as well as the plastic bags almost everything was in, meant that my gear stayed fairly dry also. I crawled into my sleeping bag and John and Pat watched the fire as it went out. I slept fairly well that night and was pretty warm all things considered.

We had previously agreed to get up around 4.00am so that we could be moving by 5.00am. But at around our wake up hour Kenny came over to our tent and said that he was having some stomach troubles and asked if we wouldn’t mind pushing it back a little. Fine by me. I was warm in my sleeping bag and a couple hours wasn’t going to be a deal breaker. I’d really like to know who in their warm sleeping bag and right mind would have fought the later start? When we did get up and started pulling our gear out of the tent Mike pulled his backpack up and there were ants everywhere!!! We must have set the tent up on an ants nest and they came in through a small hole in the floor. It was gross. So we pulled everything out of the tent, tipped it upside down and shook it, then put it elsewhere and piled the gear back in. So we actually ended up getting up around 6.00am and getting started around 7.00am. We made our way up to the pass proper (we camped around 50ft below it) and from the pass we traveled west up a trail. The trail works its way up to the base of a rocky cliff face under which is scree and a small boulder field. We traversed under the rock wall (continuing in a westward direction) towards the waterfalls coming out of the Mary Greene Glacier. We hugged this rock wall a little closer and followed a series of little ledges, initially moss covered and green til it faded out in the waterfall and we had to work our way towards the center of the waterfalls and then upwards. It was slick but we didn’t need a rope to get up. Pat headed out first and cruised right up. We talked about roping up right there as the snow starts just above these waterfalls but opted to go without until a little higher up. We had no sooner decided that and got our crampons on then Kenny was off and heading up the glacier. We went about halfway up, weaving through some larger crevasses, without a rope. But it was when we needed to cross a potential snow bridge that Kenny decided it’d be a good time to rope up. The glacier was in surprisingly good condition. Very straight-forward conditions. Once we crossed the snow bridge (very solid) we traversed over to the ‘thumb’ on Bonanza. We initially headed left and then cut back right under the permanent hanging glacier and towards the base of the rock. The transition from snow to rock was fine. Hard to imagine that later in the year this moat can become impassable.

The base of the rock was quite nice. We stopped for a little food and to take our crampons off. In fact we ended up leaving our crampons, pickets and ice axes right there. We started the scramble upward and it was class 3 to start. We headed straight up alongside the hanging glacier. After 100ft or so it became a little more mixed class 3 possibly class 4. We ended up going up a steep section and getting into a little cave of sorts. Once there Pat dropped a line down and we prusiked up one section of smooth light colored rock that was friction with an undercling layback. It seemed we might have been off route but while we were sitting in that small cave (would be an excellent bivy from the elements if you aren’t scared of spiders or bugs) we noticed there was a piton. Additionally, there were other pieces of webbing in the area so we figured this must be one of the more common routes. I huffed and puffed a little up this section, and let out a couple choice words. Once above this short 25/30ft section of layback moves it became easy class 3 scrambling once more. We continued scrambling up and moving left (generally west/northwest).

 The scrambling was fairly easy until we reached a smoother section of light grey rock that was more exposed. The moves were not hard and the exposure was not too bad but I asked for a line or a belay to be set up. A wrong move and tumble might be hard to stop. After traversing into this smoother light gray face we headed straight up into the gulley above. We continued up, Pat beat us up and dropped a line down in the gulley that we used to pull on in one of the steeper sections. This gulley had some class 4 moves. We followed this gulley all the way to the ridge just to the east of the summit. From this notch we scrambled directly west up to the summit. There is a section of darker rock that is a big chimney. The chimney is class 4 but easy and blocky moves that are not too exposed. At the top of the chimney is a little ledge we followed to another small notch 20ft away that put us directly on the summit ridge. We did not rope up for this section as it was fairly straight forward. We made good time as it took us about five hours from camp to make it all the way up. It was a gorgeous day with the clouds intermittently rolling in and out. It was a fairly decent summit as well. Enough space for us to lounge around and eat. I pulled out a bag of Newman’s alphabet cookies and we had some fun eating and spelling with those. John helped spell out ‘Shart’ on Kenny’s sleeve. Poor Kenny was not going to live down the morning’s bathroom escapades if John had his way! And Kenny was a trooper the whole way up. He tried not to eat so that he wouldn’t have any intestinal interruptions. As we dried our socks out on the summit and ate, John danced around with his camera and we gave him grief for his tripod and self portrait shots. But it was his words that inspired the summit sign “If I wanted lip from you I would have rattled my zipper”. And while he was running around taking photos and we were airing out our feet (Kenny, Pat and I) he set it up for the group shot and then ran over and accidentally stepped on a toe. I was yelling and making faces when the group shots when off!

