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Routes in Monument Canyon

Big Bertha T 5.10a 6a 18 VI+ 18 E1 5a
Big Foot T 5.10c/d 6b+ 21 VII+ 21 E3 5b
Carter Route T 5.9 5c 17 VI 17 HVS 5a
Circle, Square, and the Triangle T 5.10a 6a 18 VI+ 18 E1 5a
Da Nada 5.10 6b 20 VII- 19 E2 5b C3-
Desert Solitaire T 5.11- 6c 22 VIII+ 22 E3 5c C1
Egypt Rock - The Revolution Will Not be Televised T 5.10 6b 20 VII- 19 E2 5b R
Elephant Head T,S,TR 5.7 5a 15 V+ 13 MVS 4b
Euro Route T,S 5.11 6c+ 23 VIII- 23 E4 5c
Friends Can't Be Trusted S 5.12a/b 7b 26 VIII+ 26 E5 6a
Get A Life T 5.12 7b+ 27 VIII+ 26 E6 6b
Higher Mind Dynamics S 5.11 6c+ 23 VIII- 23 E4 5c
It Ain't Over Til It's Loose T 5.10 6b 20 VII- 19 E2 5b
Left Dihedral aka Dihedral 1 aka First Dihedral T 5.9 5c 17 VI 17 HVS 5a
Luhr's Route aka Right Dihedral T 5.8 5b 16 VI- 15 HVS 4c
Monolith Spire - Dewar Dihedral T 5.10+ 6b+ 21 VII+ 20 E3 5b
Mormon Tea T 5.8+ 5b 16 VI- 15 HVS 4c
Out of the Frying Pan Into the Fire T 5.9 5c 17 VI 17 HVS 5a
Pharaoh Point - Chimney Wide T 5.9 5c 17 VI 17 HVS 5a C2 R
Route 2 T 5.9+ 5c 17 VI 17 E1 5a
Route 4 T 5.9+ 5c 17 VI 17 E1 5a
Short Route T 5.9 5c 17 VI 17 HVS 5a
Unknown Tower - Northwest Face T 5.11 6c+ 23 VIII- 23 E4 5c R
Wide Load aka Route 3 T 5.10a 6a 18 VI+ 18 E1 5a
Wingate Warrior S 5.11a 6c 22 VII+ 22 E3 5c
Wizard I T 5.10+ 6b+ 21 VII+ 20 E3 5b
Type: Trad, Aid, 350 ft, 6 pitches, Grade III
FA: KC Baum, Andrea Heath, Tom Archibeque, Peter Hollis, March 1989
Page Views: 6,688 total · 40/month
Shared By: aaron voreis on Mar 6, 2004
Admins: Jesse Zacher, Jared LaVacque, Bradley Mark Edwards, Nick Reecy, Leo Paik, John McNamee, Frances Fierst, Monty, Monomaniac

You & This Route

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Access this stellar route via the Lower Independence Monument trail. The route is located 400 yards up trail from Monolith Spire and 1/4 mile before Independence Monument. Look right for the beautiful lightning bolt splitter 2 pitches up with a left-angling, 4th class ramp leading to it. Approach via drainage after trail passes in between two large boulders. This route is south-facing and very sunny.

P1. Crux pitch. Locate a beautiful left-facing Wingate corner that leads to a left-arcing hand crack. 110 feet of the best the Monument has to offer leads to a perfect 3 bolt anchor with chains, 11a.

P2. Choose your own adventure. Either coil yer ropes and traverse around right or climb interesting 5.6+ choss straight up. Either way requires some 3rd class junk.

P3. Choose a better adventure. Now you have the choice between splitter hands via the lightning bolt crack or another perfect Wingate corner. Bolts with chains at top of corner, 5.10ish, 55 feet.

P4. Climb excellent fingers straight up from the chains with a few interesting aid moves to a new bolt. Belay in a cool pod thing from bolts, 10a C1, 60 feet.

P5. Continue up the crack fingers to excellent tight hands to a large belay ledge with a fixed anchor, 11a, 60 feet.

P6. Climb one of the cracks off the ledge into a chimney below a block. Continue through roof with hands to a 2 bolt anchor, 5.9, 60 feet. Rap from here.


