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Moonlight Buttress in March
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By John McNamee
Administrator
From Littleton, CO
Feb 14, 2012
Artist Tears P3

Since when has March been "prime free climbing season" in Zion. Most of my trips during March have been rained out and I don't even think about it now.

I think it is more of "spring break" issue than prime free climbing season. Its a communal resource so we need to learn to share.


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By Fat Dad
From Los Angeles, CA
Feb 14, 2012

Will S wrote:
As an aid route? Mediocre and easy, a largely forgettable and inconsequential act.

That's not elitist, huh? Maybe you can suggest a better adjective. Either way, I'm kind of done with the flaming. It doesn't really further intelligent discussion of the issue.

To follow up on John McNamee's more practical post, it can be pretty soggy in March. I remember going there over spring break to do either MB or the Lowe Route on Angel's Landing and getting rained out.


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By atrau
Feb 14, 2012

johnL wrote:
How many pure aid routes or aid routes that have seen less than 3 free ascents are within a 15 minute walk of the Salathe? How many are within a 15 minute walk of Moonlight?


Space shot, Lowe Route, Dunn Route, Touchstone, Sheer Lunacy, Ball and Chain, and there are a few others I am forgetting.

I don't know how many are 15 minutes from the Salathe.

I think that if you are really after a "climb of a lifetime" for a "Free Climb of a life time" go try to repeat one of Mike Andersons FFA.

+1 for what John said about people rapping in from the top. I don't think an aid party ever did that to practice placements.

While aiding Moonlight I have been slowed down by free climbers falling down more vertical feet than they climbed, or being painfully slow at belays.

Do what you want and have fun doing it.

Rob


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By Chris Francy
Feb 14, 2012

My 2 cents.

I'm planning to go there in late March to do MB, fixing three ropes to top of P4 then firing the following day, starting before sunrise (no shuttle buses).

I think most people would be surprised how many groups still do this in 2 or 3 days with a portaledge. Just last week I was there doing spaceshot and we saw a group with a ledge docked at the 7th pitch. Based on their speed on the final pitches, it was probably their third day.

As for whether my ascent this upcoming March bothers anyone, screw it. I'm bringing a clean rack, that's the only real etiquette requirement. I will probably never be able to free the route anyway, so its not like I'm going to just ignore this classic because some guy on the internet thinks it should be reserved for elite free climbers.


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By Greg G
From SLC, UT
Feb 15, 2012
The route in it's entirety.

An old climber once told me, "Once you're on the route. It's your climb."

As long as you've done some practice before heading up ML you'll be fine. Just don't be the gumbies who are learning as they go.


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By MorganH
Feb 15, 2012

Chris Francy wrote:
My 2 cents. I'm planning to go there in late March to do MB, fixing three ropes to top of P4 then firing the following day, starting before sunrise (no shuttle buses). I think most people would be surprised how many groups still do this in 2 or 3 days with a portaledge. Just last week I was there doing spaceshot and we saw a group with a ledge docked at the 7th pitch. Based on their speed on the final pitches, it was probably their third day. As for whether my ascent this upcoming March bothers anyone, screw it. I'm bringing a clean rack, that's the only real etiquette requirement. I will probably never be able to free the route anyway, so its not like I'm going to just ignore this classic because some guy on the internet thinks it should be reserved for elite free climbers.


Not really "elite" climbers. Better than average, but definitely not elite. Free-soloing it would be elite.


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By Josh Janes
Feb 15, 2012

All you aid "climbers": I wouldn't say you shouldn't aid "climb" Moonlight - I'd just avoid admitting it publicly. Try to preserve a little dignity, ya know?


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By Jim Gloeckler
From Denver, Colo.
Feb 15, 2012

Morgan H

They may not be considered "elite", but definetly are way above average. I say do the route the way you want to, as long as you don't destroy the rock, and let others pass if possible and warranted. Most of the ascents still are aid, even though others will say otherwise.


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By camhead
From Vandalia, Appalachia
Feb 15, 2012
You stay away from mah pig!

Wow, can't believe I'm late to the game on this one. I've never been on Moonlight, but would love to try to free it sometime.