We had a lot of laughs up there. I could have stayed for the better part of the day! It was stunning. The summit register is an old ammunition tin. It’s fairly rusty and the register was pretty wet but we all signed it. We down climbed back to the 4th class chimney and rappelled that. Then we used a series of 2 more rappels to get back down the steeper gulley. Although Kenny had to down climb one section so that we could clear the gear. Pat was a good guy and helped him navigate it. Then we down climbed the rest with the exception of the layback, cave area which we rappelled also. Then the rest of it we down climbed. Once we got back to the snow we had a snack and put our gear back on. We followed our tracks back down the glacier and to the waterfall. At the waterfall we set up a rappel on a boulder at the top. It looked fairly good but it is just a boulder sitting there. The water was running a little stronger in the afternoon and more of the rock that we had scrambled up was wet. The rappel was a little difficult as we rappelled at an angle and it was hard to get purchase to move diagonally on the slick wet rock. Mike took a tumble but held his hand on the rappel. We then continued along the slippery ledges back to the scree field and back to camp.

We made it back to camp by 6.30pm. It was a great day! We made dinner, got some water and hung around camp. More eating to be had. Pat pulled out a bag of Swedish Fish and his giant green hand crank radio. So we took turns cranking the radio and listening to music and random clips of whatever we could get up there. I was actually impressed we got anything at all. At some point during the day John told us about the Bon Qui Qui skit from SNL and kept saying “I will cuuuuuh’t you”. It was hilarious. It was a great day full of laughs and a good night. I crawled into bed and listened to the radio for a while as Pat cranked it. That night I didn’t sleep as warm and in the middle of the night I woke up and asked Mike if he had any food. I had put mine all in the bear bag after the ant escapades of the night before but Mike decided to sleep with his in his sleeping bag. But as soon as I woke him up I realized I had a bar in my pocket. Opps. And later in the night I woke him up again and asked if he was using his jacket as I was cold. Poor Mike. The good guy that he is he handed over his jacket and I used it to try and warm up. After having slept warm the night before it was hard to believe I was so chilly the second night. But perhaps it was because it was a mostly clear night.

We got up the next morning around 4.45am and got moving around 5.50am. Pat had thought about going with us but decided he was going to sleep in and hang with Kenny. They would sleep in and see how they felt about getting back to town. We headed towards Martin. We went up to an elevated section to the east of the low point on the pass. There are lots of great camp sites up in this area as well and a boot path of sorts that heads up towards Martin. In this area you have to drop a couple hundred feet on the other side to another low point at the base of Martin. We decided to follow the ridge. Immediately after the lowest point below Martin we traversed over to the toe of the ridge. It is a steep rocky section, after which it becomes a more gradual slope. We headed up a steep 4th class looking gulley that was quite loose and topped out in some shrubby trees. We scrambled up through the trees and gained the toe of the ridge. We followed it up it where the ridge steepens and then traversed over some scree fields. We made a rising right and upward traverse over to the first gulley. We dropped into this gulley and continued to make a rising traverse over to a second. We followed the second upward. There were some cairns on the route. Follow the path of least resistance upward. The gulley’s were loose but compared to lots of Bulgers and the Cascades in general it wasn’t too bad. We followed the gulley’s path of least resistance upward staying just on the right (or south) side of the west ridge. We came to a section of smooth downward sloping and crumbling light colored sandstone type rock. We scrambled up with without a rope but definitely noted it as a potential rappel point. From here we continued scrambling upward and had to make a series of traverses over ribs in short succession. But the scrambling stayed at about class 3 until just below the summit there is a little class 4 section that last for about 15/20 feet. We did not rope up to scramble up. We stayed right and went leftward up a dark colored chimney. It was blocky and easy moves. John went right up the center which went similarly.

