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Honky Tonk Woman 

YDS: 5.9 French: 5c Ewbanks: 17 UIAA: VI ZA: 17 British: HVS 5a R

Type:  Trad, 1 pitch, 80'
Original:  YDS: 5.9 French: 5c Ewbanks: 17 UIAA: VI ZA: 17 British: HVS 5a R [details]
FA: Dick Williams, Dave Loeks, 1971.
Page Views: 2,040
Submitted By: John Peterson on Apr 14, 2007

You & This Route  |  Other Opinions (14)
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BETA PHOTO: Honky Tonk Woman meanders up this runout face.


This is an atypical Gunks route - rather than burly overhangs, it features delicate footwork on less-than-vertical rock. The protection rating is debatable since you can't really be sure of the tiny wires that protect the crux. I compensate by putting in lots of them.

The business starts after you clip the bolt -- climb a hard-to-protect groove to easier ground. Above, traverse left to a rap station atop White Pillar. A single rope gets you down.


Locate this by finding the obvious chimney of White Pillar; Honky Tonk Woman climbs the face to the right of the chimney. The bolt is about 20' up and serves as a way to definitively locate the route.


After clipping the bolt, the route takes mainly small wires. Bring a wide assortment and you'll probably get in enough gear to feel OK at the crux.

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Jun 27, 2009

I've led a reasonable number of 5.9s at the Gunks, and I'm usually a good face climber. This route had me desperate on TR! The holds are better-looking from below .... NB there's a fair amount of climbing (and an unfair amount of pro) before you get to the bolt.
By Dan Wachlaczenko
Mar 16, 2011

More head game than anything. I think you can use small pro before the bolt but nothing bomber, and from what I remember there is a little runout before you get to the huge horizontal at the top. Definitely TR first if your head isn't there.
By rogerbenton
Jun 7, 2015
rating: 5.9 5c 17 VI 17 HVS 5a R

Not so sure there is still gear between the bolt and the big #3 horizontal.

I was told of a small offset placement but the rock there appears to have been blown out. Looks like possible fresh rock scaring there. The small offset won't go and it's too shallow and flared there for wires.

There might be a marginal small wire placement one move before the bomber horizontal but by that point you are extremely run out with a small spinner bolt around 10-12 feet below your feet (ground fall potential). To me it made more sense to bust the move to the rail and get the sinker big cam.

Well, I busted the move and a small hold busted off in my left hand. I managed to hang on with my right and get the rail; the fall would have been a disaster.

- There is friable rock on this thing.
- There is not enough gear to protect the crux or the next couple moves
- There is serious fall potential between the bolt and the horizontal

Be careful leading this one.

Edit to add:
From the top of the white pillar block you can traverse out right over HTW to set directionals for TR.
By gblauer Blauer
From: Wayne, PA
May 23, 2017

I agree with Julie...this climb is difficult and I don't think I could ever lead it. Felt desperate to the bolt and a few moves after. It climbs very different from what it looks from the ground.

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