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Monitor and Merrimac Buttes
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Monitor Butte, The Plunge 

YDS: 5.7 French: 5a Ewbanks: 15 UIAA: V+ ZA: 13 British: MVS 4b A2

   
Type:  Trad, Aid, 3 pitches, 175', Grade II
Consensus:  YDS: 5.12a French: 7a+ Ewbanks: 25 UIAA: VIII+ ZA: 25 British: E5 6a C0-1 [details]
FA: Ron Olevsky, Dave Mondeau, May 1986
Page Views: 1,589
Submitted By: toddgordon on May 26, 2007

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The Plunge

Description 

This is a cool climb, in a beautiful place. This is also a 5.12 free climb ( The late Earl Wiggins, Katy Cassidy, Peter Gallagher, Feb., 1988.) This climb follows a singular crack system to the top; an obvious right facing crack system. The first pitch is fingers (aid for us) ,and the 2nd pitch is O Wth (5.11...aid for us). I don't think there is a very good stance between pitches....maybe a hanging belay? The wide section is quite long.


Location 

Out by the airport, drive on the 4WD dirt road past Echo Tower (seen from the road,...up to Monitor Butte (It's the one on the left.)


Protection 

3 sets cams, extra 1 1/2 amd 2 cams. 2 sets of TCU's. Lots of extra big cams.



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Comments displayed oldest to newestSkip Ahead to the Most Recent Dated Feb 15, 2010
By toddgordon
From: Joshua Tree, California
May 26, 2007

This climb is the one on the cover of Wiggin's Canyon County Climbs. The top is cool;...there are these big circular holes that must fill up with water;....there was dirt in them and grass growing in them when we did the climb in spring of 1992. I did this climb with Dave Evans, Cyndie Bransford, Jim Angione, Margy Floyd, and John Barbie. This area is beautiful, but is fairly close to town, and sees alot of jeep, mountain bike, and motorcycle traffic. It is a delicate area that seems to be getting "loved" too much.

By Brad Brandewie
Feb 18, 2008

Here is an example of the "love" that Jeep Week brings to Tusher Canyon.

By Sam Lightner, Jr.
From: Lander, WY
Feb 19, 2008

Silly Boy Brad... Those aren't Jeep Tracks, they are Sand Circles, the desert equivelant to Iowa Crop Circles.

By Ben Folsom
Feb 19, 2008

Pretty Lame!

By Stevie Nacho
From: Utah
Feb 21, 2008

I had an strong hatred for Southern Utah Wilderness Alliance, till I started seeing stuff like this. I now support SUWA. Completely unacceptable.

SN

By Sam Lightner, Jr.
From: Lander, WY
Feb 21, 2008

Steve... dont throw out the baby with the bath water. The SUWA would just as soon get rid of us as they would the clowns ho made that mess. This probelm is being addressed by the BLM with their new Recreation Management Plan.

By Steve "Crusher" Bartlett
Feb 22, 2008

Hey Sam, I'm puzzled by your comment. As I understand it, SUWA exists to try to push for a large area of designated wilderness in SE Utah, the Redrock Wilderness, which is stalled in Congress and Senate, and has been for years.

In the meantime, their big thing is motorized travel in remote, ie wilderness-style areas. If ATVs drive in pristine areas, slated for inclusion in the Redrock Wilderness, these pristine areas are no longer pristine, and may not longer eligible as wilderness.

SUWA are, I understand, supportive of human-powered recreation.

Do you know something I don't?

By Sam Lightner, Jr.
From: Lander, WY
Feb 22, 2008

You are probably right and my comment is probably wrong. I thought they were also opposed to fixed anchors... which I am for. I'm gonna look it up.
I'm back
Well, what I found was that SUWA doens't come out and say anything about climbing speicifically, but they do seem to take a view of wilderness being somethign you look at and don't touch. I foudn a number of instances where they grouped us all together like this:
" Drill rigs, bulldozers, off-road vehicles (ORVs) and even hikers are pushing ever further, and in ever greater numbers, into the wilderness."
I'm gonna guess that if they don't like hikers being in the wilderness, they probably are not going to be big advocates of fixed anchors.

I'm not a big ORV supporter, but I do think we climbers live in a bit of a glass house. I told a story somehwere on here last year about when I was soloing Aeolian Tower and listening to a group of 4 wheelers below debate how I was gonna get down. One said "He must leave something behind",a nd the others were completely dismissive. "No the government would never let those guys just leave stuff up there."

By Ben Folsom
Feb 22, 2008

What is SUWA's stance on power drilling? Also, it seems like they seem to block off lots of good campsites, which makes people pull off and create new campsites of their own...
I know some people are against using power drills in the desert, but I'd much rather have a bomber bolt on the first hole then have many other shitty bolts added later around a poorly drilled, baggy, hand drilled bolt (which probably took 25 minutes of noise to drill the hole as opposed to 10 seconds.) I don't think SUWA considers climbers as self propelled recreation. They don't seem to help us out any.

By Sam Lightner, Jr.
From: Lander, WY
Feb 22, 2008

A big "NO" to electric drills.

By Scott Braden
Feb 22, 2008

SUWA and other UT wilderness advocates are not anti-recreation nor do we believe that you should only look at wild lands. The 1964 Wilderness Act created the intention to preserve wild places for "the enjoyment" of humans for generations to come.

