Type: Trad, 300 ft, 3 pitches, Grade II
FA: Dennis Horning, Howard Hauck '72
Page Views: 23,882 total · 117/month
Shared By: Peter Gram on Jul 25, 2002
Admins: Peter Gram, Mike Snyder, Jake Dickerson, Taylor Spiegelberg

You & This Route

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Access Issue: June Voluntary Climbing Closure and Seasonal Raptor Closure Details


Bon Homme Variation is a separate and unique climb from Bon Homme. It shares only the start. Follow the ramp to the area of the old ladder. Bon Homme is about four cracks to the left of the ladder.

Pitch 1: Climb the start of the wide Bon Homme crack. Climb past a chockstone, and then look for a traverse to the left. Face climb across the column when obvious, and get into the next crack over. Then follow this crack system (double cracks) up to a huge ledge. When I did this, I climbed this first pitch as two separate pitches. I belayed somewhere after the traverse.

Pitch 2: Climb an easier crack (5.5) to the meadows. This requires most of a rope-length. This is the left of the two available cracks on this ledge.


Standard Rack


This climb was my first at the tower, and was hugely satisfying. The "blind" traverse around the arete into the crack was spectacular and not an easy give away...just find the key foothold, or make the route 5.10 - like my second. After 'round the well-protected corner crux, the route felt almost 5.8 with your choice of gear and some rests. It's a pretty long pitch which I recall having mostly wide finger- to hand-size gear, requiring a little conservation. On the wide section at the bottom, a #4.5 camalot would've been calming. I placed and slid up my #4 that ended up nearly tipped out. Didn't see too many other obvious options, and it stays wide and balancey for a while. I knew this was going to be a good weekend after this climb! I told the tourists at the bottom I was a real-live mountain climber now! May 29, 2003
John Gunnels
Gillette, WY
John Gunnels   Gillette, WY
Another route that should be done more often... GREAT MOVES!!! Apr 8, 2006
Frank Sanders
Devils Tower, WY
  5.8 PG13
Frank Sanders   Devils Tower, WY
  5.8 PG13
Surely one of the CLASSIC 5.8's on this Tower!!!

I highly endorse doing the 2nd pitch in the Right Hand Crack. It might be a bit harder than the Left Hand Alternative, but it is all solid rock, straight forward and very protectable.

The Left Alternative might be technically easier, but it is awkward, with some loose rock and the protection leaves something to be desired in numerous spots.

USER BEWARE on the left hand crack. Nov 15, 2007
denise 911
fort collins, co
denise 911   fort collins, co
1st pitch - rack your gear on your left side.
Very fun climb. I took the left crack on the 2nd pitch - while much easier than the first pitch with better rests - I would say it is still above a 5.5 (have seen it rated as 5.7 in a couple places - I would say maybe 5.6/light 5.7?). Found good placements with mostly larger gear on this pitch.
(will have to try the right crack next time - will definitely climb this route again) Jul 14, 2009
Nate Flink
Minneapolis, MN
Nate Flink   Minneapolis, MN
We were able to rappel from the top of Bon Homme Variation route with a single 70 meter rope in 3 rappels using the bomber bolted anchors. It was really nice not having to trail a separate 60 m rope.

Knot your ends. Oct 21, 2012
Steve Pulver
Williston, ND
Steve Pulver   Williston, ND
I had to back off this route, since the route description says standard rack and I didn't realize that means Camalots bigger than a #3. May 1, 2016
i also recommend sticking to the right crack on the second pitch. it is very easy to protect, perfect hands (minus one small, easy, off-width section). Id say it goes at 5.7+ Jul 18, 2017
Brad Schildt
Boulder, CO
Brad Schildt   Boulder, CO
Aside from the 10" wide section on the first pitch, this climb is all hands-width for 300 feet. A 4.5 or 5 Camalot would have been nice. On the first pitch, the traverse left should be done at the horizontal crack and is easily protected with a stopper and .75 Camalot. If like me, you used up all of your # 1-3 Camalots, there is a 2-bolt hanging belay 20' above the traverse, which allows you to recover gear for the next 70' of the first pitch. An alternative to taking the left or right crack at the top of the complete first pitch: I started on the left crack until it got wide, used a large flake to traverse right, and finished up the excellent right crack. The right crack gets easier as you get higher. This route is so much more enjoyable than El Cracko Diablo. Oct 2, 2017