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This awesome all-free route has been described as the "Astroman of Zion." It does share a number of similarities with Astroman, including hard climbing, spectacular position, good exposure, as well as a couple funky pitches guarding the top.
However, the climb is not nearly as committing as Astroman (it can be rapped from any point on the route), has a 5 minute approach, and you don't have to descend the North Dome Gully at the end of the day.
Think of it more as six solid Indian Creek pitches stacked on top of one another, followed by two weird desert-adventure pitches at the top.
Don't be scared by the 5.12 rating: the crux is short and easily aided making this an excellent climb at the 5.11 A0 grade.
P1 Climb the easy but runout slab up and left to a belay at the base of the Pillar of Faith. Watch out for wet spots.
P2 (5.10+/11-) The real climbing starts here at the Pillar of Faith. Despite what many guides say, starting the pillar on the right side is 5.11R. Climb the pillar starting from the left and working back to the right.
P3 (5.12) The crux Black Corner pitch. Desperate tips lie-backing (or french-freeing) leads to a moderate chimney which is followed to a belay. The meat of the climbing is the first 15 feet of the pitch before reaching a good stem rest. Easily aided and fun to TR.
P4 (5.11) If you're climbing the route at 5.11 A0, then this would be the crux free pitch. Fun stemming leads to a rest before a difficult roof. The pitch goes for a long ways after the roof so long slings are key here to reduce rope drag. Pull the roof and continue up via sustained fingers in a corner with occasional feet to a very badly located anchor.
P5 (5.10) A fairly short pitch. Lieback and handjam up the corner to a belay in an alcove below a slot.
P6 Two options here:
The standard route climbs the OW and face above at 5.10 (#4.5 Camalot is nice for up high on the pitch).
If you're feeling particularly chipper at this point, you can traverse left to the Monkeyfinger Crack which goes at 5.12-.
Either option leads to a spacious belay in the Monkey House.
P7 (5.10+) Nice liebacking and jamming in the chalked corner above leads to a belay. A fairly short pitch.
P8 (5.10+) This is where things get weird. Climb up and right to a sandy slab which is protected by some drilled pins and bad bolts. Continue upward over interesting rock to a huge ledge and belay.
P9 (5.10+) Even weirder, but just like Astroman, you haven't climbed Monkeyfinger unless you've done the last pitch.
Enter the sandbox/chimney to the right of the belay. After finding a suitable location to empty the sand out of your shoes, clip a couple of bad bolts and undercling right out under a series of roofs and continue up to the rim. Once on the rim fight up through ropedrag, sand, and manzanita to a flat area where you can sling a couple of branches and belay.
- Triple set of cams up to #2 Camalot
- One each of #3.5, #4, and #4.5 Camalots
- Two 60m ropes will get you down in 5 raps
Park at (or take the shuttle to) the Temple of Sinawava area at the end of the canyon road. Walk 100 yards back down the road to the route which follows the striking, varnished dihedral system on the SW-facing wall. A trail leads up to an often-wet slab at the base.
From the tree at the rim, 5 double-rope (60m) raps got us to the base.
Go soak your hands under the cold water in the sink of the Temple of Sinawava bathrooms.
Steve attempting to TR pitch 3
Demonstrating good rope management on P2
Following the upper corner of P4
BETA PHOTO: Looking up at the "Monkeyhouse". The offwidth pit...
Second to last pitch. Timmy Tormey took photo.
The "Better Bivy" on top of pitch 7, during the 2n...
Second pitch, The Pillar of Faith, on Monkeyfinger...
Fifth pitch of Monkeyfinger
Eighth pitch of Monkeyfinger
Fourth pitch of Monkeyfinger
Sixth pitch of Monkeyfinger, the 5.10 OW
Seventh pitch of Monkeyfinger
Great ledge on top of pitch 8
Terry at a bivy, 2 pitches below the top..."rise a...
BETA PHOTO: The view of Monkeyfinger from the road. The route...
BETA PHOTO: A close up of the crux third pitch and fourth pitc...
Whoever was up there on President's day 2013, I ha...
