REI Community
(s) Monkey Face
Routes Sorted
L to R R to L Alpha
Astro Monkey T 
Backbone, The S 
East Face T 
Just Do It S 
Monkey Off My Back S 
Monkey Space S 
North Face, The T 
Northwest Passage (Aid) T 
Northwest Passage (Free) T 
Pioneer Route T,S 
Rising Expectations T 
Spank the Monkey S 
Spank The Monkey(Full) S 
West Face (Aid) T 
West Face Variation T 
West Face Variation Direct T 

The North Face 

YDS: 5.12a French: 7a+ Ewbanks: 25 UIAA: VIII+ ZA: 25 British: E5 6a

Type:  Trad, 3 pitches, 400', Grade III
Original:  YDS: 5.12a French: 7a+ Ewbanks: 25 UIAA: VIII+ ZA: 25 British: E5 6a [details]
FA: Alan Watts
Page Views: 8,745
Submitted By: Monomaniac on Nov 29, 2006

You & This Route  |  Other Opinions (10)
Your todo list:
Your stars:
Your rating: -none- [change]
Your ticklist: [add new tick]
Your opinion of this PAGE:    [0 people like this page.]
On the Crux pitch of the North Face

Seasonal Raptor Closure MORE INFO >>>


This stellar crack system is one of the best routes on the Monkey, and easily the best crack of its grade at Smith. The crux crack pitch can be climbed in two pitches, but is much more classic and challenging as one mega pitch. Be sure to use a 60m rope for this option.

Considered by many to be 12b, the crux pitch requires a multitude of skills and abilities, not the least of which is the ability to place gear while pumped. The final traverse in to the West Face Cave will feel pretty desperate with 50m of rope hanging from your harness.


North Face of the Monkey. Approach via Misery Ridge, and traverse the 5.6 choss band below Spank the Monkey.


At least 12 draws, and all the finger-sized cams you can scrounge. The crack takes nuts as well, if you want to pump out fiddling with gear.

Photos of The North Face Slideshow Add Photo
Rock Climbing Photo: Hanging out at the belay.
BETA PHOTO: Hanging out at the belay.
Rock Climbing Photo: The awesome, steep flake
The awesome, steep flake
Rock Climbing Photo: Meg just starting into the crux
Meg just starting into the crux

Comments on The North Face Add Comment
Show which comments
By corvegas
From: the depths of oregon
Feb 10, 2007

the fa was done by dean caldwell and joe kindler in 1967 via the bolt ladder, then in 1968 tom bauman and bob ashworth did the regular start. alan lester really got the FFA via the bolt ladder in 1983, alan watts didnt free the line till 1985 but via the regular line.
By Monomaniac
From: Morrison, CO
Mar 5, 2007

If Lester climbed the bolt ladder then he didn't free the route (unless he climbs 5.16c), so how can he be credited with the FFA?
By peachy spohn
Jul 22, 2009

This is the best route I have climbed at Smith!!! It is much longer than full Henious, amazingly exposed, solid rock, and beautiful position.
Small nuts were really useful and a number six metolious is the biggest cam you would need...lots of small cams and stoppers.
Oh yeah, and this route is AMAZING!
By Nick M
May 30, 2013

Wow. Serious wow. I don't comment much, but this is as beautiful of a line you'll ever see; truly inspiring. Though it can be as intimidating as hell, I'd encourage sub-5.12 climbers (like myself) to consider it. It's truly a mixed route, with 2-3 key bolts protecting some* of the tricky sections. There's not a 5.12 move on it, just sustained .11 with lots of rope weighing you down. While the hardest climbing requires gear and comes at the top when you're pumped, it's so steep and there's so much rope out to absorb your fall that it makes a great, great place to push yourself. The rock looks, feels, and protects better than many other cracks on the tuff. The money pitch of the "North Face" is called the "NW Corner", which can easily be done alone. As of 5/13, a fixed line gets you out to the belay, avoiding having to lead a 5.6 choss traverse.

So, go for it! Heck, TR it via the west face cave first, accessed most easily by Monkey Space pitch 1. You'll see, it's all there. Many completely capable climbers have it on their long-term bucket list, but they really could climb it this week. Of course, it requires being comfortable placing gear while pumped, and being comfortable with clean, soft, but long-ish falls on said gear.

I think the best part of climbing is when, with enough effort and faith, you can really surprise yourself with what you can do. I think this route could be that for a lot of folks. Enjoy.
By Mike Rowley
From: Boise, Idaho
May 4, 2015

I have been intimidated by this route for several years now and finally got the courage to try it this past weekend. What an amazing line!! There are no 5.12 moves on it, but it feels hard with 60 meters of rope pulling on you. Despite several foot slips, I managed to pull off the onsight!

This climb is totally safe if you are comfortable placing and trusting small gear. DMM offset Peanuts were absolutely money any place that I wanted pro. Next time I climb it, I won't bring a single cam. I used 3 on my lead, but they weren't that great and were really fidgety to place. The flake eats small nuts though.
By bheller
From: SL UT
Oct 30, 2015
rating: 5.12b 7b 26 VIII+ 26 E5 6b

A perfect line. Factor in the length, the exposure, the steepness, the areas of stubborn gear, and the sustained climbing, and this route easily warrants a grade bump from sunshine dihedral. Above the second to last bolt, in the steep red stone crux, a gear ripping fall that would eventually be caught by the bolt could smash you on the lower angle slab 40 feet sure not to push that;)

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