One 60m rope will get you off in 2 raps with a 4 class downclimb. A 65m would be better. A note on combining pitches: pitches 3 and 4 can easily be done together with the standard rack. Combining pitches 4 and 5 would require extra small cams. If you don't have a bunch of time, pitches 1 and 2 are sooo good.

Enjoy! Aaron and Eric


Your six favorite md-large nuts, six draws. 2 sets cams TCUs to #1 Camalot. 5 #2 Camalots (#3 Friends fit better.) 1 #3 Camalot.
Kat A
Bart and Lisa Ville, CO
Kat A   Bart and Lisa Ville, CO
Gear beta: stoppers, doubles from black Alien to red Alien (or #0.5 Camalot), 3 #0.75 Camalots, 2-3 #1 Camalots, 4-5 #2 Camalots (ideally 1-2 of those a #3 Friend(s)), 1 #3 Camalot, 1 #4 Camalot (new sizing). If linking pitches 5 and 6, it would be nice to have a 4th #0.5 and #0.75 Camalot for the last pitch. Mar 12, 2017
Boulder, CO
  5.11 C0
claytown   Boulder, CO
  5.11 C0
Really fun route with some subpar rock that is sandy/soft in spots. Agreed that a big fall could pull seemingly solid pieces if they are shallow. We thought 5.11 seemed accurate for the aid section, and besides the thin gear, there is plenty of gear right below that.

70m. I agree with other rack comments about triple 0.75, 3-4x #2 (with one of them a #3 Friend if possible) and taking the #4. For the pitch after the crux, keep 2x 0.75 for the last 30 feet. The last 5.9 pitch has some of the worst rock of the route. Nov 14, 2016
Golden, CO
craigw   Golden, CO
I found the gear beta for the first pitch to be a little different than previous posts. #2 Camalots are pretty tipped out and won't even work in the arching hand crack section of pitch 1. I ended up placing a #3 Camalot (overcammed) and running it out for 15-20 feet (a little scary on sandy rock). If you have cams in between #2 and #3 (#2.5 Friend??), that would be much better. Another option is to place another overcammed #3 higher up. Having a #4 is very helpful on this pitch. May 18, 2015
Brett S.
Brett S.   Colorado
Fun climb. 2nd pitch sports some pretty terrible choss, more like climbing on dried mud than rock. I would have liked to have had an extra #0.75 Camalot (three in total) for the thin hands pitch. The very short C1 section goes free at .11+ and is well-protected. Leave the aid gear! May 19, 2013
Nathan Welton
Estes Park, CO
  5.11- C1
Nathan Welton   Estes Park, CO
  5.11- C1
Re: the above comment, no way is this 5.10b! And you need the recommended 5 to 6 hand-sized pieces unless you like extremely sandy 25-foot runouts on moderate to poor quality rock.

That said, it's a fantastic line, with every pitch being awesome aside from the grunge pitch. The funky blocks on the last pitch are more solid than they look, and the final moves onto the anchors are rad.

We brought doubles from blue Metolius to red Camalot, 5 or 6 hand-sized pieces, and 1 blue Camalot, along with the larger nuts in the set. I would have loved to have an extra 0.75 Camalot and would have left the big nuts and taken the smaller half of the set for the aid section. A 0 & 00 Metolius will get you through the aid section with minimal fuss, and would be preferred for sending it free.

Recent rains had turned the route into a sandbox for us, but it was dope nonetheless.

For the descent, we made two 35m raps on our 70m rope (off of P6 chains, off of P4 chains) and then scrambled to the ground. The first rap was exactly 35m long and a total rope stretcher, so beware!! Sep 24, 2012
Sandy, UT
  5.10b C1
notmyname   Sandy, UT
  5.10b C1
This route is really fun and low commitment. Every real pitch is awesome, albeit short. The 5.11a pitches felt incredibly soft for the grade, and the cruxes are very, very short. Grade II 10b and ten feet of C1. The 5.6 moves off the 1st belay are the crux. 5 #2 Camalots is an insane amount. You can easily get by with two. The #4 is nice on the 6th pitch, but doing the crack to the list makes it unnecessary. The aid placements are bomber, and even if freeing, you only need one 0 Metolius TCU/Mastercam. You get a bomber yellow TCU and even more bomber green Camalot just before the bolt. Throw in a last piece after the lightning bolt crack so you don't freak your wife out with a major pendulum if belaying off the chain anchors. All combination of pitches are easily linkable with a set of doubles to yellow and one blue and grey (#3 & 4) Camalot.

