Adventure Projects is hiring a web engineer to join us in Boulder, CO
Mountain Project Logo

Routes in Moonlight Buttress

Looney Tunes 5.10 6b 20 VII- 19 E2 5b A2+
Lunar Ecstasy 5.10 6b 20 VII- 19 E2 5b C2+
Moonlight Buttress (Clean Aid), The T 5.8 5b 16 VI- 15 HVS 4c C1
Moonlight Buttress (Free), The T 5.12+ 7c 28 IX 27 E6 6b
Sheer Lunacy T 5.11 6c+ 23 VIII- 23 E4 5c C1
Sheer Lunacy (Free) T 5.12 7b+ 27 VIII+ 26 E6 6b
Order Wrong? Sort Routes
Type: Aid, 9 pitches, Grade V
FA: Linus Platt and Brad Quinn, April 1992
Page Views: 20,513 total · 107/month
Shared By: Michael Schneiter on Dec 11, 2002
Admins: Andrew Gram, Nathan Fisher, Perin Blanchard, grk10vq

You & This Route

43 Opinions

Your To-Do List:

Add To-Do · View List

Your Star Rating:

     Clear Rating

Your Difficulty Rating:

-none- Change

Your Ticks:

Add New Tick
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 is a great clean aid line to the left of the Moonlight Buttress route. A beautiful, straight-up line with lots of good nutting and tricky clean aid. The original first two pitches are loose and not recommended. Pitches 1 and 2 follow Moonlight Buttress. Leave bags below the anchors of pitch 1 where the 5.10 variation goes.

P1 (5.8) Start way left and scramble up 3rd class ledges and toss rope around bushes. Belayer needs to go up a few ledges (about 20 feet) so that 60 meter rope will reach anchors.

P2 (5.10 or C1) Traverse right and throw overhang with small gear. Follow crack to anchors below large, closed-book corner. Don't haul on pitch 2, just drag haul line up P2 and P3 then easy haul from anchors on top of P3.

P3 (5.10 or C1) Moonlight goes right, Lunar goes left up through large, flared chimney with a good crack in back. Good free climbing, much easier than aiding.

P4 (5.9 C1) Can be done in two sections; not a bad idea due to rope drag. From ledge ascend obvious crack (5.9) to mantle, traverse right ~15-20 feet to bolt and beginning of C1 and the Halfmoon Traverse. If done in two sections can easily belay from nice ledge above mantle and haul all of pitch as one.

P5 (C2) Begins the real meat of the route. Some fixed pieces to a Steep, thin crack. Hanging belay.

P6 (C2) Pitch is called "Leapfrogging Aliens" and that's what you do. Steep, thin crack. Hanging belay.

P7 (C2+) Same thing - steep, thin crack, this time broken by the Amoeba, a large mass of rock mysteriously clinging to rock face. The top of the pitch has dicey, sandy, mandatory 5.7 move to anchors.

P8 (5.8 C1) From belay ledge carefully free climb (5.8) up sandy rock steps to crack. Possible to place small gear in horizontal crack. Easy C1 up crack takes you to huge ledge.

P9 Two options: The original finish goes up right from multi-bolt anchor and has loose sections with mandatory free climbing. The Jarrett Finish (recommended) starts from the left side of the large ledge from the two bolt anchor.

P9 Jarrett Variation (C1) Loose C1 at start to bomber, steep, and exposed C1 for bulk of route. Finishes at two bolt anchor at lip. Can back up bolts with extra lead line tied to tree. Bring bags and follower(s) up to two-bolt station first. Then, make easy work bringing pigs and people over lip.

Bivy Huge ledge on top of Pitch 3 with 1 distanced pin, three equalized bolts, and one distanced bolt. Good for two portaledges.

Good ledge on top of pitch 4 with three equalized bolts and additional bolt for portaledge. Best suited for one portaledge.

Pitch 7 is okay bivy with three or four bolts and one pin. Easy to set up two ledges.

