This variation to the Pioneer Route is the most popular way to ascend the monkey face free. It is classic in its own right.
Begin up the Pioneer or West Face Variation routes up the Monkey. Monkey Space starts at the bottom of the aid bolt ladder pitch.
1st Pitch: 5.11a Begin at the ledge atop the first pitch of the pioneer route. Head directly to the left and then up into a cool cave on the west side of monkey face on well placed bolts.
2nd Pitch: 5.11b Move to the north side of the cave and move up on steep, powerful moves but positive edges for a few moves and then move up slab to the summit.
Descend as Pioneer route.
|By Aron Quiter|
From: Oakland, CA
Feb 28, 2006
Hmmm... I think the climb was two pitches, but I think it's worth mentioning that there are two pitches of the Poineer route that need to be done before you can split off and join Monkey Space.
HOLY SHIT! That crux step on the first pitch is a doozy. Definately reminded me why I'm afriad of heights.
While the physical crux is pulling out of the cave on the "second" (final?) pitch, the mental crux is on the first crossing through the traverse, looking out 500 feet below you.
From: Sacramento, CA
Mar 27, 2006
I agree on the exposure of the traverse pitch. I fell at the crux on that pitch. I ended up in the air 6 feet away from the wall and my girlfriend belaying me ended up with bloody knuckles from being slammed into the wall. Spicy!
|By David Tvedt|
Apr 29, 2006
Some climbers might want to bring along a little gear for the finishing crack on the 1st pitch. The Watts guide lists gear as: Bolts (optional gear to 2 inches). When I did the route, we approached via Astro Monkey, and I was a little tired going into this pitch. I left our gear with my belayer, forgetting the part about optional gear and I sorta wished I had a piece to plug in when I was up at the diagonal crack. I was just tired enough that I easily envisioned myself taking the big plunge into that "space". I'd guess a fall from there would leave you hanging well away from the cliff and require prusiking.
Apr 4, 2008
what optional gear should be brought?
|By Peter Franzen|
From: Phoenix, AZ
Apr 13, 2008
rating: 5.11b 6c 23 VIII- 23 E3 5c
Magnificent route. The exposure is fantastic, and the climbing is a lot of fun.
I took a #0.5 and a #1 for the top of the first 5.11 pitch, and I'd recommend others to do the same. If anything else it prevents a nasty pendulum for the second should they fall after the last bolt.
|By Joel Sprenger|
From: Terrebonne, OR
May 21, 2008
It still is amazing to me that no one ever comments on the last pitch of monkey space. It is the most un-inspiring line in the park. Exposure is not a problem due to the ledge that you start off. If you were to fall after the 3rd bolt, or before, you are looking at a really nasty fall. I would not try and send until i had those moves dialed. REALLY hard 11b, or easy 12a, however you want to look at it. I found the run out flake crack to be easy and really fun to run out. You do not need to protect it for the second due to the anchors located on the roof of the cave directly above the flake.
|By Nick Sullens|
From: Yosemite/ Bend
Dec 27, 2009
What a climb, the first 11a pitch is pretty scary and I felt like it was a bit hard for 11a, super exposed but amazing. The second pitch might have been physically a little harder but mentally a breeze compared to the first. The second pitch is essentially a boulder problem out of the cave followed by easy climbing up to the top. The massive free space rappel might be the coolest thing about this climb. I highly recommend this route, maybe not the best climbing at Smith but one of the most interesting route's I've done.
Jul 10, 2010
Because I can't help but offer my opinion: I don't think you need gear for the crack at the finish of the first pitch. The footholds are big, the locks are bomber, and the crack is directly below the belay.
I think the bolts and anchor for the last pitch really detract. I know the climbing would be 5.5 above, but it would be awesome to have an anchor just above the finish jugs of the final pitch. Communication issues would be gone, and it would be infinitely easier for a second to follow the route. As it is, all you can do is yank on the line, without being able to tell when your partner is unclipping, going for it, in danger of hitting the deck, or even if they are climbing. If you don't onsight 5.11, this is a tough pitch to follow.
|By Eric Schnepel|
Dec 19, 2010
Communicating really did suck on the belay from the top. It was nearly impossible to hear my partner. Other than that, the route was great.
From: Bend, Oregon
Jun 29, 2011
I found that gear was nice in the flake. I did not see the anchor above the first 5.11 pitch so i was belaying from way out right. The gear was a .5 and 1 cam. As for the second pitch anchor i extended my anchor WAY down to near the edgee Tied a few clove hitches and lowerd down closer to the edge.
I thought latching that jug after the crux of the second pitch was AWSOME. the wind wipping up it made me feel like my own personal movie star. (I Know, its only 5.11)
Nov 4, 2012
rating: 5.11b 6c 23 VIII- 23 E3 5c
First pitch has great exposure and nothing too hard. Mostly just tenuous movement. Pitch two is essentially a 10 foot powerful v3/4 boulder problem with a 5.easy run out to the top. I was actually more frightened by pitch two as you don't want to fall within the first 2 bolts for risk of decking. Stellar route, can't wait to climb it again and again.