Will, John, and Shumin's attitudes are not elitist, they are merely reflecting the fact that, as free climbing standards for all climbers (not just pros) rise, we need to shift our ethics on what is appropriate to aid or free. As far as accessibility, Moonlight falls much closer to the Rostrum, Astroman, or Rainbow Wall than it does to freeing the Nose, Salathe, Touchstone, or hell, even Freerider.

As free climbing becomes more established as good style, and as aiding in non-expeditionary environments becomes seen more as a contrived dead end as far as innovation goes, it would be nice if all climbers could just accept the fact that aiding something like Moonlight is akin to setting up a portaledge at the top of Super Crack, siege-dogging a 12d at the Motherlode while there is a line, or leaving topropes hanging all day at the Gunks.

Consensus in climbing has always been to reasonably defer to better style. If, in thirty years, hundreds of gym-bred mutants are onsight simuling Moonlight as a warmup, it would be incredibly bad style for old farts like me to go try to project-free it.


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By Chris Francy
Feb 15, 2012

I'd like to actually have the statistics on how many ascents this year are free vs aid. I'd almost bet money that 70%+ are still aid ascents. It may even be much higher.

There are probably people on this thread who have never even been to Zion.


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By Darren Mabe
From Flagstaff, AZ
Feb 15, 2012
wham bam hand jam. Wrapping up the final moves of Twist of Fate, Oak Creek Canyon. <br /> <br />photo: Blake McCord

there might also be folks who aid the route who have never been on MP.com.

some folks hike trails, some run.

some... belly crawl.


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By Greg Howland
Feb 15, 2012
The Nose

Anant, GO FOR IT. I aided the route in March and it was an awesome experience. We had the whole route to ourselves. When I was there for a week the previous November, no one was on it also. You'll want a bit more of a rack for the the route. The one on MP is good less the big bros, hexes, tricams and one of the hooks. The also aren't all pin scarred placements. Offset cams or stoppers are nice though. Don't let people discourage you, when you put it into perspective, it's not nearly as crowded as the first 1/3 of The Nose, but no one is complaining about teams aiding through the stovelegs on here. Plan the trip with an open mind and you won't regret going. If someone is on the route or you're wanting to learn, just know that you'll have to be patient and let people pass. If it really busy just find another route or wait for mid week. I will never forget being up there aiding it and wouldn't want someone to miss out over something like this. Have fun, stay psyched, and don't bail.


I think that the free climbers have taken a bit of an elitist stance here. My take is that MB is both a free climb and an aid climb. With Moonlight going at 12+ it is certainly more accessible than most big walls but certainly not accessible by most. 5.8 C1 makes it a perfect aid climb to get ready for the valley. Astroman and the Rostrum are 5.11 which is quite different than 12+ so it's not exactly logical to compare them to Moonlight as much as Shune's (which is a free climb). It's much more appropriate to compare it to RNWF at 12b. HD has fewer crux pitches and these pitches are graded easier. So, why is MB a free climb but it's perfectly okay to have really slow parties aiding on HD?

If you look at the stats here on MP for the previous year, there have ben 20 recorded aid ascents and only 5 free. This means that 80% of ascents are still aid. Obviously I acknowledge that these statistics are not exact but, I don't believe that error can account for that much of a difference. I don't think a "stay out of my way and don't slow me down aid climbers" approach is justifiable when around only 1 out of 5 ascents are free. Likewise, any aid climber saying "wait behind me since this was put up as an aid line" is a bit of a purist. Both parties should understand it's a popular route for a reason. Let someone through if you're moving slow and be prepared to wait an hour or so while teams get in position for you to pass if you're flying.


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By Josh Allred
From Salt Lake City, UT
Feb 16, 2012
P3 on Nutcracker.

Quit watching Alex Honnold.