We were on the summit by 8.50am. It took us three hours to get up and it was a gorgeous day. And it was nice to get to the summit and be in the sun because we were in the shade for the scramble up. We spent another hour and change on the summit because it was so glorious. So Mike and I sat down on the summit while John took his summit shots. We had to move our bags once or twice for John’s summit shots. It was really nice. We found the summit register which was an old metal tube from 1935 that said it was from the Wy’east Portland group. Again lots of laughs. John said something about lady lumps and so I got a lovely lady lumps pose pictures. After that we decided we better head down as we still had to make it down to Holden and it’d be great to make it by dinner. We rappelled off the summit to get past the fourth class section just below it. Then we scrambled the rest of the way down to the other short flaky section of sandstone and rappelled that. We then tried another short rappel after that but the rope got stuck so John scrambled up got in and down climbed the section. We then retraced our steps back and did one more rappel down the class four gulley through the trees and to the low point on the ridge. We retraced our steps back to camp and the temperature was really starting to warm up. We got to camp around 2.00pm and decided to pack up. Kenny and Pat weren’t there so we knew we’d have to meet up with them in town. Mike and I were ready really quick and there were bees and mosquitos around so I was ready to go. And also because my knee had been acting up and a little sore I wanted to start off first downhill since the guys would catch me in two second anyways. But we all ended up starting down together for the most part. But John was a little behind because he was taking amazing photos. We headed downhill and didn’t stop until we got to Holden.

It was nice that the brush was dry on the way down. When we got to town we strung up our food so that the chipmunks wouldn’t eat through our bags to get to it. And we met up with Pat and Kenny and went to the mess hall! We went in for dinner and it was glorious. I had some tacos and salad, some spiced cake and then some cereal with two and a half glasses of lemonade. It was marvelous. After dinner we left some money for our dinner and grabbed our bike and prepared to head down to Lucerne. It was just after 7pm and the road was officially open. And some event was getting out because people were milling about on the streets, it was like we had our own send off crowd. Our bags felt heavy and I just wasn’t that motivated to ride my bike down. As we kicked off and started down someone told me it was a great ride down. In my head I thought, maybe when you don’t have a heavy pack on after a long day and are an experienced rider but those were not quite my circumstances and I was a little nervous about going down. Mike said he’d go slow with me and he did. I held my brakes most of the way down. But made it eventually! It was nice that there were mile signs on the road too, that helped mark the progress. I was the last to scoot down the road and the others were waiting for me where the road branched. I thought we would sleep right next to the dock but Kenny thought it’d be good to go over to Refrigerator Camp so we rode the extra mile to that camp. When we got there it was still light out and we set up our camp and visited for a little while before going to sleep. We had gone up a mountain, down a mountain, had dinner and rode all the way to the lake in a day. And we had been blessed with great weather but it was cooling down a little bit and the forecast said there would be a chance of precipitation.

It was glorious to sleep in. I think we got up around 8.00am and hung around camp for a while. I woke up in the night and had to go to the bathroom and when I looked up I saw a tick. I thought it was on the outside of the tent so I didn’t really care. But the next morning Mike said something about pulling a tick of himself and the tick that was above my head turned out to be inside the tent!! Yuck! Mike got it out! We had some breakfast and snacks and mostly talked and joked around. I laid in the tent and kept my eyes closed for a while because it was so nice. But I had to laugh when John crept up to the mesh on the tent and said “I will cuuuuh’t you”. Pat went and took a dip in the water this morning and a little after 10.00am in the morning we got moving on the bikes to head over to the ferry dock. By this time it was definitely sprinkling. We got incredibly lucky with the weather window. We waited under a tree by the dock for the ferry to come. Then loaded our gear on and headed over to Stehekin. When we got off the weather was just pleasant. No rain and we headed over to the bakery. We had a lovely time eating and talking and laughing. We then headed back to the ferry. At some point John stopped to take pictures and when we got to the boat he wasn’t there. I thought for a moment he wasn’t going to make it, he sure was cutting it close! The whistle had already blown for the 10 minute warning before he had come whipping around the corner on his bike. And then we took the boat back to Field’s Point, jumped in the cars and headed home. We got back to the park and ride around 8.00pm. All in all a fantastic and fun alpine trip. 

Trail Conditions –

Trail conditions were quite good. After the lake it is a little brushy but there is a faint trail through the trees and brush that leads to a better marked path marked with cairns on the way to Holden Pass.

Objective Hazards –

Slick scrambling up a waterfall, rockfall, glacier travel.

Gear –

Ice axe, crampons, helmet, harness, 4x 30m 8mm ropes, 4x cams, 1x set of nuts, 8 runners with biners, webbing, cordelette etc.

Water –

Running water available on the trail to the lake occasionally, water at the lake and some water running down from the pass. We were fortunate to find a snow patch at the pass that had enough water coming out of it to pump.

Animals –

A couple deer and chipmunks.

Bugs –

Mosquitos are out now. Ladybugs also. And I think I got bite by a fly!

Flora and Fauna –

Lots of flowers! Beautiful fields of flowers on the way to Martin at the pass. Yellows, red, white and some purple.

Lessons Learned

  • A fire can be a useful way to dry out your clothes when you are soaking and it is safe to build one.
  • Even a small hole in the bottom of the tent can let bugs in.