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Moonlight in a day beta?
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By ROC
From Englewood, CO
Oct 3, 2011
Looking to do Moonlight Buttress in Zion in a day and was wondering if anyone had any useful beta that they could share? Also a little curious about the chimney section. How wide, how long, how hard, etc... Also some rack beta would be great. x4 in the yellow and orange TCU sizes from what I've heard. Any beta, trip reports, route photos (other than what is posted here. Photos especially of the chimney and upper slab section), etc. would be greatly appreciated.

Thanks!!!

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By Andy Matthews
Oct 3, 2011
Aid beta or free beta?

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By Sorden
From inside the Bubble, Colorado
Oct 3, 2011
~Here to party~
Wear a comfortable harness and bring something to create your own Bosun chair (climb is too short to justify the purchase of a fancy one) because you're gonna be at a few standing/hanging belays. Whether you free or aid, you're most likely gonna have some long hang time belaying. I rigged a seat with my aiders to take the weight off my harness when Kevin Cochran and I did it in a day (10 hours) and it could have been more comfortable if I'd prepared. Hike to the top first and stash some "victory supplies" to enjoy on your way down Walter's wiggles!

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By ROC
From Englewood, CO
Oct 3, 2011
Aid beta for sure. I plan to free maybe the first two approach pitches but will be riding the aiders from there to the top. Great suggestion on stashing some goodies on top! I do have a belay seat and plan to make good use of it. We'll be short fixing the whole thing I think and leading it in one block.

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By Michael Schneiter
From Glenwood Springs, CO
Oct 3, 2011
Goofin' on the Grand after soloing the Upper Exum ...
ROC wrote:
Aid beta for sure. I plan to free maybe the first two approach pitches but will be riding the aiders from there to the top. Great suggestion on stashing some goodies on top! I do have a belay seat and plan to make good use of it. We'll be short fixing the whole thing I think and leading it in one block.


Did it in a day with the wife a few years ago and we did two blocks, with the first block up to the top of pitch 5 (above the chimney). The chimney crux (bottom of the chimney) is a littler easier to free, even in approach shoes, otherwise it's awkward to aid. A hook helps some people in the chimney. I've done Moonlight 4 times and would definitely recommend free there, even if for just a short section. If you're going to do it in one block I would plan on having a tag line for the leader to pull up gear otherwise you'll probably run out. Otherwise, it's a relatively easy route to short fix on because it's straight forward aid and the anchors are solid bolts. If you're going in a day, I say leave the belay seat, because you should be moving fairly quickly and ideally both people are moving at the same time a good chunk of the time. Seems like a belay seat would be extra weight and hassle and there are some good ledges and stances along the way. But, I guess it depends on what you mean by "in a day". The upper slab isn't bad, just be ready for a sandy topout. A tri-cam tends to be helpful, in my opinion.

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By BDergay
From Eldorado
Oct 3, 2011
Jayy-Dogg on rappel
Here's the beta for aiding:

Keep 3 aliens (grn, yellow, red) on each aider as you climb. Then just leap-frog the aiders, but don't leave the aliens behind, just keep leap-frogging them while on the aiders- and place a bomber stopper every 15-20 ft or so. The stoppers will be much easier to clean if you don't weight them, just place them for pro.

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By Jesse Ryan
Oct 3, 2011
Psyched or bananas
I did this aid in a day many years back, and myself and my partner were just dabbling in the aid (D7 in CO, Liberty Bell in WA etc). We fixed ropes directly down from the top of the traversing third pitch w/ two ropes. This worked perfectly for getting warmed up and into the action the next morning.

The chimney is just awkward.

On the head wall finger cracks, you can get serious speed by 1) having cams directly on your aiders and plugging away, and or 2) high stepping like crazy by finger jamming the crack. I started to run low on gear here (recommend 6 cams in the big finger sizes) and would be back cleaning gear and occasionally leaving a pink tricam to save my SLCD's for higher up. I'm a huge fan of the tricams and this route sucked them up. I have and used 3 pinks, 2 reds and browns, and singles above.

