Type: Trad, 220 ft, 2 pitches
FA: Tom Howard, Bruce Meneghin - 1976
Page Views: 23,327 total · 158/month
Shared By: saxfiend on Mar 19, 2007
Admins: Aaron Parlier, Steve Lineberry

You & This Route

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The term "classic" was made for routes like Zoo View. The Select Climbs guide calls this "possibly the best 5.7 in North Carolina;" in fact, it may very well be the best for the grade in the southeast. The wild exposure and the juggy roof make for an experience on lead that you won't soon forget. A trip to Moore's just to do this one superlative climb would not be a wasted one.

P1 -- Starting at the base of Sentinel Buttress, climb the first pitch of that route or any of the variations to get to the Crow's Nest ledge. 5.5, 80'
P2 -- From the left end of the Crow's Nest, make a tenuous and exposed traverse left, clipping a bolt; continue left to the base of a crack system (be sure to adequately protect the traverse for your second). Climb the crack up to an alcove/rest stance below an imposing roof; pull the roof on fantastic holds, then continue up a steep section to easier ground, topping out in the trees. Enjoy the view! 5.7+, 140'


Shares the start with Sentinel Buttress. Scramble climber's right to the bolted rap station at the top of that climb and make two raps to the ground.


Take a full range of cams and passive pro; small pieces are useful to protect the traverse. Bring plenty of slings, including double-lengths, to avoid rope drag. Double ropes are a plus. Build a gear anchor and/or sling trees.
This is a local classic. Awesome exposure with a pretty large roof for a 5.7 route. It is located on the right side of Circus Wall.
Good gear, fun route. There is a rap station to the right of the top of the route. Jul 6, 2007
Decatur, GA
saxfiend   Decatur, GA  
Wow! What a great ride! This route is every bit as good as everyone says it is. The roof is loads of fun, but the really heady part of Zoo View for me was the thin traverse moves at the start of the money pitch. Highly recommended! Sep 4, 2007
The name for this route and the adjacent Circus Wall came from the large numbers of beginning climbers we would often find thrashing in this area. Sometimes a real three-ringer. Mar 10, 2010
I've climbed this route more times than I can remember, and I will never get tired of leading out through the roof. You could hang a volkswagon on those jugs...

Think every placement except the bolt can be no hands rest if you climb this right. Mar 29, 2010
Ryan Williams
London (sort of)
Ryan Williams   London (sort of)
Does anyone else skip the traversing business and just go straight up a few feet past the bolt? This has to be the original way. No way they would have traversed out so far on the FA. May 22, 2010

It sounds like you're describing the same thing everyone really does, which is to clip the bolt from that strange pocket thing, step left, hit the corner jug thing, walk your feet around the corner till you hit big ledges, then go up. I think the next piece I place after the bolt is about 5-10ft left and probably the same up. Not really a traverse so much as diagonally up and left.

I've also traversed into Break on Through, but thats not a 5.7 traverse, is very pumpy, and unintuitive. Sep 24, 2010
Ryan Williams
London (sort of)
Ryan Williams   London (sort of)
@ J-Wright:

I dunno man. In this picture the guy has traversed out left and placed a piece. I've seen a lot of people do this. Instead, I just pull that mini roof thing and go up from there. Dec 23, 2010
Jan Tarculas
Riverside, Ca
Jan Tarculas   Riverside, Ca
Hardest moves on this climb for me was clipping the bolt and slightly traversing left and up, then jug fest from there Oct 5, 2011
Ryan Williams
London (sort of)
Ryan Williams   London (sort of)
@RNclimber: You did it right then. The crux moves are all right around the bolt. Get a good small stopper before the bolt. Oct 16, 2011
Robert Hutchins
Robert Hutchins  
The "classic" 7+ way pulls up as you suggested. It maybe feels a little less secure to some people, but is more moderate than the low (5.8?) traverse, and is less run if you are minimizing rope drag.

For some reason this route just never impressed me the way that others at Moore's do. I think there are better at almost all grades at Moore's, but I'm obviously in the minority. Having said that, NC doesn't exactly excel in its 5.7 offerings, so listing it as one of the best 5.7s in the state wouldn't be an exaggeration, even for me. Dec 21, 2011
Jake Jones
Richmond, VA
Jake Jones   Richmond, VA  
If you would have followed the top of the cliff to climber's right, for, idk, no more than 200 ft or so, you would have found a nice comfy ledge with a small pine growing out of it. There is a set of rap anchors right there, just over the edge; on a small, left-facing wall. This location is the top of the 5.5 Sentinel Buttress route. These anchors are shared by all routes that top out on the Circus Wall and SB.

