ApproachFrom the bottom of the Standard South Face Rappel Route turn right ( east) and walk along the South Face Ramp until you are beneath the Old Stake Ladder. Climb/ scramble up a left facing gulley to the base of Bon Homme. Belay from the highest ledge, above the dead tree. The Approach Pitch, from where you climb upwards off of the South Face Ramp, to the start of the climb, is a long one. The scramble can be treacherous. At Least One very long fall, with severe consequences, has been recorded here. Please, do no hesitate to rope up to get to the start of the route, especially if you are carrying a pack. If you slip, you could about end up back down on the Tower Trail. "...and all the King's horses and all the King's men, couldn't........"
Route DescriptionThis is one of the two Classic 5.8 Routes on the Tower. It was first done by the Legendary and Visionary, Dennis Horning, in 1972 . The traverse and subsequent variation on Bon Homme was inspired by Dennis' curiosity, not his inability to climb the wide crack ,above!!
Pitch 1. (155 ft, 5.8) Climb the initial offwidth section about 35 ft.,past a chockstone, to a horizontal crack across the column face that is just below small roofs and above a small bush in the crack to the left. This section can be well protected with a #4 Camalot and by tying off the chockstone. The technical crux of the pitch is traversing across the horizontal crack to the next vertical crack on the left. Several small stoppers (#3-#5) provide excellent protection. Climb the long left crack to a stunning belay ledge with bolt anchors. This section is all hands and simply eats pieces that size....it CAN be very well protected.
Pitch 2. (100 ft, 5.7) Climb up the left crack, to a column top to the left, and then on , past a bush , to the Meadows and belay at bolts. Although this pitch is much easier than the 1st, it is wide and rambley and protection can be difficult to obtain. Take care and place protection wherever you can.*** A very interesting and high quality variation of this 2nd pitch is to take the obvious right hand crack off of the belay ledge. It features very continuous, yet secure hand jams and takes you to the same belay bolts as the left hand crack. The first 10 ft are the crux. One guidebook rates it as 5.7. I would suggest that 5.8 is a more accurate description of the difficulties.....
Finish. Take the Standard 3rd Class Meadows Thrash to the summit or rappel the route.
Essential GearThe initial off width section of the 1st pitch is made more enjoyable with the protection of a #4 Friend or Camalot. The traverse is excellently protected with small wired stoppers. The ensuing hand crack will take all of the hand sized pieces that you can carry ( Friends #1.5-2.5). It is a long pitch so don't short yourself on the pro.