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West Face Variation

5.8 C0, Trad, Aid, 300 ft (91 m), 5 pitches, Grade III,  Avg: 3.7 from 154 votes
FA: FA -Tom Bauman, Bob Ashworth 1965, FFA -Tom Bauman, Bob Ashworth 1967
Oregon > Central Oregon > Smith Rock > (s) Monkey Face
Access Issue: Seasonal Raptor Nesting Closures Details


This variation on the Pioneer route provides the finest moderate route to the Monkey's Summit. It adds several great pitches and about another 100ft of climbing to the standard route.

Pitch 1: Begin on the right side of the west face of Monkey Face. Begin in a short section of flaring chimney or just to the right of this chimney on a small crack on the face. Move up these harder opening moves onto easier cracks. Continue up through a dihedral with a few bolts and a few mini roofs to a stance and a bolted anchor just below a 4th class ramp. This pitch is fairly long.

Pitch 2: Climb the slotted ramp above to a steep large roof. There are several variations here but the easiest is follow a crack out the right side of the roof. Pull around the roof on the right side and you'll see the anchors.

Pitch 3: Traverse left on a slab protecting in a thin crack on the wall in fron of you. From here head toward the notch formed between the monkey and the main buttress. Continue up the slab on the Pioneer route to the anchor below red rock and the aid pitch.

Rappel as Pioneer route


All anchors are bolted
Double set of Cams to #3
Standard Nuts
Many slings + 2 double lengths

Photos [Hide ALL Photos]

This is the first pitch on the "West Face Variation"
[Hide Photo] This is the first pitch on the "West Face Variation"
Starting the second pitch.
[Hide Photo] Starting the second pitch.
Monster rappel! Oh...most of it is totally "open air," which is also a bit freaky
[Hide Photo] Monster rappel! Oh...most of it is totally "open air," which is also a bit freaky
Robert Hecker on pitch one of West Face Variation
[Hide Photo] Robert Hecker on pitch one of West Face Variation
Looking up at the 2nd pitch
[Hide Photo] Looking up at the 2nd pitch
Keith following
[Hide Photo] Keith following
Aid climbing up into the Monkey's mouth.
[Hide Photo] Aid climbing up into the Monkey's mouth.
Inside the Monkey's mouth.
[Hide Photo] Inside the Monkey's mouth.
the west variation is really good.
[Hide Photo] the west variation is really good.
Keith following the fun tight corner
[Hide Photo] Keith following the fun tight corner

Comments [Hide ALL Comments]

Matt McMurray
Castle Rock, CO
  5.8 C0
[Hide Comment] This is TOO GOOD of route to not include the final 1 (or 2) pitches:

Once in the Monkey's mouth after climbing the bolt ladder, you move to the opposite side. Set up an anchor here, and then you crawl out of the Monkey's mouth (dubbed "Panic Point") and onto the 5.7 face above. This pitch is very short, as you climb to the Monkey's nose where there is an anchor. You can link this pitch, and continue past this point to the summit in one push if you like. Great Climbing and exposure! Aug 3, 2006
[Hide Comment] On pitch 2, take the variation out to the left, the climbing is no harder than the first pitch and gets you to the bolt ladder in one long pitch, eliminating the need for the 3rd pitch travers. Bring long runners to eliminate rope drag and/or use double rope method instead of a single chord. If not rope drag may be a PITA. The climbing on this variation is far better than the regular pitch 2/3 combo. Oct 28, 2009
Portland, OR
  5.8 C0
[Hide Comment] Follow Shapp's advice - the left crack is protectable, straight forward, less rope drag, and cleaner rock. Sep 18, 2010
Portland, OR
[Hide Comment] Good photos of the 2nd doing the traverse on std. route but the variation mentioned above is better climbing. Also, for a superior experience, start off the ground with the right side (slanting) crack (featured in the original Oregon Rock book). Sep 22, 2010
April Koperniak
Bend, OR
5.8 C0 PG13
[Hide Comment] Definitely follow Shapp's advice, especially on the long runners, unless you don't mind freeing about 30' (or so) of easy (5.5) climbing. After the 5.8 crack ends it's like climbing a step ladder the anchors.
And don't let "Panic Point" get to your head! It's a well protected with good feet easy traverse, and totally rewarding!! Feb 23, 2013
[Hide Comment] Is it possible to rapp the route with one rope or is a dbl required? Mar 8, 2013
Joe Ludlow
Seattle, WA
[Hide Comment] This climb is much much better than the Pioneer Route.

I highly recommend it. Jul 3, 2013
Truckee, CA
  5.8 C0
[Hide Comment] Definitely take the left variation up to the dihedral crack- fun climbing through there, no more difficult than the p1 climbing. Take p2 all the way to the bolt ladder. Whole route protects easy with great views. Shade in the morning. Jul 4, 2013

  5.8 C0
[Hide Comment] This is just one of those must do routes. Entertaining. Start very early, always people on it. We have climbed it in the rain, heat, and wind, always fun. Dec 13, 2014
Paul L
Portland, OR
  5.8+ C0
[Hide Comment] Did first pitch into Direct Variation. Found the moves coming from behind the flake to the face right off the deck to be pretty difficult and heady for having just one piece of gear in. (5.9+ imo) The hold I wanted to put a lot of my 190# weight on felt way too hollow to be comfortable, or maybe I'm just a weenie. After getting onto the face and into the crack the climbing eased and was lot of fun. Only one bolt on the first pitch that I saw (9/3/17). Takes gear well... nuts, hexes, one tricam, aliens and one #3 C4. Sep 7, 2017
Jason Eberhard
Atlanta, GA
[Hide Comment] Had a great time on this over Memorial Day Weekend. We got to the base around 8 and there was a crowd on the route but everyone was chill, took pictures for each other (Thanks Felicia and Herk), and moved at a reasonable pace. We went bottom to top in 4 pitches going from the mouth to the top. The rappel from the base of the boulder with two ropes was amazing, especially since someone was working on linking both pitches of the East Face on a trad lead as I was coming down. They fell and had a cam explode some rock not far above the first anchors on the east face and took a ~60 footer. May 30, 2018