Wonderful route.

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By ROC
From Englewood, CO
Oct 3, 2011
Did any of you guys/gals have to pass other parties? Never have passed before, but would imagine it might be necessary due to most parties hauling.

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By Michael Schneiter
From Glenwood Springs, CO
Oct 3, 2011
Goofin' on the Grand after soloing the Upper Exum ...
ROC wrote:
Did any of you guys/gals have to pass other parties? Never have passed before, but would imagine it might be necessary due to most parties hauling.


We didn't pass parties but we kicked back and rested on the top of 5 and waited for some parties to move. You'd have to ask nicely to pass as there isn't a way around and things can get cumbersome up there for people hauling. I would definitely recommend trying to preview the route and see who is on it the day(s) before because it can be a clustermess of parties up there.

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By Greg G
From SLC, UT
Oct 3, 2011
The route in it's entirety.
also take into consideration that there are tons of other routes that are perfect for honing your 'in-a-day' tactics in zion. don't get tunnel vision, and just focus on that one route you have stuck in your head. so if you do get skunked on moonlight you won't get all bummed, but instead simply aim for something like touchstone, prodigal sun, monkey finger, space shot, gatekeeper crack, or any other of the 1000ft perfecto routes.

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By ROC
From Englewood, CO
Oct 3, 2011
Thanks for the suggestions everyone. Great to get some advice from folks that have been up there. Also great suggestion on other routes to do. I've done a few on the list, but Moonlight is one of the last trade routes that haven't gone down yet. Been tryin' to do this thing for the past 2 years and have never been able to line up the time, money, or right partner to make it happen. Hopefully soon! Any thoughts on short hauling a small backpack or mini haulbag instead of making the second jug with one?

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By Michael Schneiter
From Glenwood Springs, CO
Oct 3, 2011
Goofin' on the Grand after soloing the Upper Exum ...
ROC wrote:
Any thoughts on short hauling a small backpack or mini haulbag instead of making the second jug with one?


If you're short fixing and going fast then just a Camelbak for the second or maybe a small Camelbak for each climber should be all you need. If you've got enough stuff that you're talking about hauling a mini haulbag then I would say you have too much stuff. In my experience, typical wall in a day teams take a couple liters of water, some simple food and a rain shell/light jacket of some type and that's it. That would include people, myself included, doing stuff on El Cap, something way bigger than Moonlight. Anything more starts slowing you down.

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By John McNamee
Administrator
From Littleton, CO
Oct 3, 2011
Artist Tears P3
If you aren't sure you are going to do it in a day, then climb to the rocker block on one day and rapp off. Come back the next day early and then blast to the top. That way your be ahead of all the other people starting up in the morning. Since it's a day trip you're be able to park at big bend with a permit.

To aid fast, crack jugging as recommended above is the way to go. Simply put a green, yellow, red alien, etc on your ladders and just move them up the crack and place pro every 15 or so.

Gear for a day climb, camelbacks will suffice.

Tag line will be needed to swap gear or you will run out.

Try to do climb it over a weekend.

The groove/cave pitch (it's not really a chimney) is really awkward getting into. Don't go left into the groove until you are high enough so that your hip can scum again the wall. Otherwise it's a a real pain to get established and move upward. There is a wide crack at the back, that takes a no 2 and 3 big bro if you are aiding. Freeing is faster.

Have fun.

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By ROC
From Englewood, CO
Oct 4, 2011
Thanks everyone for the great beta and suggestions!

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By DrApnea
From Wenatchee, WA
Sep 19, 2012
how did the trip go?
Gear list?
Pics?
Things you brought and didn't use?
Things you didn't bring and wish you had?

