Type: Trad, Aid, 1200 ft, 10 pitches, Grade V
FA: Jeff Lowe & Mike Weis - Oct. 1971
Page Views: 125,709 total · 610/month
Shared By: Casey Bernal on May 24, 2002
Admins: Andrew Gram, Nathan Fisher, Perin Blanchard, grk10vq

You & This Route

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Access Issue: Seasonal Raptor Closures ***** RAIN AND WET ROCK ***** The sandstone in Zion is fragile and is very easily damaged when it is wet. Holds rip off and climbs have been and will continue to be permanently damaged due to climbers not respecting this phenomenon. After a heavy storm the rock will remain wet, sometimes for several days. PLEASE DO NOT CLIMB IN ZION during or after rain. A good rule of thumb is that if the ground near your climb is at all damp (and not powdery dry sand), then do not climb. There are many alternatives (limestone, granite, basalt, and plastic) nearby. Seasonal Raptor Closures Details


This route is great. The line can be spotted from the road as a distinct dihedral with a roof/chimney at the top that runs up just past half way. The rock looks blank above that but a beautiful, direct, crack system runs almost the whole way up. This is a great easy aid route or a hardcore free climb on beautiful crack systems.

The belays are all bolted and the bolts are in great condition (thanks to the ASCA, I think). A hammer is nice for cleaning but do not nail anything on the route.

The start is a pain in the ass. On the far left side of the 3rd class ledges, locate a right angling ramp. It is somewhat obvious.

P1 (5.8+, ~200') Climb the ramp, step right, and follow short hand cracks to the bolt anchors. Pull up the haul line and throw it down to the pig. This is the worst hauling on the route (except the top).

There is a direct 5.10 variation that would make this much easier. This pitch is not so well protected but it is not too bad.

P2 (C1, ~100') Traverse far right and start aiding up the shallow right facing dihedral just after a small roof. Follow the crack system to a nice belay ledge in an acute dihedral with a bolt anchors.

This pitch could be free climbed at 5.10.

P3 (C1, ~100') The angling bolt ladder. Mostly QDs and a hook. Walk right on the ledge and stretch up to the first clip. Follow the line of bolts and drilled pins to where there are two pins next to each other.

From here we believe you do a free move then hook move to the next bolt. We decided it would be faster to do a long stick clip with the pole from the ledge's fly. We were told by a party later that the day before the pin had pulled or fell out so they hammered it back in. What ever you do here be careful as it is not a good pin at all. It is dead vertical so the fall is clean but it would be long and involve a swing.

This pitch ends on the rocker block with bolt anchors.

P4 (C1+, ~180') The Grand Dihedral. Clip two bolts and enjoy leap frogging cams up the steepening dihedral. This a beautiful pitch; long, so have plenty of carabiners and cams/nuts to take you the whole way (or back clean). Have the #2 and #3 cams for the couple of wider parts.

This is the first of the hanging belays from bolts.

P5 (C1+, ~150') Continue up the steep dihedral and decipher the step left on a hook. We used the big bros to aid the initial part of the chimney/v-slot and they worked great.

Follow the shallow dihedral system for another long pitch to an awesome ledge. There is a series of bolts along this ledge to accommodate bivies. A double portaledge is nice for comfort but one could sleep on the natural ledge. (Aahhhhh...sleep!)

P6 (C1, ~100') The beginning of the nice splitter crack system. OK stance, bolt anchors.

P7 (C1, ~100') Same stuff. Decent stance, bolt anchors.

P8 (C1+, ~100') The rock here turns into a rather broken crack system for a little ways. Watch where you place gear because some of the blocks seemed loose (although they didn't move).

Somewhat tricky; hanging belay, bolt anchors.

P9 (C1 5.7, ~130') Continue up the splitter clack system to a small roof with hand-sized pro. This can be free climbed at 5.10.

Arrive at a small ledge with the final 5.7 slabs. Belay here or run up the scary slabs. We belayed here and brought up the second to finish up the slabs.

The 5.7 slab is about thirty feet long and there are about two pro placements (red cam and red alien). Traverse right, up, back left, up to the top. It would be very scary without rock shoes. There are a couple of trees to belay off of on top.

