Type: Trad, Sport, Aid, 250 ft, 3 pitches, Grade III
FA: unknown
Page Views: 55,493 total · 342/month
Shared By: Karsten Duncan on Jan 27, 2006
Admins: Nate Ball, Micah Klesick

You & This Route

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This historic route was the first line up Monkey Face. It begins on the southeast side of the tower.

Pitch 1: 5.6 Scramble up a series of ledges to a ramp up and right to a vertical crack that takes you to the notch formed between the main buttress and Monkey face. Once at the notch turn the corner and climb up the face using traditional pro, bolts, and fixed pins. Belay at the left of two anchors on a long ledge.

Pitch 2: C0 Move up an overhanging red face on a bolt ladder into the "monkey's mouth." Belay from the unique angle-iron anchors.

Pitch 3: 5.7 Move the belay to the east edge of the cave (mouth). Reach out of the cave and move straight up the face for 25 feet on bolts to a ledge with chains. This classic pitch is short but airy. The opening moves have been called "panic point" due to the noticeable exposure.

Pitch 4: 5.5 Ascend the boulder at the belay and move northward. Step across a small trough and head for the a bolted anchor on the east side of the summit at a ledge.

From here is a 4th class jaunt to the true summit. Be sure to take in the scenery and take pics for your REI catalog cover shot.

Scramble or take a short rappel back to the top of the 3rd pitch. Another short single rope rap takes you back to the cave (these top 2 raps can be difficult to pull). From the cave you have several options:

1. Take the stunning and free hanging 2 full 60m rope rappel from the east edge of the cave to 3rd class below. This is the highlight of the route for many and allows you to also contemplate the insane difficulty of Just Do It. After this double rope rap you can circle back west to the base of the variation or continue up and over the top of the main buttress on the trail.

2. Take the tyrolean traverse back to the main buttress. (Requires that you fixed a second rope and rapped in from main buttress onto first pitch, trailed rope up to the cave, and know how to actually do a tyrolean (beyond the scope of this description).

3. Rap the route (not recommended but possible with single 60m)


All anchors are fat bolts or chains.
-Single set of cams #.75-#3 camalot
-nuts optional
- Long slings and 4-5 quickdraws


Karsten Duncan
Sacramento, CA
  5.7 C0
Karsten Duncan   Sacramento, CA
  5.7 C0
For Tyrolean Traverse:

-Fix rope at anchors on main buttress and do a single rope rappel into the notch.

-Continue up first pitch as Pioneer route on separate rope. When at the Monkey's mouth pull fixed rope tight and fix it also to the anchors in the mouth.

-First traverser can then use ascenders to jug back across gap on fixed line while being belayed from mouth. Be sure to put the loose end of the fixed line through the anchor in the mouth and tag it across.

-Once the first traverser has made the gap he/she pulls the tagged line taunt so that both its ends are fixed. This rope will now be only running through the anchor in the mouth but not fixed to it.

-Now the 2nd climber can do the traverse. Once they are to the main buttress the rope may be untied and pulled through the monkey mouth anchor cleanly. Jan 27, 2006
Peter Franzen
Phoenix, AZ
  5.7 C0
Peter Franzen   Phoenix, AZ  
  5.7 C0
Pitches 3 and 4 can easily be combined.

We ran into a spot of trouble on the rap off of this today. The wind blew one of our ropes over to the other side of the notch, where it became caught. I won't go into the details of our near-epic getting it out, but the end result was that I had to rap down the West side of the Monkey. May 7, 2007
Common advice is to french free the bolt ladder on quickdraws. This works fine, but is strenuous.

