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Monkey Puzzle 

YDS: 5.12b French: 7b Ewbanks: 26 UIAA: VIII+ ZA: 26 British: E5 6b

Type:  Sport, 1 pitch
Original:  YDS: 5.12b French: 7b Ewbanks: 26 UIAA: VIII+ ZA: 26 British: E5 6b [details]
FA: Alvino Pon & Mark Pell, 1994
Page Views: 3,400
Submitted By: Richard M. Wright on Feb 9, 2002

You & This Route  |  Other Opinions (18)
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A climber working his way over the giant overhang ...


Monkey Puzzle climbs the large overhang right of Puzzled Monkey and is the first route you pass on the way up to the Brown Cloud crags. A clean, vertical face gains a good stance below the roof. From this stance, a pair of large jugs sets up a cruxy move to the lip with the left hand - from here on out the puzzle begins. I had an opportunity to try and solve Monkey Puzzle with Pat Burwick and Greg Purnell, on separate occasions in February. While I thrashed away, the younger, smarter pair threw a heel hook on the left and swam over the roof. Monkey Puzzle is a fine problem that just begs to be misinterpreted: trying to overpower it will likely fail whereas solving the technical puzzle will let you pass on superb kinesthetic movement.


Seven draws (eds. currently 6) and a rope.

Originally, this was done on gear on the lower face. The upper bolts were placed ground-up.

Photos of Monkey Puzzle Slideshow Add Photo
Rock Climbing Photo: Perfect January day.   1/19/2013.
Perfect January day. 1/19/2013.
Rock Climbing Photo: Mid-crux.
Rock Climbing Photo: Tim Caldwell fighting through 30-40 MPH winds on t...
Tim Caldwell fighting through 30-40 MPH winds on t...
Rock Climbing Photo: Tim Caldwell with the high heel, right before the ...
Tim Caldwell with the high heel, right before the ...
Rock Climbing Photo: Monkey Puzzle.  Puzzled Monkey is to the left, and...
Monkey Puzzle. Puzzled Monkey is to the left, and...
Rock Climbing Photo: Tim Caldwell working hard on the Monkey.
Tim Caldwell working hard on the Monkey.
Rock Climbing Photo: Greg dusting it.
Greg dusting it.
Rock Climbing Photo: Greg again.
Greg again.
Rock Climbing Photo: Greg in the puzzle.
Greg in the puzzle.
Rock Climbing Photo: Puzzled Monkey and Monkey Puzzle.
BETA PHOTO: Puzzled Monkey and Monkey Puzzle.
Rock Climbing Photo: Greg Purnell solving the puzzle almost effortlessl...
Greg Purnell solving the puzzle almost effortlessl...

Comments on Monkey Puzzle Add Comment
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By Adam Peters
From: Salt Lake City, Utah
Aug 3, 2007
rating: 5.12a 7a+ 25 VIII+ 25 E5 6a

I did this route in the winter as an after thought at the end of the day. I had been a little intimidated to try it given its short nature and grade, but upon getting on it I learned two things. This route is definitely not 12c, maybe 12a'ish. It is really 5.9 climbing to a V4 boulder problem. Two, over the lip there is a blatantly enhanced hold. Funny, I didn't even have to use this hold to make the move. And we figured other beta, a right heel under the roof works too. Not to say, this is a pretty fun route, so you should get on it. Don't be intimidated.
By martin tikusis
Dec 11, 2008

I felt this climb landed about 12b however the new guide goes as far as downgrading to 12a. Personally I thought it was harder than Golden Cliffs' Pseudo Bullet which the new guide has decided to upgrade from 12a to 12b. Hmmm just shows personal strengths and styles really differ when deciding grades.
By Jay Samuelson
From: Denver CO
Mar 17, 2009
rating: 5.12 7b+ 27 VIII+ 26 E6 6b

Thanks to whoever put in the time and effort to make this climb safe again by replacing the bolt, we appreciate it.

And I agree, this a fun route. Decent face climbing up to a cool roof. I couldn't tell if the sidepull/undercling was drilled or not (assuming this is the hold Adam is refering to), but I ended up not using it either. Regardless, fun little route that delivers a pump, and a little sandbagged at .12a if you ask me, but you didn't.
By Luke Childers
May 5, 2009
rating: 5.12b 7b 26 VIII+ 26 E5 6b

Nice line for Table Mt. I think a good 12b rating would do the trick for me. Worth giving a run for sure.
By Mark Pell
Mar 1, 2013

Alvino and I put up this route on the lead with direct aid under the roof from a pin, a zero TCU and small nuts, but there were originally no bolts at all on the lower face, which was adequately protected clean, also with TCUs and nuts. We hand-drilled our bolts, and the one above the lip was placed with great difficulty from a Chouinard hook and a small RP. Establishing the fixed pro took two visits trading leads about five times, then Alvin was the first to get the redpoint on our second day of free attempts. At the time this route was put up in the early-mid 1990s, it was probably the hardest ground-up free climb at Table, an area known primarily for rap-protected sport routes. Early repeats had the difficulty consensus as high as 12c, trending down to 12b once the heel-hook beta got out. Adam Peters mentions a hold above the roof which he said is blatantly enhanced. This may be the reason the climb now goes at 12a, but this alteration was not done by us or it would have been noticed by our knowledgable hard-climbing friends of the era from the Denver/Boulder area. We're pleased this route has become popular now that it's at the beginning of the walk in instead of the end, as it was in the old days.
By Mark E Dixon
From: Sprezzatura, Someday
Apr 20, 2016

There are currently 6 bolts.

The 5th bolt, just over the lip of the roof is placed so that the bolt-side carabiner is cross loaded over the edge.

I added a quicklink and a Fixe ring so that you can now clip the 5th without worrying about biner breakage. It might also come in handy for strategic retreats but isn't in place for that purpose.

If someone was really inspired, he/she could replace the ring with another beefy SS quicklink, but it hardly seems worth the effort. I would have used two links but was limited by what was in my pack.

Tricky beta - have fun!

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