Huge, monstrous ledge on top of pitch 8; two bolts on left side of ledge and multiple anchors on right (2 or 3 pins and 3 or 4 bolts). Great for multiple ledges.

Ledge on top of pitch 3 could be slept on without portaledge, although uncomfortably. Pitch 8 would be a great sleeper ledge without portaledge.



Offset aliens and nuts work great. Multiple sets of aliens, as many as five per certain sizes. Up to #4 Camalot with 1 each #3, 3-1/2, & 4. 2 sets ball nuts. Didn't need hooks. 60 meter ropes recommended.


Hike up and right from tree to canyon rim and you can easily spot the paved trail that takes you to the Grotto Picnic area.
Such a pretty route. Did it in the winter and it was pretty cold, but it gets some sun during the day. Oct 28, 2004
Will Cobb
Flagstaff, AZ
Will Cobb   Flagstaff, AZ
This is a great climb. Great exposure, nice belays, and engaging climbing make this one of the best routes I have climbed in Zion.

We took two sets of HB off-set nuts which, with a little back cleaning, turned out to be enough. Off-set Aliens were also helpful.

We climbed the original finish and thought that it was pretty cool. The last few moves are dicey as the rock is a little soft and the pin scars are pretty boxed out.

Once I get them developed and scanned, I will add a few photos. Apr 1, 2005
Michael Schneiter
Glenwood Springs, CO
Michael Schneiter   Glenwood Springs, CO
I heard the tale of somebody that went up Lunar X with a crowbar and tried to pry off the Amoeba. I don't know the details, but I got a good laugh out of the thought. Apr 6, 2005
Sam Lightner, Jr.
Lander, WY
Sam Lightner, Jr.   Lander, WY
The first bolt off the belay ledge ont the old A4 pitch (#5) is really scary, and a fall would hurt. A lot.I did the Jarret Finish. THe last bolt on it, which is a real reach to clip, is a 3/8 in a 3/4 inch hole... its just barely cammed in there. The top of this pitch felt as hard as any of the c2 ont he route.I used my HB offsets more than my alien offsets. May 14, 2005
J. Thompson
denver, co
J. Thompson   denver, co
Just did this route last week- Feb. 2006. Couple of things...the description above list's the wrong pitch as the "leapfrogging aliens" pitch it is actually pitch 6(the next pitch). I found pitch 5 to be the crux, which is the pitch leading off "farewell ledge". The first bolt didn't seem bad to me, but the moves off the top of the bolt ladder were defiantly the crux of the route. I found a red Tri-cam to be the key...without it I could not have done this pitch. Thought it was C2+/C3- It seemed like maybe some of these placements were getting worn out?
After that pitch I thought pitch the next 2 pitch's were no harder than C1+/ big deal really. A talon hook was key for 2 bat hook moves one around the amoeba, and one near the top of that pitch- both are marked on the topo from
We took a double set of HB brassies and used mostly the bigger ones...we were quite surprised at how little we actually needed the offsets..however they were key in a couple of spots. We did not have any of the large offsets's and it didn't matter. Offset aliens were nice a couple of places.
A very fun route!

