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, has a short approach, and enough routes to keep a climbing party busy for a day.
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.
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
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, **.
There is what looks like a moderately new bolt line on the second tier (i.e., above Upside the Cranium) leading to the skull (maybe for "Alvino's Variation," as in the BG guide?). I did not notice the bolts when I was up there last year, although they could have been there.... Any info from those who know? The guide doesn't mention bolts.
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.