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Zion Moonlight Butress summer closures/ raptor nesting?
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By 20 kN
From Hawaii
Feb 18, 2013

Sorry for the possibly obvious question. But I am a bit confused as to whether MB is closed in the summer or not (late May/ early June). Specifically, I am wondering about the standard Moonlight Buttress C1 / 5.12+ regular route. The NPS website does not list MB in the closures list. But other sources say it is closed in the summer. Which is it?


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By John Wilder
From Las Vegas, NV
Feb 18, 2013

Whatever the NPS site says is what you go by. Generally Moonlight is open, as it's to the right of Angels Landing, which is usually closed for raptor nesting.

They'll also lift some closures by May, if I recall, after all the falcons have nested and any normal cliffs that are closed don't have nests.


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By 20 kN
From Hawaii
Feb 19, 2013

John Wilder wrote:
Whatever the NPS site says is what you go by. Generally Moonlight is open, as it's to the right of Angels Landing, which is usually closed for raptor nesting. They'll also lift some closures by May, if I recall, after all the falcons have nested and any normal cliffs that are closed don't have nests.

Do you know how the temp is that time of the year, and the sun aspect of the line?


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By Michael Schneiter
From Glenwood Springs, CO
Feb 19, 2013
Goofin' on the Grand after soloing the Upper Exum with my wife.

20 kN wrote:
Do you know how the temp is that time of the year, and the sun aspect of the line?

It most likely will be very warm by that time of the year and Moonlight will have sun for about half the day. That time of year is typically considered a poor time to be climbing in Zion.


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By 20 kN
From Hawaii
Feb 19, 2013

Michael Schneiter wrote:
It most likely will be very warm by that time of the year and Moonlight will have sun for about half the day. That time of year is typically considered a poor time to be climbing in Zion.

When would you say is the latest one should go up on that line? Early May? Do you know when the line goes back into season? September?


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By Michael Schneiter
From Glenwood Springs, CO
Feb 19, 2013
Goofin' on the Grand after soloing the Upper Exum with my wife.

Early to mid May and mid-September are probably the cutoffs. Depends on whether you're free climbing or aid climbing. And, it would depend on the weather that season.

www.weather.com/weather/wxclimatology/monthly/graph/UTNPZION>>>

I'll never forget a story a friend told me about trying to climb Spaceshot in June. He decided to wait until evening to start so it would be cooler but it was still 96 degrees at 9 P.M. and he was getting scorched.


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By John Wilder
From Las Vegas, NV
Feb 19, 2013

no doubt- Spaceshot faces west, it bakes in the afternoon sun. We were warm when we did it in March.

Moonlight faces due east- morning sun, afternoon shade. Sun gets real high in the desert, and shade in the summer doesnt provide much relief. You could fix and fire it, climbing only in the afternoon and evening, but it'd be gnarly regardless. You'd have to really consider how to deal with dehydration/water supplies if you didnt want to haul.

It's best in the fall for river conditions- spring can be gnarly because you have to cross the river. If you cant cross due to high water, you have to walk around Angel's Landing from the bridge- not terribly far, but a pretty good hike.


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By 20 kN
From Hawaii
Mar 1, 2013

John Wilder wrote:
no doubt- Spaceshot faces west, it bakes in the afternoon sun. We were warm when we did it in March. Moonlight faces due east- morning sun, afternoon shade. Sun gets real high in the desert, and shade in the summer doesnt provide much relief. You could fix and fire it, climbing only in the afternoon and evening, but it'd be gnarly regardless. You'd have to really consider how to deal with dehydration/water supplies if you didnt want to haul. It's best in the fall for river conditions- spring can be gnarly because you have to cross the river. If you cant cross due to high water, you have to walk around Angel's Landing from the bridge- not terribly far, but a pretty good hike.

Well, we are planning on doing the entire route free/ French free. I moved the dates up to around May 23rd. The NPS link you gave me said the average high in May is 72 degrees, which is not very warm IMO.


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By John Wilder
From Las Vegas, NV
Mar 1, 2013

20 kN wrote:
Well, we are planning on doing the entire route free/ French free. I moved the dates up to around May 23rd. The NPS link you gave me said the average high in May is 72 degrees, which is not very warm IMO.


A quick check puts the average highs in the mid-80s for that time of year in Zion- i'd count on 88-92 degrees for the highs, lows in the 60s. That link is probably for the higher elevation parts of the park. Go with Springdale, UT for better temperature readings for the valley floor. It'll of course be a bit cooler high on the wall.

You may be okay with those temps- as it starts to hit the 80s, the line should go into the shade.

Good luck!


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