Also, no need to hike 4 miles down the back side. There's a trail that runs the ridge of Moore's. Just go up a little ways from where you top out, and you can't miss it. Start veering left into a gulley before you reach the lookout- which if I recall correctly you start seeing signs for right around the same time the gulley becomes visible.

I did that my first time @ Moore's because there was a line at the anchors and the Crow's Nest was crowded. Not too bad, considering I was carrying my rack, a rope, and did the hike in a pair of Mythos. The walk off also gave me a chance to see the routes along the Central Wall. I will though, consider bringing a light pair of approach shoes with me if I'm in question about descent options or if it looks crowded.

Moore's ethics frown upon anything new; that includes bolts and nylon around trees where there isn't an established anchor. If you want to reinforce an existing one, I'm sure no one would object as long as you're not leaving a manky mess. Jan 21, 2012
Carl A
brooklyn, ny
Carl A   brooklyn, ny
My first climb in NC, Zoo view, was a wonderful swift kick to the nuts. The roof was more intimidating than hard, and I found the traverse really tricky. If I had to do it over again, I would stay way way lower and go 10-15 feet around the corner before going up. May 23, 2012
Salt Lake City, UT
Dumptruck   Salt Lake City, UT
The roof takes a bomber #4 C4 from below that protects the move beautifully. You might be able to wiggle a #3 in, or pull the roof and stick pro while you're doing it...but it was nice to have the bigger piece before pulling the roof.

Also, this really is a Moore's 5.7+...i.e. it's not unreasonable to advise a leader that they're going to want to be solid climbing 5.9s elsewhere before committing. That said, the cruxes all take good pro. Sep 17, 2012
I love this route, the traverse is the crux and make sure to use a long QuickDraw or you get a lot of rope drag. The roof is awesome and a cake walk to the top. All the routes on the circus wall are top notch, Moores is probably the best or at least my favorite climbing areas in NC. Sep 4, 2013
There was a minor accident on this route recently. Because of the traverse the force on the belayer after the leader has clipped the bolt will be horizontal if the leader falls. The belayer was not properly anchored and was pulled into the rock face and suffered a cut on the head. Fortunately they did not drop the climber and while the cut bled profusely the injury did not seem especially severe otherwise. It's probably a good idea to use your own anchor instead of the rap station which is meant for a downward load and of course make sure it can't extend far enough for the belayer to hit the rock in case of a fall. Jun 3, 2015
Winston-Salem, NC
Benandstuff   Winston-Salem, NC
I ended up doing this one as three pitches due to gear worries, belaying under the big roof. Little did I know that the top was some cruiser climbing. I think I only placed about three big pieces in the last 80 feet.

If you're getting heady on the traverse, there are lots of little placements around that will protect small pendulum falls. But it's much, much easier to just barrel on through to the crack after you clip the bolt. Nov 1, 2015
Dylan B.  
Anchor 2nd Pitch: Save a couple of hand-sze cams (##1-4 C4s) for the anchor at the top and try to spare the trees. There's a good boulder set back from the edge about 15' with good placements. If you have the pro and build your anchor with the rope or a long cordalette, you can reduce the impact on the trees here (which see a lot of traffic).

Descent:The bolted rappel station for Sentinel Buttress is about 20 feet to the climber's right of where Zoo View tops out. Easy walking along the cliff edge, descend down about 5-10 feet onto a large, obvious ledge with a small tree on it. The station is on a vertical face in a corner.

Consists to two bolts, two quicklinks, and a length of cable which is frayed on the ends (and can really frazz up your rope's sheath).

A 70m rope gets you down to the Crow's Nest with length to spare. A 60m might (?) leave you down-climbing a few feet of super easy terrain. Jun 25, 2016
Russ Keane
Asheville, NC
Russ Keane   Asheville, NC
This was one of the best pitches of rock climbing I have ever done. Simply outstanding! It's really steep and imposing. But not unfair by any means. Just an absolute good time, and a memory to cherish for all time. Uber-classic!! Jul 23, 2016
Will Bradford
Winston-Salem, North Carolina
Will Bradford   Winston-Salem, North Carolina
If you're holding off on leading this because of the roof, you should stop worrying and lead this really fun route. Taller climbers don't even have to do any roof moves provided they have enough upper body strength to do a pullup... the holds are absolutely enormous jugs.

