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YDS: 5.3 French: 3+ Ewbanks: 10 UIAA: III ZA: 9 British: VD 3a

Type:  Trad, 2 pitches, 150'
Original:  YDS: 5.3 French: 3+ Ewbanks: 10 UIAA: III ZA: 9 British: VD 3a [details]
FA: Betty Woolsey and Fritz Wiessner, 1941
Page Views: 10,144
Submitted By: Bob Hayes on Feb 17, 2007  with updates from Joel Ryan

You & This Route  |  Other Opinions (200)
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Betty Woolsey - for more information on this remar...


This is an old route with some historic significance. Dick Williams notes that this was the first route in the Gunks with a female FA.

The first pitch is straightforward. Go up the wide crack (face holds abound), and through the mellow overhang to stand on the spacious belay ledge. Tree and gear for anchor.

The second pitch is less obvious, but it's tough to get into real trouble. Climb up a left-facing corner and chimney. From here, whether you stay right in the chimney systems, or traverse left onto the nose and face (fun!), the climbing is similar in difficulty and pro is reasonably available. The exposure on the nose variation is nice.

Descent: From the cliff top, rappel from the bolted anchor (2015). You can also walk off via Radcliffe, or the Uberfall Descent.


This route is located just right of the Jackie area, and just before Matinee. It's the obvious easy-looking wide crack next to Raubenheimer Special, and is about 1 minute past the Uberfall.


Standard Gunks rack.

Photos of Betty Slideshow Add Photo
Rock Climbing Photo: Betty from the carriage road
BETA PHOTO: Betty from the carriage road
Rock Climbing Photo: The start of Betty
BETA PHOTO: The start of Betty
Rock Climbing Photo: Hex placed on P2.
Hex placed on P2.
Rock Climbing Photo: Group shot at the top of betty.
Group shot at the top of betty.
Rock Climbing Photo: James working his way up Betty while Meghan a wait...
James working his way up Betty while Meghan a wait...
Rock Climbing Photo: Paul Deagle - Betty 5.3
Paul Deagle - Betty 5.3
Rock Climbing Photo: Autumn's very first outdoor climb...
Autumn's very first outdoor climb...
Rock Climbing Photo: the wife on one of her first leads
the wife on one of her first leads
Rock Climbing Photo: P1 of Betty. My first trad lead...following in the...
BETA PHOTO: P1 of Betty. My first trad lead...following in the...
Rock Climbing Photo: Top half of P1 of Betty. At te Gunks, you have to ...
BETA PHOTO: Top half of P1 of Betty. At te Gunks, you have to ...
Rock Climbing Photo: starting up the 2nd pitch
starting up the 2nd pitch
Rock Climbing Photo: Diana at the top of Betty.
Diana at the top of Betty.
Rock Climbing Photo: Looking down P1.
Looking down P1.
Rock Climbing Photo: First pitch of Betty
BETA PHOTO: First pitch of Betty
Rock Climbing Photo: Paul Deagle - Betty 5.3
Paul Deagle - Betty 5.3
Rock Climbing Photo: Shirley nearing the top of the first pitch.
Shirley nearing the top of the first pitch.
Rock Climbing Photo: beginning of pitch 2.
beginning of pitch 2.
Rock Climbing Photo: Erica starting up Betty.
Erica starting up Betty.
Rock Climbing Photo: Tom's first pitch of trad climbing, cleaned like a...
Tom's first pitch of trad climbing, cleaned like a...

Comments on Betty Add Comment
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Comments displayed oldest to newestSkip Ahead to the Most Recent Dated Jul 27, 2016
By doligo
Nov 17, 2009
rating: 5.3 3+ 10 III 9 VD 3a

Finally climbed it on a soggy Sunday - because there was finally nobody on the route. An ok route, don't think it's worth waiting for on a nice day - there are way better 5.3s in the Gunks. Scary when wet though - any slip and you may end up with a broken ankle - it's ledges all they way up...
By Barrett Stetson
Aug 29, 2010

There was a yellow jackets nest just at the top of the first chimney about 3 ft from the ledge. I think the spot I wanted to go up was the small roof directly above the yellow jackets nest but the book said head right and so instead traversed right about 30 ft to head up some other chimney. I don't think this was on route (maybe) and the very top section felt harder than 5.3 (but it's the Gunks and they have their own rating system apparently, so who knows). The pro was good enough including a big tree and a pin or two one of which I was able to back up the other not.
By Alicia Sokolowski
From: Brooklyn, NY
Sep 4, 2011
rating: 5.3 3+ 10 III 9 VD 3a