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By chuck claude
From Flagstaff, Az
Feb 16, 2012
First climb after knee surgery <br />

Yarp wrote:
We both lead upto 11a/b on trad and 12's on sport.... ...I have 4 #1's 3 #2's 2 #.75's besides other stuff. I also have 2 sets of nuts and a set of hexes. Any advice / opinion? The two statements seem incongruent with each other. You tell us you are leading steep,thin fingers (11a/b) trad but then claim to not owning any gear aside from nuts that fit that size. Please explain. Also...if you are leading that level of trad you will find much free climbing on the butt and I'd bet that you'll spend a significant amount of time frenching the shit outta it. What you haven't told us thus far is your experience and comfort level on longer climbs. If you don't have any experience on a route of this size I think you'll find this particular climb to be a harsh teacher.


You need to get out onto more 5.11 trad routes. I know tons of 5.11's that are anything but fingers. There is a climb at Paradise Forks (Az) called Three Turkeys (5.11) which has very little in terms of fingers but it does have a good baby butt flare. Coyne Crack (5.12a) isn't really fingers (unless you have really big paws). Hell, a whole lot of 5.11, 5.12's and a few 5.13's are in the ringlock range....

Yes, moonlight's cruxes are fingers but I figure he (the original poster) just hasn't done his homework....As for doing it during a busy season as a rank beginner. Everyone is somewhere along the continuum of the learning curve. Just be considerate and let others pass. As for the free/ aid, in my mind its a free climb. No that it commonly gets done free, I'm a 47yr old working stiff who hopes to free it this year as soon as my foot starts working (just got my cast off a short time ago), so more people then you thinkl probably could. The Rostrum and Astroman were originally aid routes, but rarely get aided anymore. As for ML, I think that its more important to move it from a popular aid climb to a free climb due to the sandstone nature. Climbing it will change it but aid climbing will change it faster, and if its a very popular aid route, that much faster yet.


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By Bill M
From Fort Collins, CO
Feb 16, 2012

Ok, So I am planning to Aid MB the last weekend in Feb (unless of course it rains/snows) and the Park Website shows us at the only people with a reserved climbing permit. An in fact no one has reserved anything in March or April yet either. So when does the mad rush start, or are most people walk ups.

We are doing it as a party of 3, bringing 2 ledges and lots of food. We are planning to stretch it a full 2 days if we can. However, if some of you guys show up and want to pass through, you are more than welcome. Just yell up and give us notice and we will try to give you some hot coco as you pass through.

Bill


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By atrau
Feb 16, 2012

Bill,

The permits rarely get reserved. people usually just pick them up before they go.

Save some hot coco for me, I will most likely do it soon.

Rob


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By Josh Janes
Feb 16, 2012

Astroman is harder than Moonlight.
The NW Face of Half Dome is way harder than Moonlight.
Both were once aid climbs, but no more.
Just sayin'.
Personally, I'd rather free climb, say, Iron Messiah than aid Moonlight. Far more rewarding in every sense.
Aid climbing is neither.
I've aid climbed before, but never intentionally.
Aid seems kinda like heli-skiing, but maybe not as rad?
I'm glad the Compressor got chopped.
Just wanted to slip that in there.
Aid climbing, the "belly crawling" of the climbing world.
Aid climbers who share their hot cocoa definitely get a pass though.


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By Yarp
Feb 16, 2012

chuck claude wrote:
You need to get out onto more 5.11 trad routes. I know tons of 5.11's that are anything but fingers. There is a climb at Paradise Forks (Az) called Three Turkeys (5.11) which has very little in terms of fingers but it does have a good baby butt flare. Coyne Crack (5.12a) isn't really fingers (unless you have really big paws). Hell, a whole lot of 5.11, 5.12's and a few 5.13's are in the ringlock range....


Thanks for sharing with all of us your extensive "no"ledge of 5.11 and up climbs that are wider than fingers. That was really helpful. I'm failing to see the part of my post that states that ALL 5.11 and up climbs are thin but people read all kinds of shit into my posts that I didn't write and it would appear that you are "know" exception.

BTW...the OP clarified that they do indeed have smaller gear but that they just "hadn't done their homework yet" and were listing the gear they thought they would need for the climb. Turns out they learned something on this thread!

And to all you elitist, self absorbed, egomaniacs that think "aid climbing is neither" and that aid has no place outside of emergency situations anymore... HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA! Who do you think made it possible for "free climbers" to even begin to contemplate this route? I'm sure all of those pin scars existed before the FA.

