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The Monkey Skull

Routes Sorted
L to R R to L Alpha
Amy, Good Gorilla T 
Casual Corner T 
Fever Dance T 
Fringe Dweller T,S,TR 
Hollow Be Thy Name T,S 
Monkey Trial T,S 
Ripple S 
Skull and Bones S 
Summit Block T,S 
Sunshine Dihedral T 
Upside The Cranium S 
Unsorted Routes:
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The Monkey Skull  

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Administrators: Ben Mottinger, Leo Paik, John McNamee, Frances Fierst, Monomaniac, Kristine Hoffman (sitewide)
Submitted By: Richard M. Wright on Jan 1, 2001
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BETA PHOTO: Monkey Skull with [most] routes approximated.


The Monkey Skull is arguably the most popular climbing destination in the SSV canyon. It is a large, West facing plate with a good mix of moderate trad and moderate sport routes. Most of the climbing runs into 5.9 to 5.10+. The Monkey Skull is a good granite crag that picks up afternoon sun, and it has a short approach and enough routes to keep a climbing party busy for a day.

Getting There 

The Monkey Skull is just about 6.5 miles up canyon. Parking can be had on the South side of the road. The crag and the trail up are obvious from the road.

Climbing Season

Weather station 8.9 miles from here

11 Total Routes

['4 Stars',1],['3 Stars',2],['2 Stars',6],['1 Star',2],['Bomb',0]

The Classics

Mountain Project's determination of some of the classic, most popular, highest rated routes for The Monkey Skull:
Casual Corner   5.8+ 5b 16 VI- 15 HVS 4c     Trad, 1 pitch, 80'   
Sunshine Dihedral   5.10a 6a 18 VI+ 18 E1 5a     Trad, 1 pitch, 120'   
Upside The Cranium   5.10c 6b 20 VII 20 E2 5b     Sport, 1 pitch, 100'   
Monkey Trial   5.10c 6b 20 VII 20 E2 5b     Trad, Sport, 1 pitch, 105'   
Fever Dance   5.10c/d 6b+ 21 VII+ 21 E3 5b     Trad, 1 pitch, 100'   
Hollow Be Thy Name   5.10d 6b+ 21 VII+ 21 E3 5b     Trad, Sport, 1 pitch, 90'   
Browse More Classics in The Monkey Skull

Featured Route For The Monkey Skull
A shot of me after finishing the easier lower sect...

Sunshine Dihedral 5.10a 6a 18 VI+ 18 E1 5a  CO : Lyons : ... : The Monkey Skull
This is the beautiful, large, right-facing dihedral to climber's left of Upside The Cranium. The Hubbell guidebook lists this climb as 5.10a/b. We clipped the first two bolts of UTC to protect the start. The majority of the start and lower portion of the dihedral is 5.8/9 climbing easily protected with small / medium gear. Over the last 25-30 feet the dihedral arcs dramatically to the right across a steepening face. This makes for a fairly strenuous jamming / stemming /...[more]   Browse More Classics in CO

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By George Bell
From: Boulder, CO
Jul 28, 2002
Although there is a fairly good trail to the base of this rock, there is tons of poison ivy everywhere along it, so be careful!
By Leo Paik
From: Westminster, Colorado
Jun 17, 2003
Anyone know what the 12 bolt line between Hollow be thy name & Sunshine Dihedral is?
By Crusty
Jun 18, 2003
Leo, see discussion from 5/21/03 under area South Saint Vrain Canyon.
By Anonymous Coward
Jun 26, 2003
Led said 12 bolt route with red hangers yesterday 6/25/03. Might be a cruxy 10c if you stay on route. Stay away from the poison ivy tree, climb the thin face to the left of that bush, climb the crimpers to finger ledge to clip bolt 9 (I think its 9, last bolt before the traverse around the corner to the left). I placed a yellow Flex Friend on the way up the last vertical section, but this was unecessary, just quickdraws is enough gear. The only bolt not worth clipping might be #5, I back-unclipped it to keep drag down. For a minute, It felt like higher 10/11 crimpers, but its over too quickly to increase the grade above 10c...hell, it might even go at 10b if you know what to expect...I will have to climb it again to know for sure, its pretty safe climbing though, give it a try, **.
By paul pomeroy
May 12, 2012
The new line above the second tier is Ripple 11b(?). I put it up early in 2011 if I remember correctly. I never got around to submitting it, but I will now. Fun slab climbing after a tough start. QDs only. Makes a nice addendum to Upside/Sunshine, etc. Enjoy.
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