I have done p2 three different ways, and IMHO, the best finish for my taste is to go straight up from the p2 belay toward the notch in the rock visible clearly overhead. This is a variation, not the original route. The chimney always seemed wet to me.
By Kevin Heckeler
From: Upstate New York
Oct 23, 2011
rating: 5.3 3+ 10 III 9 VD 3a PG13

A pitch-2 variation I've done twice is to work up the chimney, then at its top move left (very short traverse) and then up a book, then face climb to the anchors. Going to the right causes drag over the edge of the chimney and nothing over there looks clean or obvious anyway. P2 has some great exposed moves coming out of the chimney for the grade.
Oct 25, 2011

Kevin, that's what I've most often done, and it is nice. The nose is nice & a bit exposed, and you can also climb the open-book to the right at the top, all about the same grade.

It's possible to link the whole route in one pitch, if you sling things very carefully and follow the nose at the top.
By kenr
Mar 22, 2012

I agree that the most fun and esthetic way to do P2 is to step left at the top of the first chimney, then thru the semi-notch and up the prow to the top. It's more direct, more exposed, and has cleaner rock. Perhaps the prow takes a bit more thought to protect (with a range of cams in horizontal cracks).

I'd rate Betty as 3-stars with this "direct" P2 variation, only 2-stars without it.

The initial off-width crack system has a couple of moves where the footwork is fairly subtle, and lots of people have to semi-mantle or other less-elegant-feeling improvizations. After that it's almost all fun positive holds (if take the multiply-recommended Left variation for P2).

Note that the first chimney on P2 could be skipped entirely by going more left immediately off the P1 belay (just above the little overhang) somewhere thru or alongside a big flake system. My memory from last year is this seemed like nice climbing, but significantly harder than the chimney, and likely not so well protected.
By Kevin Heckeler
From: Upstate New York
Jul 22, 2013
rating: 5.3 3+ 10 III 9 VD 3a PG13

Ken, it is true people often climb the face just to the left of the chimney at the first belay. Quality/fun isn't as good, and absent is that sweet exposed feeling exit from the chimney.

I've also combined both pitches a few times now, and if you stay on the left above the chimney (notch/open book) it's almost a straight line to the belay at the base so rope drag is very much minimized.
From: NEPA
Nov 7, 2013

We did this in 3 pitches. P2 went up chimney on right and then right and up into a nice belay alcove with a stout tree. This reduced rope drag and allowed for better communication. Nice few moves leaving the alcove and climbing the face and arete to the top.
By kenr
Jun 3, 2014

Did a P2 variation which skips the fun unique first chimney of P2. Sharon liked it so much she asked to be lowered back in to climb it again. Seemed like 5.6- and protection seemed typical Gunks placing cams in horizontal cracks.

Left Direct Nose P2 variation:
From the P1 belay ledge, start about 15-20 feet left from the chimney corner, a bit left of the nose. Diagonal right (loose block as of 2014) onto the nose and straight up it (passing left of the notch with tree, which is on the more fun finish variation for the "normal" P2 after exiting the first chimney).

The difficulty in the first 10-15 feet for this variation is required, but above that the harder moves on the nose can be avoided by staying to the left, which includes a remarkable large flake.
By Dan Africk
From: Brooklyn, New York
Jun 15, 2015

Good beginner route- best one I've seen yet for someone's first lead.

The tree at the top of P1 is sketchy- it would be better with new webbing, but still sketchy. Better to build an anchor at the cozy ledge above it- it's an easy, bomber anchor with a couple pink and red tricams.

Rappelling from Betty is silly, and kinda rude- The uberfall walkoff is so close, you'll be down in no time, and keep the route clear for the next party.
By Gunkiemike
Mar 30, 2016

Update - the "direct variation" that kenr describes for P2 is likely to become more common now that top anchor bolts have been installed where this variation puts you. AFAIK topping out in the chimney i.e. the original 3rd pitch, puts you in a no man's land where your options are to walk off or do a short rap/downclimb past the barrier rope to get to the bolts. For this reason some might say the bolts were put in the wrong place, but since I prefer the direct P3, I'm OK with where they are. Maybe we can hear from some new 5.3 leaders about how they finished up there.
By Joel Ryan
From: New York, New York
Jul 27, 2016

DO NOT WALK OFF. Slope restoration in progress above Betty. Rappel, taking care not to toss ropes on parties below.

Bolts are in place to facilitate rappels, please use them.

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