When hauling at the top, it would be best to extend the tie-in to be over the lip. Otherwise you will only get it up with a Z-pulley and you will deepen the grooves in the lip. Be ready for the gawking tourists as the trail is only about 100 feet away.

For the meat of the route you don't need any hand-sized or larger gear (#1 cam and up) except for the 5.10 pitches and the chimney. Most of the pitches are TCUs and nuts and an occasional small hand-sized piece.

It would have been nice to leave the hand-sized pieces in the top of the pig and tag them up when needed. Be ready for the typical free move in the middle of an aid pitch.

If you know what you are doing it would be reasonable to do it in a day. You can fix lines down the rap route from the rocker block with 2 ropes. You can bivy on the rocker block but the best one is at the top of P5. There are no other good places to bivy as they are all hanging belays.

The route gets morning sun and is shaded after about 2pm or so.


Lots of TCUs, especially red and yellow aliens. We had six of each and were pretty comfortable. You could do with less, but at least triples, and at least doubles in the other TCUs. Narrower brands are nicer because they are all pin-scarred placements.

Doubles in cams to a #3. Double set of stoppers with triples from #6 to #11. Offsets would be useful.

Big Bros 2 and 3; maybe 4 also. 2 Hooks.

Small tricams and a set of hexes to fill it up.

One portaledge. One pig. One gallon H2O/person/day. Stick clip. Belay seat.

Do not use camhooks.
We did this route a couple of weeks ago, and it was fabulous. We short-fixed, leading in two blocks of five pitches, and summitted in six and a half hours. It's a great route for speed. Since every piece is bomber, you can leapfrog and backlean to your heart's content. While leading pitch 6 I used nothing but orange tcu's, the same size for a whole freakin' pitch! Phenomenal! Anyway, I highly recommend this route, it was as good as I hoped it would be. Jan 2, 2003
Will Cobb
Flagstaff, AZ
Will Cobb   Flagstaff, AZ
I would rank this route as the best I have ever climbed. The rock quality is excellent, the position is awesome, and the exposure on the final hanging belay still makes my stomach turn. :)

As far as I can remember the pitch by pitch description listed above is pretty much right on. I don't remember any hook moves, but I wasn't really looking for them either. The Big Bros that are on the gear list are not necessary, but would make aiding the chimney pitch far more enjoyable than my experience. The three pitches above the bivi ledge are stellar. The 5.12 trad climber shouldn't miss these. I can only imagine their quality and continue my jealousy. :) Every belay is equipped with at least two bomber bolts, which makes anchors and hauling easy.

For me, the rope drag on the last pitch was pretty bad. It made the 5.7 slab moves a little more exciting than they should have been. Definitely extend your hauling anchor over the lip at the top. This will make your life, and that of the rock at the lip of the cliff top, 1000% better.

Have a great time on this classic. :) Jul 22, 2003
Excellent route...best I've ever done!

Couple things:

The bolts on the bolt ladder are all bomb now...no manky pins. You still have an interesting section of aid/free stuff halfway through the bolt ladder.

This route can be done in 7 pitches or 7 1/2 if you dont like the slabs at the top. Climb as described to the bivy ledge. From there, its two to the top. Both are full 200' lengths. Or, you can belay on a small ledge at the bottom of the slabs and have some moral support for the last 30'.

Feb 11, 2004
I climbed Moonlight in early May. Some of the webbing on the anchors is in fairly poor shape. A thoughtful individual might consider replacing some of it. Jun 1, 2004
M. Morley
Sacramento, CA
M. Morley   Sacramento, CA  
FA: Jeff Lowe & Mike Weis - Oct. 1971
FFA: Peter Croft & Johnny Woodward - Apr. 1992 Nov 4, 2004
dain charette
South Lake
dain charette   South Lake
How big is the ledge at the top of pitch 5. Basically how comfortable would the ledge be to sleep on for 2 people without a portaledge?