josh Feb 26, 2006
SAL   broomdigiddy
anyone know if loweballz are necessary to complete the route??? Aug 15, 2007
Michael Schneiter
Glenwood Springs, CO
Michael Schneiter   Glenwood Springs, CO
Lowe Balls are not necessary but you may find them useful depending on what else you bring. Of course with any route, the recommended gear list will vary from person to person. I repeated this route last spring and I don't think we used, or brought Lowe Balls, although we had a number of offset nuts. Aug 16, 2007
Jesse Zacher
Grand Junction, Co
Jesse Zacher   Grand Junction, Co  
Last bolt/pin on the Jarrett finish is gone. It is possible if you are taller to top step and get a .5 in a horizontal crack. No need for ball nuts. A Talon hook helped a lot on the crux section of pitch 5 off of farewell ledge. Mar 13, 2008
Great, steep, clean route! With the new DMM aluminum offsets, it's pretty much all C1. Except for the few moves off the bolt ladder on P5. Be sure to wear your free climbing shoes on the thought provoking Amoeba pitch. And the missing last bolt on the Jarrett finish is no problem - there are plenty of options. Apr 28, 2008
Brian Sadowsky
salt lake city
Brian Sadowsky   salt lake city
Beautiful route with some classic pitches. I don't think the route would go clean without tricams, aliens, or offset nuts. P5 was the crux---after the drilled angles and bolts I thought the gear was quite tricky(and your above a ledge). I would suggest C3 possibly for this pitch. I also did not place any cam larger than #3 camalot (I brought old 3.5 and 4 camalot). I had a hook and was happy about that. The DMM aluminum offsets would be nice, but it still would NOT make the route C1. The mandatory free climbing was not too bad, 5.8? at the most. I thought the Jarret finish was one of the best pitches on the route! Have fun out there. Sep 5, 2008
Fort Collins, CO
climber73   Fort Collins, CO
If you're shorter (I'm 5'9") you'll have no chance of reaching the .5 camalot placement on the Jarret finish. There are several options to get from the bolt to the cam placement... keep your hooks handy...

We took 3 sets of micro thru large DMM offsets up with us along with a set of tricams and lots of small cams. Didn't need the ballnuts. Did take 2 hooks with us and used them both a couple of times. A handful of screamers were nice to have in a few places.

Great route!! Enjoy! Nov 5, 2008
Luke Malatesta
Moab Utah
Luke Malatesta   Moab Utah
Classic Route...One of the best I have done in Zion..
Direct start was super cool...

Third Pitch is awkward as hell to aid (Talon useful)...

The Half Moon Traverse (pitch 4) seemed harder than the topo indicated (we counted less bolts than shown on the topo)

Old "crux" pitch was NTB...tricams and a hook were key..Nice spread for a ledge here.

"Alien Leapfrog" pitch seemed longer than 120'.

The "Amoeba pitch" goes well with thin brass offsets and a bathook hole (when you are stumped feel around..Hard to see)...The free climbing was NTB...decent stance here.

Pitch 8 went quickly...

Jarret Finish is steep and fun....Many, many gold aliens, Final bolt is gone..hooks and horizontal...Good bolts @ lip.

We used:
2-3 sets Brass HB
2-3 Sets Aluminum DMM Offsets
pink, red, brown tricam
2 sets offset aliens (yellow green was the MVP)
hooks (Talon and filed Cliffhanger)
1 #3 splitter 2cam
2 set large aliens
2-3 set small aliens
1-2 #2 & #3 camalots
#4 Camalot optional (could easily do with out it)

We brought a lot of shit,took our time, ate, drank, and slept well...Great Vacation..

Route gets a good amount of sun (esp the upper half) Dec 3, 2008
SAL   broomdigiddy
Super good route. Everything was straight forward and as expected. We spent one night on the wall 2 pitches from the top. The jarret finish was super fun. steep and great positioning. the missing bolt just added some fun as the gear going out the roof is great and a fall off of a hook move or two would only be a sweet ride over 1200ft of fun. Add this route to your list as it should not be missed. Feb 3, 2009
John Widerman
Minturn, CO
John Widerman   Minturn, CO
The top out on the Jarrett finish is all worn out now. I feel as if it is getting necessary to put in a new bolt were one once existed. The entire ledge system that once supported hook moves is completely rounded off. Made for a very large headache at the end of a very long day. I assume this is from the last 2 years of hook moves in between the last post and this one. Apr 22, 2011
John McNamee
Littleton, CO
John McNamee   Littleton, CO  
FFA Apr 25, 2011
Colten L
Moab, UT
Colten L   Moab, UT
Amazing route!
1st pitch: Easy 5.10 variation

Pitch 2-3: There was a slow party on the shared 2nd pitch, so I climbed straight up from the top of the first pitch. I believe this is an established variation, but it didn't look like many people have climbed it. The variation felt 5.10+, very sandy in some spots. The great thing about this variation, is that it bypasses the original 3rd pitch.

