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YDS: 5.5 French: 4b Ewbanks: 13 UIAA: IV+ British: MS 4a

Type:  Trad, 3 pitches, 290'
Consensus:  YDS: 5.5 French: 4b Ewbanks: 13 UIAA: IV+ British: MS 4a [details]
FA: Willie Crowther, Gardiner and Mary Perry, 1958
Page Views: 3,461
Submitted By: John Peterson on Mar 13, 2006
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You & This Route  |  Other Opinions (54)
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Hawk (5.4). With smart placements and long runner...
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  • Description 

    Locate a clean crack system leading past a big pine to a smaller one about 50' right of Minty. This pitch is often used by guides to toprope beginners.

    P1: Climb the crack to the upper tree. 5.3, 80'.
    This pitch was highly impacted by massive rockfall in 2008. See comments below.

    P2: Climb up a short corner (about 10'-15'), place a LONG runner, and traverse right about 15' to another corner. Place pro and commit to a "old school" gunks 5.4 move stepping right around the corner. Things ease up about 20' later and you can continue right and up to the GT Ledge at the base of a large corner. 5.5, 140'.

    Not a pitch for a first 5.5 lead - the crux is very steep and even with the big jugs it's scary. Also, it's very easy to lock yourself down with rope drag on this pitch.

    P3: Up the corner to the top. 5.3, 70'.

    Descend either to the left (Minty) or the right (Madame G's). Or walk left to the Uberfall Descent. The Madame G's rap is better on weekends since it doesn't interfere with climbers coming up.


    Standard Gunks rack; small cams will make you feel better at the crux.

    Photos of Hawk Slideshow Add Photo
    2nd pitch
    2nd pitch
    Scars and smashed trees from the rock fall
    Scars and smashed trees from the rock fall
    Bob leading the second pitch of Hawk.  Bring the long runners for those corners.  Photo:Susan Wong
    Bob leading the second pitch of Hawk. Bring the l...
    soon after the rock fall...
    soon after the rock fall...
    Finishing the traverse...  2nd pitch
    Finishing the traverse... 2nd pitch
    start of traverse on pitch 2
    start of traverse on pitch 2
    Just after the crux
    Just after the crux
    Comments on Hawk Add Comment
    Show which comments
    Comments displayed oldest to newestSkip Ahead to the Most Recent Dated Aug 26, 2013
    By Bill Hutchins
    From: Bethesda, MD
    Oct 6, 2007
    rating: 5.4 4a 12 IV VD 3c

    The second pitch is spectacular. Lots of exposure and interesting moves, all at 5.4. Only in the Gunks. Use runners to limt rope drag. The runner on the protection just before the traverse around the first corner needs to be very long to keep the rope from being dragged across the corner.

    By Sambo
    Oct 8, 2007

    P2- Difficult route-finding; climbing is easy yet exhilirating. The runner around the first corner should, as mentioned above, be very long. There is some old webbing with a steel screwgate at this point- be judicious about using this of course. Highly recommended pitch.

    P3- Extremely short, but with (in my opinion) the most difficult rock climbing moves of the climb.

    Rappelling off Madame G's requires about about ten feet of easy down climbing (using a tree). Rap bolts are not noticeable from above, so get beta on this before leaving the ground.

    By asmith
    Oct 11, 2007

    Nice climb. Second pitch is often wet.

    By Tim Schafstall
    From: Newark, DE
    Apr 2, 2008

    The first pitch is always dry and is an excellent first climb for a new trad leader, especially if the upper pitches are wet and noboby else is doing the climb.

    By Jim Sweeney
    Jul 25, 2009

    The first pitch is now......sad, and not the same at all.

    Most trees are gone from near the base of the climb, and in the nearby talus, having been replaced by broken rock from the fall. The ledges are now covered with so much broken rock and sand that it could be considered dangerous, for the leader, the belayer, and anybody walking by. It will rain on your belayer.

    We went past the original first pitch ledge, to the next ledge up, where there's a small pine tree still intact. It's just big enough to rap off, which my partner and I did. The rap webbing was newly installed on July 11. A 60 meter rope makes it to the ground.

    By J Antin
    From: Denver, CO
    Aug 18, 2009
    rating: 5.4 4a 12 IV VD 3c

    Fun route - Just a "heads up"; I was there on Saturday and there were several instances of falling rock (more than usual) from the GTL.