Apr 25, 2006
Will Cobb
Flagstaff, AZ
Will Cobb   Flagstaff, AZ

Sleeping on the "bivi" ledge without a port-a-ledge will suck. At the bare minimum take a single ledge and whoever leads the pitch up to the bivi ledge (through the thrash chimney) gets to sleep in it. The best idea is to borrow, buy, or rent a double ledge or two singles. You will enjoy your night much more. However if that isn't possible, then fix to the rocker block on day one and descend to the ground. Come back the next day and blast the route in a day.

Have fun. It really is one of the best routes I have ever climbed.

WC Apr 30, 2006
Leave the stick clip at home...just stand up in those aiders like a man! (or woman!) Mar 13, 2007
SAL   broomdigiddy
anyone know if hauling from rocker blocker in two pitches is do-able? Mar 23, 2007
Michael Schneiter
Glenwood Springs, CO
Michael Schneiter   Glenwood Springs, CO
Yes, you can haul to the rocker blocker in two pitches. Apr 3, 2007
John McNamee
Littleton, CO
John McNamee   Littleton, CO  
Supertopo Topo Sep 16, 2007
Please don't use Bigwall.com Topo as a source. They recommend cam hooks which are not necessary. They damage the rock. Dec 9, 2007
BJ Sbarra
Carbondale, CO
BJ Sbarra   Carbondale, CO
FYI, at the hanging belay on top of pitch 8, there is a bolt out right of the other three that wiggles quite a bit more than you'd want at a hanging stance. Nov 17, 2008
Lynn S
Lynn S  
Thanks BJ and Steve for helping get me up the route, it was great fun! Amazing position, great rock and relatively easy approach(with low water) made this a great intro to climbing in Zion for me, will be back in the Spring for another route. Nov 19, 2008
John McNamee
Littleton, CO
John McNamee   Littleton, CO  
One of the bolts that link the rocker block to the wall has pulled out. Apr 30, 2009
k. riemondy
Denver, Co
k. riemondy   Denver, Co
The route goes nicely in 7 pitches. Link p6 and p7, and p8 and p9 with a 60 meter rope. Bring extra yellow and orange tcus (or equivalent). Nov 27, 2009
Jay 1975
Bonedale, CO
Jay 1975   Bonedale, CO
awsome free route! please dont use cam hooks! Jan 28, 2010
Greg Howland  
Just got off Moonlight last week. On the route 3/17-18/2011. Gear list above seems a bit excessive. We used:

2x #1 Metolius
4x #2 Metolius
4x #3 Metolius
3x .5 Black Diamond
2x .75-2 Black Diamond
1 Set of BD Stoppers Doubled from 8-11
1 Set DMM Alloy Offsets
0/1-2/3 Offset Metolius (Wish we also had 3/4 though)
Used a Tricam and Red Ball Nut on P2 but could have easily gone without them
No need for a hook

Partner linked P8 and P9. He said rope drag was extremely bad because of it. 6 and 7 would be a breeze though (back clean your heart out up there). Gear exists on the "runout slab" up top. I think a #1 and #2 BD were placed and weren't even far apart. Really sandy up there though. Hauling was a breeze on pretty much every pitch first 3 and last one were worse than others but bag only got hung up maybe once. The Bivy ledge on top of P5 would be just fine for 1 but would be interesting with 2 people but not the worst thing ever. Everything was as described when we did it. All the bolts were there and the anchors all had at least 3 bolts with the exception of the first pitch which has a great place for pro right next to it. The bolt ladder on P3 did have a few pins on it as of 3/17/11.

Go get after it and enjoy the climb. Such a classic route!!!

Greg Mar 24, 2011
Tommey-James   Boulder,Colorado
How many of the C1 pitches can go free at 12a or lower? Mar 30, 2011
Andrew Gram
Salt Lake City, UT
Andrew Gram   Salt Lake City, UT  
Phill T
Phill T  
The supertopo topo linked above is spot on, but I'll add two things. First, there are two sets of anchors at the end of P1. The wrong set is high and left if you miss the step across, the correct set is by the tree on a nice comfy ledge just right of the crack. You cannot see the correct anchors until you are on top of them, but you can see the other anchors, so don't get suckered in and go too high like we did! On the supertopo this is the 'no!' on p1.