Winter in Zion with Laura!
|By George Bell|
From: Boulder, CO
Nov 6, 2002
Agree with you Joe on Pitch 2. We trusted the guide and followed the right crack, this was totally desperate and protected only by marginal RP's (but with good gear well below your feet). Only on the way down did we realise it is much easier to start left of this and then switch into the right crack when it becomes wide enough to get the fingers into. The last few feet of this pitch is perhaps 4" and seemed 10+.
|By Joe Collins|
Nov 7, 2002
Yep, that section on pitch 2 almost thwarted us. I started up the right side and wasn't willing to commit to the sketchy free-climbing well above good gear, so I tried to aid it. Anyway, the RP I placed blew as I put my body-weight onto it... very marginal RPs indeed!! We were just about to bail, but decided to give the left side a go which is pretty mellow with the crux coming when you start climbing the right side of the pillar again. I think I used the #4.5 camalot at the top of this pitch.
|By david goldstein|
May 14, 2004
Lives up to its reputation for quality.
Joe, Where else would you put the 4th belay? It seems to me that a miserable hanging belay is inevitable. It would be nice to have a belay seat for this anchor though it would not be of much use at any other anchor.
A 60 meter rappel just makes it from the third anchor to the ground.
Joe's recommended rack was right on the mark.
|By Dougald MacDonald|
May 15, 2004
Crux of pitch 2 is the traverse to the left crack, probably 11- face climbing with good pro overhead at the base of the right crack.
|By Joe Collins|
May 25, 2004
Dave- I think the anchor would be much better located about 30 feet lower. As it is, the 4th pitch is very long and the 5th pitch is very short. The roof at the start of pitch 4 gave me massive roof drag towards the end of pitch 4. It seems that a shorter pitch 4 would make more sense with a belay not too long after the roof... then pitch 5 could be a long pitch up the corner with no rope drag. Also, if the anchor were lower it would be on the slightly lower angle section where a hanging belay would be more comfortable. Its not like its located at a natural stance right now... it's a full-on hanging belay in the middle of the corner.
That's just this punter's opinion, of course.
Jul 30, 2004
rating: 5.12a 7a+ 25 VIII+ E5 6a
2 #2 ball nuts provide plenty of protection at your feet for the right side of the ultra-cool second pitch...
|By T T|
Sep 30, 2005
Oh yeah...two pieces of fixed gear, one (what I believe is a SUPER BOMBER NUT) located in the back corner just before pulling out under the roof and another nut about thirty feet below the top of pitch four.
|By T T|
Sep 30, 2005
climbed this route on 9.13.2005. I lead the first two pitches, and the fifth pitch.
I totally agree with the idea of lowering the top of the third pitch to the lower angle part. That full blown hanging belay at the top of four just plain SUCKS!!! DOn't forget the buttbag and knee pads.
The pillar of faith was awesome climbing, plugged in the grey and purple Met. FCU to protect when going into right corner...and saw a good foot placement half a body length above and just went for it...climbing only gets easier and easier from there to the belay. Top of pillar can be protected with a 4.5 BD or 5 Wild Country , really good features in back of OW and then just throwing for top is bomber safe...jug and a welcome lip on top to grab onto.
|By Josh Janes|
May 20, 2007
For parties wanting to save weight, you can get away with a double set through #2 Camalot, a single #3 Camalot, and a set of wires. Although having only doubles will demand some run outs or back cleaning on the 5.10 handcrack pitch just above the 5.11 roof, the #4 & #5 Camalot are truly optional. It is nice to have two or three purple TCU-sized pieces for the Black Corner. Also, this route can be rapped with a single 70m rope.
|By Drew Bedford|
From: Wasatch Back, UT
Mar 31, 2008
Not sure where the FFA info got off-route, but this route was first freed in 1984 by myself and Roger (Pokey) Amory.
To be accurate, we did yo-yo the crux pitch, but this was before micro-cams and those small nuts in soft sandstone were freakin us out a bit. Olevsky should be willing to confirm the facts--he watched us from the parking lot and pumped us for details at the end of each day.
Jul 1, 2009
Great Route! Long live Olevsky.
|By Ben Venter|
From: Tucson, AZ
Mar 29, 2011
rating: 5.12b 7b 26 VIII+ E5 6b
Rap it with just 1 70m rope.