    Have fun!

    By divnamite
    From: New York, NY
    Oct 11, 2009
    rating: 5.4 4a 12 IV VD 3c PG13

    Pitch 1 is not the same as before the rock fall. A lot of loose pebble and rocks on each of the ledges. Pros and moves are slightly more difficult. Not for a new 5.4 leader.
    Pitch 2, the route finding is easy if you remember to stay below the pins. Just keep traverse right and follow the natural line.

    By Climb-On
    Nov 7, 2009
    rating: 5.4 4a 12 IV VD 3c

    Jim S is correct that the first pitch is very different now, but note that the loose material is on easy, flat ledges - this doesn't affect any of the class 5 moves. Pitches 2 & 3 are unchanged and not littered by debris. Don't hesitate to do this wild and fun climb if you are up for it!

    By -sp
    From: East-Coast
    Oct 15, 2010

    Climbed it last weekend (10-10-10). The first pitch is getting cleaner but it is by no means ready for un-helmeted belayers. Fortunately the second and third pitches are unaffected and both offer great climbing.

    BTW, the third pitch dihedral is almost as long as the first pitch, and leads you to the top of the cliff. It's great climbing and great gear exactly when you need it. Don't pass it up for the ugly crawl to the rap station!

    By worth russell
    From: Brooklyn, NY
    Nov 14, 2010
    rating: 5.6 4c 14 V S 4b

    pitch 1 is dangerous. Loose rock poses a threat for both belayer and traffic. Pitch 2 may be a 5.5 but it has major exposure and is often wet.

    By TarikaM
    From: New York, NY
    Oct 18, 2011

    I swear by my Climbers Guide to the Gunks, but this is not a 5.4!! Pay attention to feedback from MP, despite what the book has it rated, this is not the best climb for any of your first few leads. It is a really amazing climb, unbelievable exposure, but I'd say it's a 5.5+ at least.

    If I remember correctly there are a couple times where you kind of have to step across the void to head right across a corner that make for great exposure. There is good pro all along, but the way it traverses does make for a lot of rope drag. Recommend using long runners as well as revolvers if you have any on your rack.

    By kenr
    Jun 12, 2012

    There's still plenty of loose rock on P1, though I couldn't say for sure that it's more loose rock than some other ledges in the Gunks, e.g. Easy O / Baby. I would not belay or stand around the bottom with climbers above, without my helmet on my head.

    The obvious tree around the top of P1 is getting a bit old.

    Difficulty: Some guidebooks rate both P2 & P3 as 5.4. It seemed to both my partner and me that P3 would then be one of the easiest 5.4s in the Gunks. My memory is that P2 was mostly like other Gunks 5.4 pitches, provided you could handle the exposure. Much of P2 had big-enough + positive hand-holds, and a couple of sections of somewhat balancey traversing with little hands but pretty reasonable feet, except ... I remember one short sequence in P2 where it was pretty tricky (tho well-protected) to move up to reach the next positive hand-hold. So if I call that move 5.4+, then add a little for the overall exposure, gets the difficulty to 5.5.

    By Jon Booth
    Jul 24, 2013
    rating: 5.5 4b 13 IV+ MS 4a

    No rap stations on P1 or P2. After P3, walk right to Madame G's rappel, can go all the way to the ground with 60m doubles.

    By Logan Schiff
    From: NY, NY
    Aug 26, 2013
    rating: 5.5 4b 13 IV+ MS 4a

    Climbed this for the first time Saturday. Accidentally started the second pitch about 20 feet to the left of what I think was the short corner where you are supposed to start. I climbed up about 15 feet and then made a long traverse with almost no pro. Small feet and small but passable hands. Had one move that felt about 5.5/5.6 before getting to Hawk proper and definitely would have resulted in a ledge fall. Had there been pro it would have improved an already awesome pitch. DO NOT FOLLOW MY CHALK MARKS if you are not up for some 5.5/6 R climbing.

    I used a lot of long runners and was able to link up pitches 2 and 3 without too bad drag even with the "alternative" longer start. Pitch 3 is very mellow with one fun well protected 5.4 move. It was easy to scramble down a little ways to the Madame G's rappel.