4th pitch: The half moon traverse; Easy C1/C2. Bivied at the farewell ledge. (Wonderful Exposure)

5th Pitch: pins to a few pods that are completely worn out. Bypassed by stick clipping a pecker! Very thin! Brass offsets, hb offsets are key! C2+/C3-

6th pitch: I believe this was the pitch where I leapfrogged my C3 #0, 1 and 2. Offsets weren't as useful because it was more splitter than flare. C1+

7th Pitch: IDK how the amoeba is still attached to the wall!! There are a few good size death blocks on top of the amoeba that moved every time I tried to aid/free past them. Sketch!
The remainder of the pitch after the amoeba is very thin, flared, worn out and sandy. I had to make a couple funky aid/free moves 30 feet up from the amoeba; this was the crux for me, mentally and physically (I used ball nuts, hooks, tricams and other stuff to figure out this spot (C3-?)
The MP beta says there are mandatory free moves to the anchor, this is not true. I placed a yellow Totem cam that had one lobe bearly engaged, and standing in the top step on the tips of my toes (I'm 5'9"), I bearly slid in a bomber offset cam.

8th pitch: Sandy, but easy free climbing for 30 feet (5.7). C1+ for the remainder.
Huge ledge at the top.

Pitch 9: I did the original finish; the mandatory (5.8) free moves felt committing, mostly because it was dark and sandy with only mediocre pro. The last 30 feet is worn out. I was lucky to have offset cams and totems. The very last moves are clipping a pin and doing an easy mantle. (5.8 C2)

I used : Metolius Offset cams (1 set), brassies (2 sets), dmm offsets (2 sets), C3's (3 sets), Totems (1 set), link cams (1 set), ball nuts, tricams and hooks. Dec 27, 2014
Sean C
  5.10 C2
Sean C   SLC
  5.10 C2
This is a sweet route...however I think it is a stretch to call it C2+. The pin scars are opening up and eating up offset cams. I had maybe 3 bodyweight only placements on the whole route (from what I could tell). I found by getting up as high as I could on my ladders I could skip all the shitty placements and get bomber gear.

I feel like my rack was pretty spot on for this climb, I wouldn't change much.
-2 sets offset mastercams. The yellow/blue was the MVP on this route. I did use the two smaller sizes more than a few times. Didn't really need doubles of the two largest.
-1 set DMM offset alloy and micro brass. Used a few times in spots where the cams wouldn't fit.
-1 Full set of stoppers.
-doubles of C3 sizes with 3 Greens.
-doubles .4-2 with 4X .5 and .75 (could have done with 3).
-single 3 and 4 C4. Didn't need the 4 and could have done without the 3 if willing to freeclimb 4 feet...
-2 hooks, Used both.
-16 alpine draws

Bringing a large selection of brands helped a lot.
Fun route, easy to do in a day if you are a competent aid climber. Get after it! Mar 26, 2015
Scott Krankkala
Flagstaff, AZ
  5.10 C2
Scott Krankkala   Flagstaff, AZ
  5.10 C2
Excellent route on an awesome feature. We went with the variations to the 1st, 2nd and final pitch, which makes for an awesome direct route. I agree with Sean that it is a stretch to call this route C2+, if you have a full set of offset cams and offset nuts you can consistently get bomber gear. If you are comfortable high stepping you can bypass many of the poor placements. Didn't end up needing to use any hooks. May 23, 2017
Significant step up in pin scar difficulty compared to Touchstone, which didn't prepare me well for the small and flared placements on pitches 4 and 5. I thought I had 2-3 body weight-only placements regularly, above pro that wasn't all that bomber. Eeps. Maybe I just need more aid practice on sandstone. Feb 12, 2018

More About Lunar Ecstasy