Raps with a 70. Pitch 6, pitch 4+5, pitch 2+3 (watch the ends), pitch 1.

Approach via the slope to the right, not the gully to the left. Apr 1, 2012
Skyeler Congdon
his van
Skyeler Congdon   his van
The Lightning Bolt Variation is so friggin' classic. One of the best single pitches in the Monument! But it means you can't link pitches 3, 4. Worth it, though. Dec 1, 2009
Carbondale, CO
  5.11b/c C0
dbyte   Carbondale, CO
  5.11b/c C0
Did this Sunday w/ 2 friends. We all agreed that if you can do the other 5.11 pitches then the aid section isn't much harder & is reasonably protected. We felt the moves (3 of them) to be ~11c & protected by 2 purple Black Diamond C3s (size 00), the highest of which was just below our feet when we reached the bolt.

This route is superb & doesn't see nearly the traffic it could/should. Mar 11, 2008
Tony B
Around Boulder, CO
  5.11- C1
Tony B   Around Boulder, CO
  5.11- C1
Aid section is probably C2. There are a few questionable placements in a row in soft rock. I broke off a few holds trying to free the moves before losing the stomach for it.
Note: you can go up P3 via either way (both are not only worthy, but excellent) and then rap and do the other way to add a **** pitch to this awesome route. Oct 29, 2007
Matthew Seymour
1996 Dodge Van, USA
Matthew Seymour   1996 Dodge Van, USA
The above comments do a good job describing the route, but I'd like to say just a bit more about pitch 4, the old aid pitch.

It is freeable at a grade in the mid 11s, so if you are taking the rest of the route free you should definitely attempt to free his pitch, everything you need is there. The main difficulty might be that the crux here is more of a face climb, where the rest of the route is a straight crack. However, the crux is short, and you have good pro that you can double up on right at your feet. Go for it!

I climbed it 5/30/7. The holds in the crux are probably among the most solid bits of rock on the upper section, but yes it is a sandy route. May 31, 2007
5 out of 6 pitches have high quality climbing, a very good ratio for CNM.
The last pitch is great, a poor man's version of the mega last pitch of Infrared. Even if you're baking, don't give in to the temptation to skip it.
The fixed anchors are very well thought out.
Mostly comfortable belays.

Less than prime rock quality throughout.
Not much of a line -- you can scramble into the route at 1/3 height.
Not a tower.

We thought the 5th pitch was the crux, considerably harder than the first.
Rack: We would have been happier if we'd replaced one of the #3 Friends with a #4 Friend or #4 C4 Camalot, particularly at the crux of the first pitch and the start of the sixth which was unprotected w/out a larger piece. We made only one placement w/ our "medium to large nuts" but could have used a couple of smaller (#2-4 Rocks) in the aid section. As far as TCU size gear, we placed at most 1 green Alien size on any pitch (though I could see placing more); we didn't use any smaller cams except in the aid section where we placed both a 00 and a 0 C3, though leaders whose aid mojo was running stronger could get by w/ at most one of those pieces.
With a 70M rope you can rap directly to the start, avoiding the circuitous downclimb, in 4 raps. Combine the raps for the 4th & 5th pitches as well as the 2nd & 3rd but be careful as both combined raps are stretchers. May 20, 2007
Jason Nelson
Jason Nelson   SLC, UT
It still goes free. The holds I used seemed like they'll be around for a while, but were very sandy. The route might be slightly harder now though, hard to say. May 9, 2007
Chip Ruckgaber and I freed this route in Feb 2000. It involved some hard crimping on friable flakes that may or may not still be there. At the time it felt like Eldo 5.11d, but that will depend on what holds are still available. The free line went left initially past the first bolt, then crossed back to the right.

cheersmike schlauch Mar 11, 2004
Great route!! Mar 10, 2004