Make sure that both partners are able to do this or bring ascenders for the second. Apr 20, 2010
m-earle   USA
I believe the solo speed record for the pioneer route is currently 3m30sec. Time starts at the beginning of the fourth class, ends at the summit. GET IT! Jan 4, 2011
was the time set by joel? Jan 5, 2011
m-earle   USA
Updated speed record- 3 minutes 25 seconds by Brad Gobright Sep 13, 2011
Mostly good 3/8" bolts on the bolt ladder pitch. Some are homemade hangers, some odd (but fat!) bolts; I pushed two of the loose rawls back in their holes which were sticking out ~1". Not much to worry about if leading since there are TONS of bolts, but may be a cause for concern if you solo the route with daisies like I did. Don't pull outward! Apr 22, 2013
Alex Quitiquit
Salt Lake City
  5.7 C0
Alex Quitiquit   Salt Lake City
  5.7 C0
Nice work on the speed record! It took me about 4 minutes alone to lob my way up the bolt ladder Baguette-freeing on belay. May 29, 2013
Noah C  
Both Summitpost and the new Falcon guide say a double rope is mandatory for rappel, but this page mentions a single rope rappel. Is it possible to rap with a single 60m or 70m? Oct 11, 2013
"Both Summitpost and the new Falcon guide say a double rope is mandatory for rappel, but this page mentions a single rope rappel. Is it possible to rap with a single 60m or 70m?"

Rappelling from the mouth to Bohn Street seems like an exercise in frustration. Not to mention you'd annoy the group that would invariably be on the bolt ladder.

As Watts puts it: "Two ropes are mandatory on the descent." page 222

Chad Oct 12, 2013
B-Mkll Mackall
Bozeman, MT
B-Mkll Mackall   Bozeman, MT
It appears as of 5/19/2014 that a bolt has blown on the bolt ladder just below the small roof. This turns what should be a totally Frenchable ladder into one requiring a sketchy aid move to clip. Bring aiders or a double length and single length runner (as well as your balance skills) for steps to make this reach. May 24, 2014
Kevin Peter  
The missing bolt on the ladder can by bypassed by top stepping in aiders. Get your fifi in high and push hard. My waist was at or above the bolt and it was a long reach to the next one, but manageable. The french free beta may not be possible until the missing bolt is replaced. Jun 2, 2014
Medford, OR
TomD   Medford, OR
Missing bolt on ladder has been replaced. Jul 19, 2014
Ryan Dirks
Washington, DC
Ryan Dirks   Washington, DC
I would suggest changing the descent description on this. It is far, far better to rap from the boulder above the cave, not from the cave itself! There are currently no rap rings in east end of the cave, so a party ahead of us threaded their ropes through the bolt hangers. They had absolutely zero chance of getting their ropes back until I helped feed them through. In my opinion the only way of getting down from the cave is rapping the route at the west end. Rapping from the boulder above with 2 60 m ropes will easily get you to a final rap station at the slabs below. Jan 25, 2015
  5.7+ C0
Alexanderswiderski   Portland
  5.7+ C0
If you aren't first in line on this route I might skip it or come back another time. The bolt ladder line gets painfully long. Sep 28, 2015
Portland, OR
tsherry   Portland, OR
Advice on climbing the bolt ladder: "You'll figure it out by the end". Oct 12, 2015
Dear all Monkey Face climbers,

Yesterday (Thursday 3/18), my two ropes got caught at the top of the rappel out of the Monkey Face's "mouth". If anyone retrieves the rope, I would greatly appreciate it being returned to me. I would cover all the cost to you to get it to me (shipping, etc.), plus a little extra for your trouble. If you get them down, please contact Sam at 978-844-3432. Thanks! Mar 18, 2016
I wouldn't recommend rapping from the mouth cave. Two 60m ropes will reach the ground from the nose anchors. Rapping into the mouth and then back out of the mouth causes unnecessary headache. Apr 17, 2016
brian burke
santa monica, ca
brian burke   santa monica, ca
i'd second what andy says about rapping from the nose with two 60m ropes. i rapped from the nose with 1 60m and barely reached the slung block anchor near the top of p1. i was psyched to have knots in the end of the rope. getting into the mouth seemed like it would be a big pain.

