Shock the monkey

Posted: June 6, 2005 in Uncategorized


(more pictures, though sadly not from Sunday)

From the first time I saw it, I wanted to climb Monkey Face. A huge, free-standing column of rock, it’s the most notable feature of Smith, and every time I passed it, I watched the parties making their way up with envy. This weekend, I finally got that chance, along with a number of other unexpected climbs.

Saturday was a fairly quiet day. A couple friends from work who we’d been coaching at the Columns made the trip to Smith, and we introduced them to Smith tuff on Ginger Snap (5.8) and Bunny Face (5.7), which was apparently plenty for their weekend, as they took the next day off. In between putting those up, Ben did a kickass job putting up two classics none of us but Shelly had gotten to climb, Karate Crack (5.10a) and Moonshine Dihedral (5.8). Just looking at them, I could see why they would be considered classics, but as is always the case, climbing them gave me true appreciation.

Sunday turned out completely different than planned. Our newbies opting out of more climbing and some friends who said they might show but didn’t freed us up to climb whatever we wanted. As luck would have it, Karsten and Reluca showed up out of the blue the night before at our campfire, and invited us to join them on Monkey Face. And there was no way I could turn that down.

Since only Karsten, being the uberclimber he is, had done Monkey Face before, we took the Pioneer Route, which is a mix of scrambling, 5.7s, and a bolt ladder. The easy grade was just as well though, since this one climb marked a number of firsts for me: first multipitch climb, first time using ascenders, first time climbing with that kind of exposure, and first time climbing with a 4-person party. I even got to lead the 3rd pitch, which was from the monkey’s mouth to the eye, and is, as Karsten put it, “the most exposed 5.7 you will ever do”. Climbing on the sharp end nearly 200′ off the deck is a whole other experience.

Unfortunately I hadn’t anticipated the wind being so strong and so cold, so I was a little underdressed, but the climb was more than worth being cold for a while. Standing on that pinnacle, looking all around and seeing only a dropoff, was incredibly gratifying. Even rapelling off, hanging in space 60m off the ground, was amazing. I can’t wait to do it again.

Sadly, that climb also marked a sendoff for Karsten and Reluca, who are moving to Vegas. But really, it just gives me another excuse to go to Red Rocks.

My one and only regret from the weekend: my camera batteries died Saturday night. Hopefully Karsten will send some of the pictures he took.

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Comments
  1. a_wags says:

    cries.
    i really
    really
    wish I was there

  2. Anonymous says:

    cries.

    i really

    really

    wish I was there

  3. muffster says:

    that was by far one of the best climbing weekends i have ever have. eventualy i will write my memoirs as well, but not yet….
    this weekend totaly reminded me why i climb. why i seek those intense experiences and why i live the way i do and know all the wonderful people I l know.

  4. Anonymous says:

    that was by far one of the best climbing weekends i have ever have. eventualy i will write my memoirs as well, but not yet….

    this weekend totaly reminded me why i climb. why i seek those intense experiences and why i live the way i do and know all the wonderful people I l know.

    • Anonymous says:

      Ya, that was truly an ultimate weekend. I’ve been taking great pleasure all day in showing people that picture and telling them we climbed it. 😉

      • Anonymous says:

        truely! i am having a hard time getting over myself 😉 I keep admiring my bruses 😀

  5. acadiabaird says:

    this is so damn sweet! i am so happy for you, what an outstanding weekend!
    I, too, had a big first this past weekend, climbing (i already climbed it many years ago) Mt Adams, but i SKIIED DOWN! this was a first, something I will never forget….I can’t wait to do it again.
    I want to get a group of women to go and do it with me again (of course, this weekend, i was the only woman in a party of 6, and that’s just not right!)
    anyway congrats! and can’t wait to see more pics!
    very inspiring!

  6. Anonymous says:

    this is so damn sweet! i am so happy for you, what an outstanding weekend!

    I, too, had a big first this past weekend, climbing (i already climbed it many years ago) Mt Adams, but i SKIIED DOWN! this was a first, something I will never forget….I can’t wait to do it again.

    I want to get a group of women to go and do it with me again (of course, this weekend, i was the only woman in a party of 6, and that’s just not right!)

    anyway congrats! and can’t wait to see more pics!
    very inspiring!

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