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A Woman's Work is Never Done

5.10c, Trad, 50 ft (15 m),  Avg: 2.4 from 65 votes
FA: Maria Cranor, 1980
California > Joshua Tree NP > Hidden Valley Area > Outback > Labor Dome


This route starts on the west face of Labor Dome, just left of center. The route climbs a short left-facing crack/corner to reach a small roof, where it traverses right (still easy) to reach a thinning crack that climbs upward and curves slightly right at the top. Climb that crack, placing gear while you can. Put your small pieces up as high and as possible and then crank the crux sequence (a tiny cam might be as high as your waist). It's good to have a few pieces, since small cams are known to pull from desert granite. Finish on the easier slab and belay in a rounded ledge below the roof.

To descend, walk/scramble to climber's right (south) as described in the "rock" page.


A set of nuts and cams from hand-sized to as small as possible (the smaller they are, the closer they will be when you pull the crux.)

Photos [Hide ALL Photos]

Theresa Rutherford on A Woman's Work is Never Done (5.10c), Joshua Tree NP<br>
Photo by Jim Erb
[Hide Photo] Theresa Rutherford on A Woman's Work is Never Done (5.10c), Joshua Tree NP Photo by Jim Erb
Kris Solem climbing the route, 11-30-08. Photo by Michael Ybarra.
[Hide Photo] Kris Solem climbing the route, 11-30-08. Photo by Michael Ybarra.
"A Woman's Work Is Never Done".<br>
Photo by Blitzo.
[Hide Photo] "A Woman's Work Is Never Done". Photo by Blitzo.
A Woman's Work is Never Done
[Hide Photo] A Woman's Work is Never Done

Comments [Hide ALL Comments]

[Hide Comment] I do not recall a roof nor a left facing crack. The crack is right facing. Then the crack ends and you have a left facing edge to work with. I used a #1 Metolious cam and went for the crux. You have to shift your weight from lybacking right to lybacking left as you smear your feet on the not-so-featured-wall. After the crux, there is no pro until you get to a ledge but the climbing is easy. Faces west so it gets plenty of sun.

Great quality, radical J Tree funk moves.

A bit soft for J Tree but reasonable Sep 22, 2003
C Miller
[Hide Comment] This short but fun route offers some cool moves on nice rock with a balancy and somewhat improbable crux. Two stars out of five (more stars if the route was longer). Dec 10, 2003
Josh Beck
[Hide Comment] I thought this was a very nice, unique route played out on pretty good quality rock. 3 stars of 5 and very recommendable... Nov 5, 2004
Lassitude 33
[Hide Comment] Just did this again last weekend (last time was in 1980). Would be 4 or 5 star route is it were 5 or 6 times longer, but it isn't. So only 2 of 5. The rock is simply superb, perfect crack, just very short with only a 8 foot section of hard climbing. Nov 6, 2004
Karen Bohl
[Hide Comment] I agree with Randy that if the climb was longer it would be worthy of more stars. I would also rate this a 10a, the crux move was short and not worthy of a "C". Excellant rock, great protection, just wish it had been a longer climb! Jan 24, 2005
susan peplow
Joshua Tree
[Hide Comment] 10a? Are you guys nuts? The route starts out with easy .8 type climbing using featured rock and hand crack. Then the business starts as the hand crack chokes down and is very small. Too small for my ladies hands! I did not lead this route so I worked on the sequence at the crux 3 different ways. Straight in, straight in to layback and layback only. The crux section is difficult to piece together and would certainly have you on your toes with the small pro you have to place up high from your last good stance.

It only takes one 10c move to secure the grade. You want to downgrade something....go across the way and try the Bruiser. Now that route should be rated 10a.

I worked the route as if I would lead it sometime in the future. What did I discover? I'm better off as the second.

~Susan Feb 18, 2007
Russ Walling
Redacted Sucks!!
[Hide Comment] Great line.... good rock.... nearly impossible! I found this 3 move wonder to be pretty insecure and hard for the grade.... 10A???? More like 11a for me. I would say the actual little crux is harder than comparable cruxes on Clean and Jerk, The Bruiser, Illusion Dweller, Quantum Jump, and many more. Survey says, sandbag. Set an anchor at the top in a horizontal with cams from 1.5" to 3". Downclimb off to the south. Feb 18, 2007
Kristian Solem
Monrovia, CA
[Hide Comment] I'm with Sue and Russ on the grade. No way 10a. I did this thing about 20 years ago and was surprised by how tricky and balancy it was. Went back and did it again yesterday right after doing Decompensator of Lhasa which was easier. No falls but a couple of dicey moments. I'll vote 3 out of 5 even though it is short, just because it is cool. I mean, some folks are sayin' Heart Of Darkness is a top 5 JT route, and it is also short, and for my hand size much easier and less interesting than A Womans Work... Dec 1, 2008
Ryan Kelly
[Hide Comment] Kris, I just can't comprehend how you could compare this to Decompensator of Lhasa. Short, near-perfect finger crack with one layback move onto an easy face vs. extended head-down ass-out climbing on friction and nearly non-existent hold remnants. Feb 2, 2009
Chris M
Hailey, ID
[Hide Comment] A somewhat nebulis crux after an all too short splitter. That one difficult move sometimes feels much harder than 10C to me... Oct 14, 2009
[Hide Comment] Crux was moving from the crack to the face. The sequence was NOT obvious and a bit committing due to the polished right-footing. I fell on my onsight attempt and spent 10 minutes trying to figure out what to do, then I realized that moving out on to the face was the way to go.

Seems spicy to me for .10c.

Overall, a fun and challenging route that calls for a variety of techniques. Nov 30, 2009
Richard Shore
[Hide Comment] Splitter Crack! Ever-thinning too. When it gets too small for tips, you're at the crux. Fell off the crux move on the OS attempt. Tricky, polished layback off the crack onto thin face. Had a bomber #1 mastercam for crux pro. I agree that it is harder than the crux moves on other 10c's I've done in JTree. I vote 10+/11- Dec 7, 2010
Andy Laakmann
Bend, OR
[Hide Comment] Short, but quality. I thought 10c was fair for the crux, especially since it was all of 2-3 moves. Excellent gear - my last piece was a blue mastercam. Jan 30, 2013
Tia Stark
Los Angeles, CA
[Hide Comment] I definitely wish the crack was about 50 feet longer. Great hand jams and finger locks, though! Jan 27, 2015
Benjamin Chapman
Small Town, USA
[Hide Comment] Too short?? Only 8 ft of hard climbing. If it were only longer it would get more stars? It got your attention though didn't it! 4 stars out of 5 just for the one hard move that thwarted so many onsights. Got the OS in 1987 and again 25 years later. Maybe the latter was a "grey point." Feb 2, 2016
[Hide Comment] If only it was longer.... Excellent rock quality and awesome crack climbing lead to a sweet and funky boulder problem and then your done. Agree with the consensus that it felt hard for the grade. Dec 10, 2018
Matt Hagny
[Hide Comment] Got back on this today, and found that I've lost whatever magic is required to pull the crux. I think it's a very stout 10c, especially if you have big fingers. Feb 26, 2019
[Hide Comment] Got back on this thing to redpoint and take back my comment, felt easy for the grade. I think .10b is more appropriate once you have the beta figured out. May 28, 2019