Do the Monkeyfinger pitch! The first move getting into it was quite hard and the gear is slightly wonky but then it's just awesome splitter fingers with tons of air under your feet!
|By Max Tepfer|
From: Bend, OR
Jan 9, 2012
"Enter the sandbox/chimney to the right of the belay. After finding a suitable location to empty the sand out of your shoes, clip a couple of bad bolts and undercling right out under a series of roofs and continue up to the rim. Once on the rim fight up through ropedrag, sand, and manzanita to a flat area where you can sling a couple of branches and belay. "
The beta posted here for the 9th pitch is a little bit screwy. No it's not that sandy, yes the bolts suck, yes there's plenty of bomber gear around the bolts, no there's no need to wrestle 'ropedrag, sand, and manzanita, once on the rim. (unless you screwed up) There's a massive tree with a rap-anchor on it. It's pretty straight-forward.
|By Adam Stackhouse|
Apr 30, 2012
Onsight soloed by Alex Honnold, April 2012
Oct 3, 2012
You can rap the entire route with a single 70 m rope. You can link pitch 4 and 5 to avoid the hanging belay. It's worth going to the very top even though the last chimney pitch is a kitty litter box.
From: Salt Lake City, UT
Feb 13, 2013
Supertopo shows the last pitch going right at A3 and left as 5.10
I'm pretty sure this is bass-ackwards. I saw the bolts on the right and was thinking why would an A3 pitch have more bolts and better rock...anyway I went left. I've been climbing for about 20 years and have done a lot of choss. But going left was the worst pitch I've ever led...hands down no question. I freeded it if that counts for anything! It was like trying to climb rock being actively poured out of a dump truck in a gypsum quarry...choss treadwall. My partner let out more explatives following it than a david mamet film.
rest of the climb was great! next time I'll rap after pitch 7 :)-
|By Brad G|
From: Yosemite and else where
Apr 23, 2013
I blew my onsight on that short roof on pitch four. It looks easier then it is so don't rush into it. Those few moves are for sure the hardest on the route imo. The crux pitch and monkeyfinger pitch are amazing! If you're psyched on finger cracks, you must climb the Monkeyfinger crack!
|By Landon McBrayer|
From: Salt Lake City, UT
Oct 16, 2013
What an amazing route! Here is my pitch by pitch breakdown:
P1: crappy slab/traversing pitch to get to the bottom of the Pillar of Faith. This pitch would be awesome if a bolted direct line was put up. As is, it pretty much sucks.
P2. The Pillar of Faith. As others have noted, start up the left side and switch to the right side at the obvious foot jug. You can't miss it. From there, it's tight fingers to hands to a short bit of OW which you can layback to the belay. A #4 or 5 BD is comforting, but by no means necessary.
P3: Crux. French free up the tips corner for 15 feet, then climb the easy chimney to the belay.
P4: The human crux. Easy climbing to the tricky roof (extending the gear with runners is key here), followed by a long stretch of fingers, a bit of hands, and back to fingers. It's not unreasonable to have quads of .3-.5 camalot sizes for this pitch. classic. An absurd belay which should be moved 30' lower.
P5. Fantastic. Fat fingers to big hands in a corner to the belay. A few of each .75-#2 camalot is perfect, with maybe a #3 thrown in for good measure. Pretty short.
P6: a crappy belay, followed by a long OW section to a fantastic belay (each lunch at the latter). Sure, you'll use the #4 and #5 camalot if you dragged them up this far, but the meat of the OW can be protected with #2 camalot sizes in the back of the slot.
P7: after lunch, tackle this fantastic pitch. Tight fingers give way to big hands as you work your way up the nice corner. A couple of each size from 0 Metolius-#3 camalot works great. You'll end up at another huge ledge.
P8: A runout easy section up and right leads to a bolted face (which you can see from the belay), which is followed by a crack (fingers-hands) to the belay. Apart from the horrible protection (two badly drilled angles and an ancient star driver bolt), the face climbing is great on this pitch. If you've done this pitch, admit it: you used that first drilled angle as a foothold.
P9. Not worth doing. Grovel up the horrible chimney to the unspectacular summit tree. This pitch is awful, and you gain nothing by reaching the final belay. The view from up there is the same view you've been looking at for 8 pitches. Absolute garbage.
My rack recommendation: triples .2 - 3", which quads from .3-.5, and a single #4 and #5 camalot size.
The biggest downer of this route is the fixed hardware. Lots of crappy belays consisting of drilled angles and shoddy webbing. Also, the hanging belay atop P4 and the shoddy belay atop P5. A hardware update would make this route much better. If you don't like old tat, bring a shit-load of cord or webbing to replace the anchors.
Can be rapped with a single 70.