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By Kyle Jackson
From Las Vegas, nv
Sep 19, 2012
I did it in a day last week. The route wasn't to bad in the sun. Make sure you link the last four pitiches into two or short fix. The chimney looks awkward I didn't lead the pitch but my partner brought a #5 which made aiding the thing not to bad. With out it reaching the bolt would a stretch. Also make sure you move fast to catch the last shuttle or see if their is a way of parking your car at the grotto. It was my second wall and we did it in a group three. With the our third being her first wall so we didn't move to fast. And missed the last shuttle and walked the 5 miles back to the car.  Brought aliens didn't use them once. offset nuts where nice. If linking 6 and 7 make sure you bring as many .5 camalots you can find, had 6 and I was glad to have them.

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By Wally
From Denver
Sep 19, 2012
"Brought aliens didn't use them once."

Kyle - you sure about that statement - you didn't use Aliens once? Wow - for us - Aliens were by far the most prevantly placed piece. You must have had another manufacturer's cams, or relied on the offset nuts you referenced. Any how - the vast majority of folks are gonna want lots of smalls cams for this fantastic line.

Climb Ohn. Wally

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By Kyle Jackson
From Las Vegas, nv
Sep 19, 2012
Ah dang I stand corrected. My partner placed one offset alien on the p2 and then back cleaned it so I didn't see it when I cleaned the pitch. But did the rest of the climb on c3s and c4s with nuts. I can see how offset aliens would be usefull on p8 but we had 1 and 1/2 sets of offset nuts which made the pitch pretty casual with backcleaning. I'm still new to this aid thing and I don't free climb with them so sometimes I find it frustrating finding the right size, and I naturally go for a camalot. And yes Wally you are correct, truly awesome climb that follows a very aesthetic line up the wall! 

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By DrApnea
From Wenatchee, WA
Sep 27, 2012
My partner wants to free up to the rocker block on day one then blast Aid to the top on day 2. How bad would following the 5.11 traverse be for a 5.10 climber in aid gear? Any recs on how to handle this traversing section for leader to free and follower to aid.

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By Brian in SLC
Sep 27, 2012
Climbing in Smuggler's Notch
DrApnea wrote:
My partner wants to free up to the rocker block on day one then blast Aid to the top on day 2. How bad would following the 5.11 traverse be for a 5.10 climber in aid gear? Any recs on how to handle this traversing section for leader to free and follower to aid.


I think if you need to ask that question you need a bit more experience before you try Moonlight in a day...

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By DrApnea
From Wenatchee, WA
Sep 27, 2012
Brian in SLC wrote:
I think if you need to ask that question you need a bit more experience before you try Moonlight in a day...


Seeing as I said I was NOT doing it in a day, I think you should read my entire post before making that comment. This pitch diverges to an aid bolt ladder in one direction, and a free traverse in another. In my experience, following a traverse on aid with widely spaced gear as in free climbing can be annoying. Since I have only seen the topo and not the actual pitch, I just want to know how difficult it is going to be without having to lower off fixed gear the whole way across. We could always just go up the bolt ladder if looking for speed, but like I said before, we are doing this in 2 days and I just wanted to hear from someone that has already tried the traverse with the weight of aid gear and no climbing shoes. ie Is it a sustained pitch, or just a single difficult move.
But thanks for the advice brian...

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By Brian in SLC
Sep 27, 2012
Climbing in Smuggler's Notch
DrApnea wrote:
Seeing as I said I was NOT doing it in a day, I think you should read my entire post before making that comment. This pitch diverges to an aid bolt ladder in one direction, and a free traverse in another. In my experience, following a traverse on aid with widely spaced gear as in free climbing can be annoying. Since I have only seen the topo and not the actual pitch, I just want to know how difficult it is going to be without having to lower off fixed gear the whole way across. We could always just go up the bolt ladder if looking for speed, but like I said before, we are doing this in 2 days and I just wanted to hear from someone that has already tried the traverse with the weight of aid gear and no climbing shoes. ie Is it a sustained pitch, or just a single difficult move. But thanks for the advice brian...


Sorry, didn't mean to come across as snarky.

The free variation traverses way to the right. I'd suggest just having your partner clean that pitch on rap if you're just going to the rockerblock that day.

Or, have him trail the second line and jug on that.

Good luck. Let us know how it goes.

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