This settles it. I'm going to Zion in March and I'm gonna siege MB with nothing but a rack of bongs some hooks and a bolt gun. Probably bring enough food and water for at least a week. Swinging a hammer all day is hard work.

See you guys up there!


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By Josh Janes
Feb 16, 2012

Bring extra hot cocoa sucka!


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By Darren Mabe
From Flagstaff, AZ
Feb 16, 2012
wham bam hand jam. Wrapping up the final moves of Twist of Fate, Oak Creek Canyon. <br /> <br />photo: Blake McCord

I would like to see more hard free FAs that have not been aided first nor are existing aidlines...

(ground-up of course.)


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By caughtinside
From Oakland CA
Feb 16, 2012

If Yarp bongs it down to 5.11 I got a shot at the thing.


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By Monomaniac
Administrator
From Morrison, CO
Feb 16, 2012
Insurrection, 5.14c.  Photo Adam Sanders.

Darren Mabe wrote:
I would like to see more hard free FAs that have not been aided first nor are existing aidlines... (ground-up of course.)


Mike and Piz have done a few in Zion.

Honestly, with so many sick free routes in Zion, I don't understand the obsession with Moonlight Buttress. Its a good route for sure, but if you like solitude, as many claim to, there are plenty of lines that are just as good, rotting away.


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By chuck claude
From Flagstaff, Az
Feb 16, 2012
First climb after knee surgery <br />

Yarp wrote:
Thanks for sharing with all of us your extensive "no"ledge of 5.11 and up climbs that are wider than fingers. That was really helpful. I'm failing to see the part of my post that states that ALL 5.11 and up climbs are thin but people read all kinds of shit into my posts that I didn't write and it would appear that you are "know" exception. BTW...the OP clarified that they do indeed have smaller gear but that they just "hadn't done their homework yet" and were listing the gear they thought they would need for the climb. Turns out they learned something on this thread! And to all you elitist, self absorbed, egomaniacs that think "aid climbing is neither" and that aid has no place outside of emergency situations anymore... HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA! Who do you think made it possible for "free climbers" to even begin to contemplate this route? I'm sure all of those pin scars existed before the FA. This settles it. I'm going to Zion in March and I'm gonna siege MB with nothing but a rack of bongs some hooks and a bolt gun. Probably bring enough food and water for at least a week. Swinging a hammer all day is hard work. See you guys up there!


The way I resad your post was that you were trying to call some BS cause you couldn't see how someone could claim leading 5.11a trad while having a pretty sparse rack, since the way I read it, you were saying 5.11a implies thin steep crack. I was just saying BS to that.

And yes, I am an elitist prick, and do know something about 5.11's. Being I don't remember the last time I did a trad route easier then 5.10d, and its been some time since I did one of those. (its easy not remembering at my age though)...


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By caughtinside
From Oakland CA
Feb 16, 2012

Slightly different note here...

Have you guys seen the movie Big Stone? It has some amazing footage of Jason Campbell onsighting MB like 8-10 years ago. Haven't seen it in a long time but it still stands out as some of the best trad footage I've ever seen.

The movie also has Lynn Hill Free NIAD and Tommy Caldwell on the Salathe.


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By Darren Mabe
From Flagstaff, AZ
Feb 16, 2012
wham bam hand jam. Wrapping up the final moves of Twist of Fate, Oak Creek Canyon. <br /> <br />photo: Blake McCord

Monomaniac wrote:
Mike and Piz have done a few in Zion. Honestly, with so many sick free routes in Zion, I don't understand the obsession with Moonlight Buttress. Its a good route for sure, but if you like solitude, as many claim to, there are plenty of lines that are just as good, rotting away.

those guys definitely came to mind with my tongue-in-cheek comment... but why don't those routes get repeated regularly?


JLP wrote:
If you are looking for world class quality as well, I think you're about 50 years late.

bummer. how are all the cherries picked? besides, i didn't know they were putting up 5.12+/13+ routes in the sixties without any aid or haven't already been aided..


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