The Monitor Butte area has been hit hard with nearly unregulated ORV abuse. This is SUWA's fight, getting the agencies, specifically the BLM, to manage these resources in a way that balances other recreational users (like climbers) and to preserve the outstanding natural values. SUWA is not anti-climber, or even anti-ORV. We just fight to preserve the natural values and get some areas protected as wilderness -- which is open to climbing. The Wilderness Act is silent on climbing, bolt ethic, etc.

As to electric drills, that is a matter of respecting the natural context of where you are. Wall Street near Moab might be totally appropriate for bolting and electric drills. But as evidenced by the fights in canyoneering circles, other places like some slot canyons might be inappropriate for bolts or drills. It's a matter of climbing and canyoneering communities developing best practices that respect the context of the place and that do not diminish the naturalness of those places.

By Steve "Crusher" Bartlett
Feb 23, 2008

Ben, I disagree about camping. Maybe campers will, in the short run, push into new campsites, but in the long run this will change. With a decade or more of BLM work closing off wild campsites, the River Road out of Moab is looking really good. Fifteen years ago it was a real ugly mess. And this despite far more people visiting now.

By Ben Folsom
Feb 24, 2008

Yeah, I know how the River Road looked 15 years ago, as I was spending a lot of time in the Fishers at that time. But I have to disagree with you, at least when it comes to less crowded areas than around Moab. I can't even go anywhere around Moab anymore because it has become such a mess of people (mostly thanks to Mtn biking and 4wheeling). What about along the Reef of the Swell. There are only two legal places to camp there because others have been closed off. What about the times when there are more than two groups that want to camp in that area?? There used to be some other good campsites around but they are closed off, and now people pull off the road wherever to camp, with new places getting beat out now because of these closures.
What about Buckhorn Wash area where there are perfectly good campsites that have been closed off, forcing people to go farther and farther and pull off the road wherever to find a place to camp.
Also, River Road may be looking better even though there are many more people around Moab these days, but where are all those people camping? It only means that other places are getting more beat up.

By Steve "Crusher" Bartlett
Feb 26, 2008

Yes, all good questions Ben.

I seem to recall last time I was camping near the Reef, with a plan to climb one of Ross's routes, we ran into the same problem. Pretty much all the camping spots had been closed off. I think we camped on the road itself, trying to leave just enough room for a vehicle to get by, and got up early. Pretty stupid.

Maybe the BLM were trying to forestall the possibility of the offroad crowd discovering this still quiet area and forcing new roads all over. Though so far the ATV crowd seem to stay close to Moab. They are a lazy bunch.

Inconvenience to climbers is perhaps collateral damage here.

I have no idea how best to control, or not, each area you mention. With no control, they end up like the picture above, or River Road before the BLM did anything. With control, they can end up being something other than pristine desert, and more like Arches, highly regulated busy, expensive and pretty uninviting.

Each area needs a different approach. Land managers will be working out the optimal ways to manage/leave alone each area for decades to come. Working through the Access Fund and the BLM we can have some small influence, but it is really slow.

Climbers' big enemy, as I see it, is the ATV/Jeep crowd. They are, at worst, so destructive and hard to control that they bring out the worst in the land managers' instincts, and we all of us climbers, however low-impact and low-profile, suffer. But I'm kind of a curmudgeon, I don't like the bikers either.

Good question about where all the River Road campers have gone. I suspect that many of them camp at Sand Flats (have you visited this place recently, this is a huge camping area), some at Big Bend, Hittle Bottom, Kane Creek camping, or even use the motels that have sprung up all over Moab.

By Ben Folsom
Feb 26, 2008

I totally agree... I guess the main thing I am getting at, is that if there is a short little spur road to a good campsite, why not keep that as a campsite instead of blocking it off? This only forces people to make new tracks elsewhere and beat out a section of otherwise pristine desert. The whole blocking off already established roads and trails it what confuses me. I'm not talking about 4wheeler and jeep tracks that go all over the place just to be ignorant rednecks, but regularly traveled little spur roads that lead to a good campsite. I agree that it is the ATV/Jeep crowd that are our biggest enemies. (I don't like bikers either, but it is mainly because they all dress like they are Lance Armstrong himself, and they shave their legs).
The last time I went to the Sand Flats was in high school, I think around spring break and I swore I would never go there again.
I really hope we don't all get regulated so much that we have to sleep in hotels... I am poor and haven't slept in a hotel or motel since I was 14 years old on a trip with my parents. There is no way I could afford it, the same goes for pay camping.

By Eric Odenthal
Nov 15, 2008

great line... bring everything from small black alien to #6 Camelot. We ended up aiding/ freeing some of the route. 4 #4 camelots would be good to free the second pitch.... i walked three through this section. the summit is amazing. potholes you could fit trucks into. i recommend this route. the crux over the roof is burly, blue alien pin scars. you can rap from the top anchor to the ground with 2 60m ropes. bring cord as usual... this is the desert.

By charley graham
Nov 5, 2009

Another interesting aspect of the unique summit is that the grassy potholes noted on the first ascent now include a tamarisk. Those seeds are pretty tenacious.

By Rob Dillon
Nov 5, 2009

Did you pull it, or what?

By Paul Irby
From: moab, ut
Feb 15, 2010
rating: 5.12- 7a+ 25 VIII+ 25 E5 6a C0-1

i was thinking back about this route. so good. one of the best summits in the desert.