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Zion: Aid routes that has pitches that go free


Original Post
Jan Tarculas · · Riverside, Ca · Joined Mar 2010 · Points: 808

I don't want to be that guy who goes aids moonlight buttress (do people even do that still?). I know there has been discussions about not aiding it since it goes free. I would love to free the 5.11 and under pitches on moonlight, while he aids up the 5.12 pitches, but again is that looked down upon?

I have never Aid climb before or slept on a portaledge. My buddy who has 10+ years experience, wants to go to zion and show me the ropes. I have a good background on long multipitch routes and want to be able to learn to aid but also free climb some routes/pitches while we are there. That being said, any suggestions on aid routes I should look that that include some pitches that go free in the 5.10 to 5.11- range. Thanks

Phil Sakievich · · Unknown Hometown · Joined Aug 2014 · Points: 105

There are so many...
You should definitely look at touchstone.

Jake wander · · Unknown Hometown · Joined Aug 2014 · Points: 175

youre going to knock aid climbing on moonlight, then go belay an aid climber on it?

also if the rule is "not aiding it since it goes free" then most of the clean aid routes in zion should be off limits to aid climbers. im not saying one should aid moonlight, but just because it goes free (by someone) doesnt mean it shouldnt be aided.

some people look down on aid climbing moonlight, some people dont. youre not going to get a consensus, just a bunch of people arguing about it.

some will say youre ruining the rock. others will say the majority of the ascents are aid.

George Perkins · · The Dungeon, NM · Joined Apr 2006 · Points: 3,130

First, nearly all aid climbs have some pitches that people regularly free, including Moonlight.
However, Moonlight isn't the best choice for free climbing at the grades you indicate you're looking for; the pitches that go free at lower than 5.11+ aren't particularly memorable and no one would climb them except that you have to to do the money pitches of Moonlight. If you do choose to do it, at the level you say you climb, you should probably view it as an aid climb and enjoy it as such [edit to add: you could consider freeing the approach pitches and the last pitch- but, I don't think people are too worked up about erosion on those pitches compared to the classic 5.12s]. I expect that, here on MP, you'll see: (1) mixed impressions here on whether it's ethically appropriate to aid Moonlight and whether it's ethically appropriate to haul/bivi on Moonlight, followed by (2) commentary on the relative impact that free climbers have on the route, especially those that rap and project it. Most importantly, IMO, regardless of what style you climb it in, is (3) be courteous and cooperative with other parties, especially those who are trying to climb the route in a single day, who can be completely shut down and have their trip focused on climbing this world-class climb spoiled by a slow party.

I'll also add that if you're an experienced 5.10/11 trad climber and put in a couple of days of practice aiding and jugging before attempting it, you can quite likely climb Moonlight in-a-day, or in-a-day fixed from the rocker block. Then you won't need to haul or bivi- reducing your impact and making you faster.

Touchstone, Monkeyfinger, and Tricks all have a lot of stellar 5.10-5.11 climbing, with a small number of harder (or aid) pitches. With no personal experience on them, I'd also posit that Spaceshot, or some of the East Temple or Watchman routes might also possibly fit the bill for you.

[Previous typical discussions on the topic here:]
mountainproject.com/v/moonl…
mountainproject.com/v/befor…

ROC · · Englewood, CO · Joined Feb 2003 · Points: 205

Learn to aid and get all of your systems dialed in before you go out there. You'll have a better time and won't slow down other parties.

Also agree that Touchstone would be a good option. Lots of free pitches under 5.11. Just as a quick side note, sandy Zion 5.11 isn't like 5.11 in a lot of other places. Maybe get a day of cragging under your belt out there before you try freeing the longer stuff just to get feel for it. I remember being shocked at the sand factor my first time out there.

Have fun, that place is amazing!!!

Jan Tarculas · · Riverside, Ca · Joined Mar 2010 · Points: 808
Jake wander wrote:youre going to knock aid climbing on moonlight, then go belay an aid climber on it? also if the rule is "not aiding it since it goes free" then most of the clean aid routes in zion should be off limits to aid climbers. im not saying one should aid moonlight, but just because it goes free (by someone) doesnt mean it shouldnt be aided. some people look down on aid climbing moonlight, some people dont. youre not going to get a consensus, just a bunch of people arguing about it. some will say youre ruining the rock. others will say the majority of the ascents are aid.
I wasn't trying to knock it. It was more of questions regarding the ethics of free climbing this iconic route that use to be an aid route, especially in this given area. I've climbed the Original Route on rainbow wall in Red Rock, which use to be an aid route and I wouldn't care if people still aided it. I've just read people look down upon aiding free routes in given areas.
Jan Tarculas · · Riverside, Ca · Joined Mar 2010 · Points: 808
George Perkins wrote:First, nearly all aid climbs have some pitches that people regularly free, including Moonlight. However, Moonlight isn't the best choice for free climbing at the grades you indicate you're looking for; the pitches that go free at lower than 5.11+ aren't particularly memorable and no one would climb them except that you have to to do the money pitches of Moonlight. If you do choose to do it, at the level you say you climb, you should probably view it as an aid climb and enjoy it as such. I expect that, here on MP, you'll see: (1) mixed impressions here on whether it's ethically appropriate to aid Moonlight and whether it's ethically appropriate to haul/bivi on Moonlight, followed by (2) commentary on the relative impact that free climbers have on the route, especially those that rap and project it. Most importantly, IMO, regardless of what style you climb it in, is (3) be courteous and cooperative with other parties, especially those who are trying to climb the route in a single day, who can be completely shut down and have their trip focused on climbing this world-class climb spoiled by a slow party. I'll also add that if you're an experienced 5.10/11 trad climber and put in a couple of days of practice aiding and jugging before attempting it, you can quite likely climb Moonlight in-a-day, or in-a-day fixed from the rocker block. Then you won't need to haul or bivi- reducing your impact and making you faster. Touchstone, Monkeyfinger, and Tricks all have a lot of stellar 5.10-5.11 climbing, with a small number of harder (or aid) pitches. With no personal experience on them, I'd also posit that Spaceshot, or some of the East Temple or Watchman routes might also possibly fit the bill for you.
This is exactly the response I was looking for. Thanks
Guideline #1: Don't be a jerk.

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