2nd bit, there are unmarked bolted anchors at the very top of the climb 2 feet before you pull the lip to the summit trees. I'd take a wager these were installed to facilitate hauling and not groove the lip any more than it is. Again, you cant see them when you start the 5.7 face moves, but they are up there.

Sun Exposure: 9/24/11, the sun started hitting the top of the climb around 9am, and went into the shade around 3:30-4 depending on your elevation.

Approach: apparently no one else had problems with this, but we sure did. Firstly, make sure you are looking at the correct buttress... we mistakenly went up to Megamahedral first (the prominent buttress closest to big bend, climbers left of Moonlight). The approach trail for moonlight starts across the river and is best marked by a big flipping rock in the river, about the size of a bus. Its the only one around. trail starts 10 feet downstream. Sep 26, 2011
Few comments:

-P3 has a free move halfway through bolt ladder. Committing move onto a small ledge (approach shoes are fine for this pitch).
-P5 is the most difficult, one number 5 purple BD cam makes getting to the bolt in the chimney easy. otherwise it's either free climbing or stick clip, there is evidence of people desperately trying to hook blown out pods.
-You can't bring too many .5 purple Camalots. (we had six)
-Extra .3 and .4 camalots are handy
-No need for a number 4 camalot, and doubles yellow and blue (2 and 3) are sufficient.
-Offset cams not necessary (perhaps useful), we climbed with only C3 and C4 black diamonds and double offset alloys and had no trouble
-Approach shoes are fine for the 20 foot slab climbing to the summit. One red camalot for protection Sep 15, 2012
Wenatchee, WA
  5.10- C1+
DrApnea   Wenatchee, WA
  5.10- C1+
-P1: Do the 5.10 pitch variation. I followed it in approach shoes without difficulty.
-P5: Chimney pitch is awkward if getting into it low. after flailing down low, I ended up getting back out of it and getting high up by the anchors before re-entering it. This sets you up to free climb to the bolt, or french free by pulling on a tipped out BD#4 or properly fit #5.
-Gear: If aggressively back cleaning cams triples would be enough, even for the #0.5 pitch. Just hand place offset nuts for pro. Offset cams were helpful higher up on the route, but not required as passive offsets worked well there too. No hook moves necessary on the route, (and I love hook moves so I was looking). We didn't bring tricams, bigbros, or ball nuts either.
-You can never have too much water. 1gal/person/day seemed about right, but don't urinate off the wall because climbers are directly below you. This seems obvious, but apparently some people need reminding :( Oct 8, 2012
Daniel S
Oklahoma City
  5.8 C1
Daniel S   Oklahoma City
  5.8 C1
Bring two purple link cams and hook them to your aiders and this will get you up 90% of pitches 4-9 (don't set them as pro). Place other sized gear as you cross spots for them every 15 feet or so. Only bring one #3, and #4. Don’t set them as pro; back clean them and use again as needed. Nov 26, 2012
There was a brief comment about bivying on the rocker-block, can two people bivy on it without a portaledge? Would both be able to lay down, or would one have to sleep sitting up? Does anybody a have a good picture of the top of the rocker-block? Feb 4, 2014
Greg Gavin
  5.8 C1
Greg Gavin   SLC, UT
  5.8 C1
I'm guessing those eluding to a bivy at the block slept in a portaledge as the rocker block is only 5 ft x 3 ft. The best natural bivy low on the route is the ledge before the bolt ladder. Feb 9, 2014
20 kN    
Note that you cannot rap this route with a single 70m. You either need two 50s or one 80m. Sep 16, 2015
Ryan Hamilton
  5.8 C1+
Ryan Hamilton   Orem
  5.8 C1+
Rad route that amped up my my aid game. My partner thought P1 felt like 5.8+ slab, with a couple of heady runouts. The roof on P2 gave me a hard time. Not sure how anyone else got through it, but I had used a Metolius 00 that held me, but apparently fell out by the time my partner got to it. Thin aid seam up beyond, but got better after the roof. P4 and P6 both great cracks that used mostly Purple C4 (.5)cams. We had 5 or 6 and could have easily used 12, even with ample back cleaning.

P8, the nutting pitch, is really that, mostly small nuts, with bigger nuts sitting in shallow placements likely to pull out when you move above. Shallow pods that almost never held a cam so just find a nut placement and keep going.

