REI Community
The Monkey Skull

Routes Sorted
L to R R to L Alpha
Amy, Good Gorilla T 
Casual Corner T 
Fever Dance T 
Fringe Dweller T,S,TR 
Hollow Be Thy Name T,S 
Looking for Trouble T 
Monkey Trial T,S 
Ripple S 
Skull and Bones S 
Summit Block T,S 
Sunshine Dihedral T 
Upside The Cranium S 
Unsorted Routes:

The Monkey Skull Rock Climbing 

Photos:  Recent | Best | Popular
Page Views: 12,433
Administrators: Leo Paik, John McNamee, Frances Fierst, Monty, Monomaniac, Kristine Hoffman (sitewide)
Submitted By: Richard M. Wright on Jan 1, 2001


50° | 43°

50° | 41°

59° | 46°

68° | 48°

66° | 41°
You & This Area
Best climbs for YOU in this area
Your opinion of this PAGE:    [0 people like this page.]
Know the location? Show us! We need it for cool new features!
BETA PHOTO: Monkey Skull with [most] routes approximated.


The Monkey Skull is arguably the most popular climbing destination in the SSV canyon. It is a large, West facing plate with a good mix of moderate trad and moderate sport routes. Most of the climbing runs into 5.9 to 5.10+. The Monkey Skull is a good granite crag that picks up afternoon sun, and it has a short approach and enough routes to keep a climbing party busy for a day.

Getting There 

The Monkey Skull is just about 6.5 miles up canyon. Parking can be had on the South side of the road. The crag and the trail up are obvious from the road.

Climbing Season

Weather station 8.9 miles from here

12 Total Climbing Routes

['4 Stars',0],['3 Stars',3],['2 Stars',6],['1 Star',3],['Bomb',0]

Classic Climbing Routes in The Monkey Skull

Mountain Project's determination of the classic, most popular, highest rated climbing routes for The Monkey Skull:
Casual Corner   5.8+ 5b 16 VI- 15 HVS 4c     Trad, 1 pitch, 80'   
Sunshine Dihedral   5.10b 6a+ 19 VII- 19 E2 5b     Trad, 1 pitch, 120'   
Upside The Cranium   5.10b/c 6b 20 VII 20 E2 5b     Sport, 1 pitch, 100'   
Hollow Be Thy Name   5.10c 6b 20 VII 20 E2 5b     Trad, Sport, 1 pitch, 90'   
Skull and Bones   5.10c 6b 20 VII 20 E2 5b     Sport, 1 pitch, 110'   
Monkey Trial   5.10c 6b 20 VII 20 E2 5b     Trad, Sport, 1 pitch, 105'   
Fever Dance   5.10c/d 6b+ 21 VII+ 21 E3 5b     Trad, 1 pitch, 100'   
Browse More Rock Climbing Classics in The Monkey Skull

Featured Route For The Monkey Skull
Rock Climbing Photo: Upper third of the pitch.

Upside The Cranium 5.10b/c 6b 20 VII 20 E2 5b  Colorado : Lyons : ... : The Monkey Skull
Upside The Cranium is the best of the lines on the Monkey Skull. It begins just right of the main trad dihedral on greyish, sub-vertical rock. The route begins to steepen as you approach bolt 4 and finishes up just about vertical. No one move is all that difficult, and most moves are 5.10- until near the last bolt where a long reach on thin but good edges delivers the crux (5.10c). Worth a pair of stars for the good rock, the continuity, and the fun climbing moves on well bolted stone....[more]   Browse More Classics in Colorado

Photos of The Monkey Skull Slideshow Add Photo
Rock Climbing Photo:

Comments on The Monkey Skull Add Comment
Show which comments
By George Bell
From: Boulder, CO
Jul 28, 2002
Although there is a fairly good trail to the base of this rock, there is tons of poison ivy everywhere along it, so be careful!
By Leo Paik
From: Westminster, Colorado
Jun 17, 2003
Anyone know what the 12 bolt line between Hollow be thy name & Sunshine Dihedral is?
By Crusty
Jun 18, 2003
Leo, see discussion from 5/21/03 under area South Saint Vrain Canyon.
By Anonymous Coward
Jun 26, 2003
Led said 12 bolt route with red hangers yesterday 6/25/03. Might be a cruxy 10c if you stay on route. Stay away from the poison ivy tree, climb the thin face to the left of that bush, climb the crimpers to finger ledge to clip bolt 9 (I think its 9, last bolt before the traverse around the corner to the left). I placed a yellow Flex Friend on the way up the last vertical section, but this was unecessary, just quickdraws is enough gear. The only bolt not worth clipping might be #5, I back-unclipped it to keep drag down. For a minute, It felt like higher 10/11 crimpers, but its over too quickly to increase the grade above 10c...hell, it might even go at 10b if you know what to expect...I will have to climb it again to know for sure, its pretty safe climbing though, give it a try, **.
By paul pomeroy
May 12, 2012
The new line above the second tier is Ripple 11b(?). I put it up early in 2011 if I remember correctly. I never got around to submitting it, but I will now. Fun slab climbing after a tough start. QDs only. Makes a nice addendum to Upside/Sunshine, etc. Enjoy.
By Mathias
From: Loveland, CO
Apr 4, 2017
RE toprope access:

If you're not comfortable leading 5.10 but want to top rope some of these routes, you should know that the gully to the left of the wall is not a practical route for accessing the anchors. Whilst there is a 5.7 handcrack (see SSV guidebook by Gillett) starting above the grassy ledge towards the top of the gully/chimney, it's a real pain getting to it with lots of loose rock, vegetation, and lichen.

I'm sure there are more round-about ways of accessing the main ledge, but it seems the most straightforward is to climb Casual Corner (trad 5.8+).

Mountain Project

The Definitive Climbing Resource

MTB Project

Next Generation MTB Trail Maps

Powder Project

Backcountry Ski Maps & Secret Stashes
FREE Stickers · Gyms · RSS · School of Rock · Contact · About