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YDS: 5.9 French: 5c Ewbanks: 17 UIAA: VI ZA: 17 British: HVS 5a

Type:  Trad, 1 pitch, 60'
Consensus:  YDS: 5.9 French: 5c Ewbanks: 17 UIAA: VI ZA: 17 British: HVS 5a [details]
FA: Unknown
Season: not summer
Page Views: 2,581
Submitted By: bernard on Mar 4, 2010

You & This Route  |  Other Opinions (10)
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Closed Route 

This route is outside the boundaries of the SCC property and is currently off-limits to climbing. Please do not trespass on private property by climbing this route.


One of the Steele classics and one of the more quality mid-grade trad routes in the state.

Monopoly begins on the same holds as Aura and Man Overboard, but it traverses across the face, under the old, fixed pro of the other routes, to the arete. Finish by staying on the arete proper....where you will find grand vistas and airy exposure.

The top is a bit ledgy......there used to be a tree at the first prominent ledge but it died and fell off.....so now to set an anchor that is generally over the arete you have to go higher....and the complication of doing this along with the traversing nature of the route might lead one to settle on belaying the second from the top.

Just have your act together and don't commit a bunch of tomfoolery by getting up near the finish and commencing a yelling conversation with your belayer on the ground about what to do....have a plan.


At the Amphitheater area, starts at the base of the dihedral that forms Bird's Nest Crack. Four routes start from this location, Bird's Nest (5.9), Aura (5.11), Man Overboard (5.10 c/d) and Monopoly.


standard Steele rack. Some long runners for the route's direction change and for the ledgy finish

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By ecessg
Mar 5, 2010

"Just have your act together and don't commit a bunch of tomfoolery by getting up near the finish and commencing a yelling conversation with your belayer on the ground about what to do....have a plan."

sage advice and one that i wish more climbers would adhere to.
By sammy raviv
May 2, 2010

"Four routes start from this location, Bird's Nest (5.9), Aura (5.11), one whose name i can't remember (5.10 c/d), and Monopoly."

route you can't remember is Man Overboard. I have it going 11a/b.
From: The Briar Patch
Dec 23, 2010

There are now two big fat bolts with rings at the top....sigh.
By Jamie Silliman
From: Gold River, CA
Feb 24, 2011

Just some route history:

Joel Berry attempted the first ascent traverse at the beginning, but backed off. I went up and completed it to the arete and called it Monopoly. Buddy Barron did the first ascent of the arete. I think Les put the whole thing together. Classic for its grade and exposure.

By Cres Simpson
From: Birmingham, AL
Dec 22, 2012
rating: 5.9 5c 17 VI 17 HVS 5a

Really fun climb -- great exposure.

For me, the traverse was very thin. The feet are great but it's heady and the potential for a pendulum fall adds some mental difficulty to the route.

The arete is easy and well protected.
By Lyle Dean
Dec 1, 2014

The history I remember on this route was that Dave Black came up from med school at Tulane and completed this route. In the spring of 1977 I was in Talkeetna Alaska working for Ray Genet as an assistant guide on Denali when I met Mike Grabber. Grabber and a group of other california climbers had returned to do new big wall routes in the Kitchatna Spires. I knew who these guys were from reading American Alpine Journals. I had a chance to hang out with them for several days during which time I realized Dave Black was not with the group that year. Grabber said Black could't come to Alaska that year because of med school obligations. I explained to Grabber there was good climbing at Steele and that would be the most accessible climbing for Louisiana climbers. When I got back to Birmingham that Fall there were several fixed pins where Black had established these new routes. It was a debatable step forward for climbing at Steele as we (the locals) had restricted ourselves in the extensive use of bolts and fixed pins up to that point in time. The first time I did this route was in about 1983 when I was home visiting from Colorado, but it sounds like Les repeated it some time before that. It would be Interesting to contact Dave Black to get more info.
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