North America, United States, Washington, Cascade Range, Bonanza Peak, Northwest Ridge

Publication Year: 2007.

Bonanza Peak, Northwest Ridge. Tim Haider and I climbed Washington’s highest non-volcanic peak (9,511') via a new route (V 5.8), following a traverse from the northwest. On August 19 we left the Agnes Creek trail at Swamp Creek and climbed Needle Peak via the north ridge. We carried over Needle and made the first ascents, via low 5th class, of the north and south Anonymity Towers (Cascade Alpine Guide, p. 232). In late afternoon we climbed the Dark Glacier and summited Dark Peak as the sun set. Early on the 20th, after a memorable belay-jacket bivy atop the glacier, we began climbing toward Bonanza Peak. The route follows an obvious high ridge crest that connects Dark Peak to the massive bulk of Bonanza. Climbing along the crest is wild and variable in quality, and this is not a good route to begin during unsettled weather, as you’d have to retrace your steps to retreat. Ten hours of climbing brought us to Bonanza’s west summit. The tin-can summit register had two entries, from 1952 and 2003. From here we ran the knife-edge ridge to the main summit, passing some exciting a cheval moves and solid 5.8 climbing on the last two pitches. An evening descent down the heavily crevassed Mary Greene Glacier route ended our technical difficulties just as darkness fell.

Blake Herrington