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Routes in Bonas Defeat

A Licheny Trick (original name unkown) T 5.7 5a 15 V+ 13 MVS 4b
Straight Through the Heart T 5.8 5b 16 VI- 15 HVS 4c
Elevation: 3,400 ft
GPS: 35.212, -83.01 Google Map · Climbing Area Map
Page Views: 2,626 total · 140/month
Shared By: McLovin on Sep 4, 2016 with updates
Admins: Ryan Williams, Aaron Parlier, Steve Lineberry
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Are you ready to get super lost? Are you a strong hiker and bushwhacker? are you good at map finding? Do you love super manky bolts with old school steel crabs that are almost rusted through? if yes to all of these then Bona's wall is for you.

Bona's Defeat wall is not easily found though it is beautiful once there.

Also keep in mind that the Tuckasegee river gorge is damn controlled and water levels could rise rapidly at a moments notice. The kayakers refer to it as "inordinately dangerous"

Owned by the NC forest service, The Bonas defeat wall itself is approximately 400ft tall boasting a 3 pitch mixed climb up the main blackened water groove.

Word on the street is, everything here has most likely been climbed once upon a time. However documentation seems to be lacking? It is also possible that I have not yet done enough research. who knows? prove me wrong add something to the page!

Getting There

From highway 64 near lake toxaway take the turn onto 281 North. after about 8.5miles take a left onto rock bridge rd. after about 2.8 miles is the trail head, there is currently logging (9.4.2016) going on just after the trail head. The logging has also lead to a large amount of debris covering an already very faint trail head. There is a tree with blue flagging and orange paint currently(they are using that a lot with the logging and it does not seem to mark any trail DO NOT try to follow the tape or paint)
This is my best guess for the lat/lon of the trail head using google earth:
83° 1'7.17"W
There is not any easy way to describe the trails or rather lack there of. The general idea is that from rock bridge rd. you will take several turns and wander down towards doe branch creek, you will find yourself on an ancient overgrown forest rd. There are numerous forest roads through this area. The correct forest road will follow doe branch and slowly rise above it so the small creek is on your right in something of a valley. Eventually you will need to break left and run somewhat parallel to the Tuckasegee river. Then take a sharp right off the forest road bed and go straight down through steep terrain, you will be dumped out into the river bed. Scramble down stream a few hundred feet to the base of the wall. There are quite a few spur trails and abandoned forest road beds there are likely multiple ways to get there.
Hiking through the gorge itself is extremely dangerous due to dam releases, this is NOT a good place to play in the river.

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Classic Climbing Routes at Bonas Defeat

Mountain Project's determination of the classic, most popular, highest rated climbing routes in this area.
5.8 5b 16 VI- 15 HVS 4c
Straight Through the Heart
Trad 3 pitches
Route Name Location Star Rating Difficulty Date
Straight Through the Heart
5.8 5b 16 VI- 15 HVS 4c Trad 3 pitches
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Scott Phil   NC
Thanks for adding these routes. It is rumored that they were first climbed in the 1980s.

Can't help with the names of the routes, but the cliff face is "Bonas Defeat" (with no apostrophe). It was named after a local hunting dog who had a boney ass. He did meet his demise chasing a deer over the cliff. Apparently his owner taught him to do this to save on ammunition. But there was that one time that Bonas got too close to catching the deer and they both fell. Sep 5, 2016
Thanks for the input, I will keep the updates going as they roll in.

Thanks for shedding light on the real story behind Bonas defeat.

I would guess Blackened Streak has the original bolts from the 80's
The other route has nice stainless.

Next time I am out there, I'm gonna bring the machete and make a realistic trail. Sep 5, 2016
Jeff Mekolites   ATL GA
I don't know if you would want to call these "sport" routes. Yes they have bolts, but they are not your typical sport routes. They are very traditional in character. Bolts used where protection is not available. Plus if you need a handful of cams - again probably not a sport route. Sep 6, 2016
only blackened groove was listed as sport and I made mention of carrying a light rack, regardless, the bolts need replacing and are worth backing up. Sep 6, 2016
Jeff Mekolites   ATL GA
Yeah...still missing the point. These, as a number of bolted slab routes, are not sport routes and the information on the route and main page lists "blackened groove" or whatever your re-callling it as a sport route. Just because it has bolts doesn't make it a sport route. Sep 6, 2016
updated to trad/mixed route.

I would be more than happy to update it with the correct name please pass that info along. I have no desire to rename others routes but I also don't have that info available to me.

Scott Phil, I hope it is ok I copied your text on how the wall got it's name. Sep 6, 2016
Scott Phil   NC
You're welcome, McLovin. I've hiked through the gorge many times over the years, but have not yet climbed any of the routes on Bonas Defeat.

If the river ever begins to rise while you are in the gorge, get to high ground ASAP. No matter which side of the river you are on you will probably have a heinous bushwhack ahead of you. Sep 11, 2016
it's all together possible that bob rotert or peter young visited bonas defeat in the 70's while they were in school at western. whit heuerman and monty reagan did a route they thought was the first ascent of the cliff in the mid 80's. the picture of the petzle self drives and steel biners look alot more like doc baynes work than monty or whit. i don't recall either of them using self drives. buddy price might be able to clarify since he would have been doc's likely partner.
walking the river has been a common adventure hike for at least a decade. Nov 30, 2016
Monte Reagan and I did that route in 79 or 80. At the time there were no bolts on it and we did not place any bolts ourselves. To my knowledge neither Peter or Bobby had climbed it as we all climbed together during that time. We shared info on new routes and I don't remember them mentioning it. The first belay was with nuts and the belay for the last pitch was an unanchored stance on a large moss pad with water running down from the pitch above and under it. We simu-climbed the last pitch to finish the route as we ran out of rope. Thinking it was a first accent we named it "Straight through the Heart." Jan 31, 2017
Rick Carpenter
Marion, NC
Rick Carpenter   Marion, NC
The route climbing area is pretty easy to find and the bouldering potential is almost limitless. The lines down here are fantastic and contain some of the best roof climbing in the state. There are plenty of moderate to hard lines established (with plenty of hard projects) which may be posted at some point. Pretty rad location. May 28, 2017

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