Type: Sport, 100 ft, 2 pitches, Grade III
FA: unknown
Page Views: 23,956 total · 153/month
Shared By: Karsten Duncan on Jan 28, 2006
Admins: Nate Ball, Micah Klesick

You & This Route

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This variation to the Pioneer Route is the most popular way to ascend the monkey face free. It is classic in its own right.

Begin up the Pioneer or West Face Variation routes up the Monkey. Monkey Space starts at the bottom of the aid bolt ladder pitch.

1st Pitch: 5.11a Begin at the ledge atop the first pitch of the pioneer route. Head directly to the left and then up into a cool cave on the west side of monkey face on well placed bolts.

2nd Pitch: 5.11b Move to the north side of the cave and move up on steep, powerful moves but positive edges for a few moves and then move up slab to the summit.

Descend as Pioneer route.


Aron Quiter
Oakland, CA
Aron Quiter   Oakland, CA  
Hmmm... I think the climb was two pitches, but I think it's worth mentioning that there are two pitches of the Poineer route that need to be done before you can split off and join Monkey Space.

That said....

HOLY SHIT! That crux step on the first pitch is a doozy. Definately reminded me why I'm afriad of heights.

While the physical crux is pulling out of the cave on the "second" (final?) pitch, the mental crux is on the first crossing through the traverse, looking out 500 feet below you.

Feb 28, 2006
Karsten Duncan
Sacramento, CA
Karsten Duncan   Sacramento, CA
I agree on the exposure of the traverse pitch. I fell at the crux on that pitch. I ended up in the air 6 feet away from the wall and my girlfriend belaying me ended up with bloody knuckles from being slammed into the wall. Spicy! Mar 27, 2006
David Tvedt  
Some climbers might want to bring along a little gear for the finishing crack on the 1st pitch. The Watts guide lists gear as: Bolts (optional gear to 2 inches). When I did the route, we approached via Astro Monkey, and I was a little tired going into this pitch. I left our gear with my belayer, forgetting the part about optional gear and I sorta wished I had a piece to plug in when I was up at the diagonal crack. I was just tired enough that I easily envisioned myself taking the big plunge into that "space". I'd guess a fall from there would leave you hanging well away from the cliff and require prusiking. Apr 29, 2006
what optional gear should be brought? Apr 4, 2008
Portland, OR
rpc   Portland, OR
"what optional gear should be brought?"
CojbyJ. posted the info here:
summitpost.org/route/164404… Apr 4, 2008
Peter Franzen
Phoenix, AZ
Peter Franzen   Phoenix, AZ  
Magnificent route. The exposure is fantastic, and the climbing is a lot of fun.

I took a #0.5 and a #1 for the top of the first 5.11 pitch, and I'd recommend others to do the same. If anything else it prevents a nasty pendulum for the second should they fall after the last bolt. Apr 13, 2008
Joel Sprenger
Terrebonne, OR
Joel Sprenger   Terrebonne, OR
It still is amazing to me that no one ever comments on the last pitch of monkey space. It is the most un-inspiring line in the park. Exposure is not a problem due to the ledge that you start off. If you were to fall after the 3rd bolt, or before, you are looking at a really nasty fall. I would not try and send until i had those moves dialed. REALLY hard 11b, or easy 12a, however you want to look at it. I found the run out flake crack to be easy and really fun to run out. You do not need to protect it for the second due to the anchors located on the roof of the cave directly above the flake. May 21, 2008
Nick Sullens
Nick Sullens   Yosemite
What a climb, the first 11a pitch is pretty scary and I felt like it was a bit hard for 11a, super exposed but amazing. The second pitch might have been physically a little harder but mentally a breeze compared to the first. The second pitch is essentially a boulder problem out of the cave followed by easy climbing up to the top. The massive free space rappel might be the coolest thing about this climb. I highly recommend this route, maybe not the best climbing at Smith but one of the most interesting route's I've done. Dec 27, 2009
Because I can't help but offer my opinion: I don't think you need gear for the crack at the finish of the first pitch. The footholds are big, the locks are bomber, and the crack is directly below the belay.
I think the bolts and anchor for the last pitch really detract. I know the climbing would be 5.5 above, but it would be awesome to have an anchor just above the finish jugs of the final pitch. Communication issues would be gone, and it would be infinitely easier for a second to follow the route. As it is, all you can do is yank on the line, without being able to tell when your partner is unclipping, going for it, in danger of hitting the deck, or even if they are climbing. If you don't onsight 5.11, this is a tough pitch to follow. Jul 10, 2010
Eric Schnepel
Eric Schnepel   Portland
Communicating really did suck on the belay from the top. It was nearly impossible to hear my partner. Other than that, the route was great. Dec 19, 2010
jbrown2 Brown
Bend, Oregon
jbrown2 Brown   Bend, Oregon
I found that gear was nice in the flake. I did not see the anchor above the first 5.11 pitch so i was belaying from way out right. The gear was a .5 and 1 cam. As for the second pitch anchor i extended my anchor WAY down to near the edgee Tied a few clove hitches and lowerd down closer to the edge.

I thought latching that jug after the crux of the second pitch was AWSOME. the wind wipping up it made me feel like my own personal movie star. (I Know, its only 5.11) Jun 29, 2011
Portland, OR
ChiHarris   Portland, OR
First pitch has great exposure and nothing too hard. Mostly just tenuous movement. Pitch two is essentially a 10 foot powerful v3/4 boulder problem with a 5.easy run out to the top. I was actually more frightened by pitch two as you don't want to fall within the first 2 bolts for risk of decking. Stellar route, can't wait to climb it again and again. Nov 4, 2012
Tony Litke
La Crosse, Wisconsin
Tony Litke   La Crosse, Wisconsin
Kinda of a sketchy belay from the cave! Unfortunately I got pulled out of the cave when my climber fell and we both took a "whip" (Ahhh good memories) Super fun! Mar 4, 2015
kind of wish I had brought walkie talkies or something for that final pitch. If there's any wind it makes it almost impossible to communicate with your belayer. Sep 13, 2015
Stephen Sh
Stephen Sh   Portland
Climbed Monkey Space as part of Astro Monkey on Sept. 19. Fun ending to a great day! One thing to note – one of the two bolts for the anchor at the start of P2 has pulled out about an inch. It’s easy to create a solid anchor using slings around the huge blocks on the floor of the cave. But if someone is up there with a drill, this anchor could use some attention. Oct 6, 2015
The first (11a) pitch was the better of the two in terms of quality and exposure. Used a single BD 0.5 Cam to protect the flake before coming into the cave. As another user indicated, the second pitch is probably more suitably rated as a V3+/V4 boulder problem, albeit protected by bolts and precariously located. There is an odd line of tightly-spaced bolts (for aiding?) on a less featured spot just to the right of the crux section of the second pitch which was a tad bit confusing at first. In case anyone is wondering how to get on the fun double rope rap back down (descriptions were a bit confusing to me): walk east across the top of the monkey head towards the face feature on the opposite side from where you ascended. Here you will find rap rings that will get you onto the 'nose' (single rope rap). From the front of the nose, do a double 60m rap all the way back down to where you started the pioneer route! Sep 28, 2016