The crux traverse protects well with small cams. Tricams are useful. Oct 11, 2016
Garrett Logan
Hickory, NC
Garrett Logan   Hickory, NC
Reflecting after climbing this magnificent line I found two things to be certain. The P2 traverse may not seem like a 5.7, but it is. No move is harder than a 5.7; however, it is steep and sustained so if you are heading up this route be ready. It will get in your face. Secondly, the roof pull is just out of this world. Fantastic holds, and a mixture of climbing (face, roof, crack system, and traverses) make this a fantastic 5.7. That being said this route is not for the feint of heart. This is moore's the ratings are steep and so is this route. Jul 1, 2017
Seth Hogan
Frisco, Co
Seth Hogan   Frisco, Co
First pitch is, eh. Second pitch is okay. Steeper than it looks. Good pro. Okay climb with a cool roof. Top out; walk climbers right for ~25' to find a rap station over the edge.

Is there a walk off anywhere around here? Considering a car-to-car timed solo. Oct 23, 2017
Steve Lineberry
Charlotte, NC
Steve Lineberry   Charlotte, NC  
I haven't done the walk off but here's some info that I think will work.

I think the quickest way is to go climbers right and wonder down the gulley climber's right of the hanging garden. This descent is 3rd/4th class if I remember correctly.

I'm also pretty sure you can go climbers left at the top of the cliff and link up with the meat puppet's gulley for a easier, but longer walk off. Oct 24, 2017
Austin Goff
Winston-Salem, NC
Austin Goff   Winston-Salem, NC
A solo speed attempt of a 2 pitch 5.7... I thought I had heard it all.

I wouldn't suggest going climbers right via the Hanging Garden unless you want to do two exposed sections of 5th class down scrambling. Down via the Meat Puppet decent is probably about as fast and all dirt trail. Oct 24, 2017
Jill H.
Spartanburg, SC
Jill H.   Spartanburg, SC
I led this after following it several times and I think it feels easier on lead (onsighting though might be hard). However, as a short climber (5’1”) I do lose my feet at the roof traverse so be prepared for that if you’re petite. FYI, I traverse pretty far past the bolt before going up (stand on small ledge, get gear, then traverse a tad more). May 12, 2018
Shane Rosanbalm
Chapel Hill, NC
  5.7 PG13
Shane Rosanbalm   Chapel Hill, NC
  5.7 PG13
I've been in the vicinity of Zoo View each of the last 2 weekends. The traverse has been crushing the seconds. Of the 7 groups that I saw on the route: 2 seconds climbed cleanly, 2 seconds had an early fall but managed to finish, and 3 seconds had to abandon the route.

I was the leader in one of the groups that had to abandon. My partner for the day regularly climbs 5.11 in the gym, so I thought it wouldn't be a big deal for them to second. But I now know that the traverse looks completely blank to an indoor climber. Please carefully consider your partner's *outdoor* experience before bringing them to Zoo View! Jun 25, 2018
Steve Lineberry
Charlotte, NC
Steve Lineberry   Charlotte, NC  
I remember taking 20 ft top rope falls as a beginner trying to second on the traverse as well (my belayer was at the top of the cliff). I think conditions played into my inability to do the traverse and I was getting pumped out because it's slightly overhanging after the step over move. We also had to bail and someone else lead it on our gear and their second cleaned it for us. :| Communication is also hard on this wall. It's almost like you have to yell toward hopscotch for your partner to hear you. Jun 26, 2018
Trad Dad Atlas
charlotte, nc
Trad Dad Atlas   charlotte, nc
The beginning traverse is much easier if you stay low on the jug / crimp rail and then reach your left foot over to a foot ledge prior to reaching the jugs. Also, if you place a piece prior to the bolt on the traverse, I felt that it was useful to back clean it after getting the bolt and / or 1 piece after the bolt. This really helps with drag as it can get pretty out of control on this route once you reach the slab section. Great Route! Sep 3, 2018