also, I felt the description of where the climb starts was a bit ambiguous, so here's some beta for finding the climb:

from the misery ridge trail walking clockwise from asterisk pass: wind around the west side of the monkey face, passing a shack with rescue gear stashed. continue around the formation to the east face on the trail until reaching a fork in the trail. the right hand fork leads to a ledge at the base of some 4th class looking terrain beneath the east face. there's a single bolt on this ledge to belay from. the first pitch of the climb traverses right from here, passing one bolt on the traverse until moving up to the notch separating the main formation from the canyon wall. Jun 2, 2016
Sarah Lydecker
Hood River, OR
Sarah Lydecker   Hood River, OR
I'd read some reports of shorter climbers struggling up the bolt ladder and was a bit nervous to lead it, but at 5'5" I had no problem clipping the next bolt. I had one aider and two shoulder length slings girth hitched together as a second aider. I definitely appreciated the aider and used the top step a few times. If you're short and just using slings, be sure to tie them so you can have a high step.

Definitely go for the Monkey off my back variation out of the mouth. The exposure keeps it interesting. Sep 19, 2016
Michael Nill
Seattle, WA
  5.7 C0
Michael Nill   Seattle, WA
  5.7 C0
Climbed Labor day, the bolt at the step across blew, so I had to solo the last 20' of the route assuming there wasn't gear on the last pitch. Bring gear on the last pitch. Sep 19, 2016
Climbed route on 10/1/16 and can confirm that the final pitch leading from the main rappel anchor to the top of the formation has no bolts. After climbing on top of the nose block, I stepped across and placed a single BD #1 cam before heading up to the final anchors. Oct 4, 2016
Max Tepfer
Bend, OR
Max Tepfer   Bend, OR
It's possible to rappel from the two bolt anchor on the right side of the floor of the Mouth (just below the beginning of the 'panic point pitch') back to the base of the route with a single 70m. The rope pull is hard, but doable and facilitates rapping with a single. As of last week, it was equipped with two quick links, but could use two more. If I make it back up there, I'll fix it up. Oct 4, 2016
Josh Lowy
Sacramento, CA
  5.7 C0
Josh Lowy   Sacramento, CA
  5.7 C0
Easiest way up the Monkey Face. If you're comfortable free climbing 5.10, highly recommend taking the Monkey off My Back (5.9) exit from the mouth! Thrilling way to top out the Monkey Face! Jul 28, 2017
Ryan O
Portland, OR
Ryan O   Portland, OR
Two loose hangers on the aid ladder about half way up (didn’t count bolts, sorry). The bolt itself doesn’t move, just the hanger spins freely. Two 70m ropes from the top of pitch three (off the boulder above the mouth) reach the ground with rope to spair. Second pdxfixed comment about a #1 BD cam to place when moving from the boulder up to the top of the monkey face spire. Careful when throwing ropes for the rappell as you could hit a climber on the rearlly short “panic point” pitch. Feb 5, 2018
Ryan Swanson
Pepedidnothingwrong, freejg
Ryan Swanson   Pepedidnothingwrong, freejg
Bolt 9 on the bolt ladder is loose in the hole, but won't turn with a wrench. The left bolt at the top rap anchor also moves side to side without much force, but just spins in the hole. Mar 31, 2018
jason taro
Seattle, WA
jason taro   Seattle, WA
Only used one cam (.5) on the start of what MP describes as P1. The last pitch from the monkey's nose is a free solo class 4 to the final belay. I guess there were some places for mental gear. We double rope rapped with a 70 and 60 and made it to the ground from the belay/rap station at the very top of P4. Carrying a single aider on P2 helped speed the process a lot. Apr 12, 2018
Nick Giles
  5.7 C0
Nick Giles   Corvallis
  5.7 C0
Just for clarification you can rap from the top of the third pitch with a double rope rap and make it back to the ground. Avoids rapping back into the cave. No bolts on 4th pitch, but there is a bolted anchor with rap rings. Jul 16, 2018