Hauling on 1-3 does suck, and DEFINITELY use the lower anchors to haul on top of 9, instead of the tree. Even then you have to watch that your rope doesn't get sucked into deep grooves where the slab starts or your bag will get really stuck there too. Nov 4, 2015
AL .
AL .   UT
Just want to say that this route is NOT THE PLACE TO LEARN HOW TO AID CLIMB! A party of three has literally spent the last three days on the wall and has yet to finish the grand dihedral. Do yourself a favor; Skip the haul bags, free climb at least 5.10 and do it in a day. Nov 21, 2015
from a lot of comments ive read, i should bring a ton of extra purple c4s. supertopo guidebook claims one should bring an extra 0.6in cam which would be an extra grey.

can anyone confirm that it is an extra purple and not an extra grey? thanks. Sep 23, 2016
greg t
Chevy, Silverado
greg t   Chevy, Silverado
I would never say don't aid this route, but please don't make this your first aid route. Learn to be smooth an efficient first, it'll be less damaging to the rock. And don't bounce test c1. complete waist of time.
A good write up on this subject by Andrew Bisharat
eveningsends.com/when-do-ai… Dec 5, 2016
Levi Call
Moab Utah
Levi Call   Moab Utah
A route of this grade, quality, and sustained difficulty is unique and highly valued by free climbers. There are other options for aid routes in Zion which are not freeable or are far less classic and offer equal opportunity for epic views and a quality venue. Please consider the long term affects aid climbing has before doing Moonlight. If your experience still tells you that aiding this route is sustainable to the rock please be considerate to those who are dedicated enough to the sport to be free climbing this route. Remember, you are doing the easiest grade of aid on one of the hardest and sustained free routes. Hold yourself to the standards you would expect others to if you had to depend on each detail of the crack on the same scale as someone who's just using their fingers and toes to go up. May 7, 2017
My 2 cents on the pitch 5 chimney; don't aid the first 20 ish feet in the chimney. Clip 1x .2-.4, 2x .5-.75, and 1,2,3 and a 5 to your harness with a couple shoulder length draws and a qd, then free climb that sucker. It's easyish if you don't have a huge aid rack on your back (also you'll be less likely to have crap unclip from your rack while thrashing around inside) Once out of the chimney have your partner tag the rest of the rack up to you on the haul line and blast off. Although, this is assuming you start off the anchor right below the chimney. Great first wall for anyone getting into the sport. Mar 12, 2018
AL .
AL .   UT
If you absolutely MUST aid this route PLEASE PLEASE PLEASE realize that it is totally reasonable to do in a day. Hauling is causing unnecessary damage to the fragile sandstone. If you arent confident that you can do it in a day then please go practice on one of the plethora of other quality beginner aid routes in Big Bend first. Also, YOU DON'T NEED TO BOUNCE TEST CAMS!!!! This practice is absolutely destructive to the crack and the widening is getting out of control. 15 years ago it was a proud 513 requiring many .1 size cams, now its a soft 512 requiring red C3's at the smallest. Respect this beautiful feature. You'll find a better aiding challenge on spaceshot or prodigal sun as well as climb more moderate free terrain. IMHO people need to begin considering respecting this line as a free route as they do Astroman. Apr 22, 2018
Gee Dubble
5.12b C0
Gee Dubble  
5.12b C0
Because aid ascents continue to make the crack wider, more quickly than free ascents, I would like to see the aid rating removed. V 5.12b May 4, 2018
Ranger Matt
Yosemite NP
Ranger Matt   Yosemite NP
Climbed this last weekend (5/12/18). We brought two #4 C4s but there were too small, never even placed them on the 5th pitch chimney part. A #5 would work (if we brought one), but I was able to half ass free climb up to the bolt (bring a stiffy draw for this part if you are short, Im 6'4''). If I were to climb this again I wouldn't bring anything bigger than a #3. Two 2s and two 3s are nice to have, bring as many Purple (.5s) C4s as you can get you grubby mits on for this one. You'll save time not having to think too hard about back cleaning or not.

Stellar climb in a spectacular position!
M@ May 14, 2018