Monkey Island Route Descriptions

The routes are named alphabetically from East to West (left to right) on the cliff face.  These climbs are all "PG" (good protection) except Lemur.

East Wall

View East Wall Overview Photo

Caution: The four cracks on the far left of East Wall (Simian, Left Ape, Right Ape, and Baboon) all have large loose blocks at the top that require care and circumspection.
Simian Symposium (5.6) (no route photo available)
About thirty feet left of the left Ape Cracks (below) is another crack with a block in the middle. Climb over a small step, then up to a steep crack/corner (5.6) and up to the block with a crack on either side. Pass this on the right (5.6). (The left side of the block is 5.8.)
Ape Cracks (5.3) View Route Photo
These are two parallel cracks about 8 feet apart at the far left (east) end of the cliff. 
Right Ape Crack: Easy, barely fifth class at the crux.
Left Ape Crack:  The crux is a steep move with big jugs over a block, still pretty easy, probably 5.3.
If you start the climb at a bush 30' off the ground, you can reach the tree at the top with 165' rope.  Both of these climbs have adequate but not excellent pro in the lower, 4th class section, but they do have good pro at the crux.  View Anchor Photo
Baboon (5.6) View Route Photo
An easy fun climb with a cool chimney move.  Great climb for the beginning leader.  This crack is the first continuous crack to the right of the Ape Cracks.  An identifying feature is a deep slot or chimney at about two-thirds height topped by a white chockstone.  The first pitch is 4th class, belay beneath the first tiny roof.  The second pitch goes through the chimney and follows the crack to the top.
Gear:  Medium to large nuts.  Cams to #4 Camalot.
Caution:  The large white chockstone above the chimney is not secure; it moves when shaken.  Climb under this chockstone into the wide slot and chimney up behind it.
Bonobo [buh-noh-boh] (5.9) View Route Photo
This route follows the long continuous crack through the center of the East Wall. A challenging climb through three consecutive roofs. The first is a 5.7 bulge, the second goes through a notch, 5.8.  The final steep section is split by two cracks.  The right hand crack requires an awkward move up onto a tiny pedastel and then a short but steep 5.9 hand crack.  (The left hand variation is yet unclimbed). The climbing is strenuous, but the pro is great; you can place a camming device above you in the crack before committing to the move.  Belay from blocks on the summit.
Gear: Medium to large nuts and cams.
Capuchin (5.8)
A great crack climb where good hand-jam technique will have you stylin'.  This route is about 10' left of Chimpanzee, and goes up through three steep sections. These roofs appear intimidating from underneath, but the climbing turns out to be easier than it looks from below.  The cracks are perfect hand size and will accept all the protection you can carry. 
Climb 160' of easy fifth class and belay beneath a short overhanging roof.  Move left to avoid the overhang.  Stem, then high step up onto a comfortable shelf above the overhang.  This move can be protected with a small cam, but you will want to back-clean it to avoid rope drag.  Move right along the shelf into the main crack and then climb upward through the steep rock, enjoying positive holds and foot jams.  After about 40' the difficulties ease up.  The last section moves left and up an easy series of step-like flakes and blocks to the top.  Large blocks about 30' back from the top are available for an anchor.
Gear: Medium to large nuts, big hexes, as many hand-sized cams as you can put together - at least doubles of #2 & #3 Camalot. You'll probably still want to back clean.  The first belay takes smaller cams (e.g., #.5 - #1 Camalot).

New leader tip: If you construct your top anchor at some distance from the edge of the cliff, you might want to move forward and belay near the edge. You'll have better communication with the follower and you'll reduce rope drag over the edge. How to extend an anchor
Chimpanzee (5.7+)
Perhaps the best route on the cliff and certainly the most obvious.  Follow a crack from the base all the way to the top.  A huge white right facing dihedral is an obvious landmark at the top of the climb. The first pitch is easy fifth; belay where the rock steepens to vertical.  If you have a 200' rope you can belay at a more comfortable stance about 30' lower.  A #2 Camalot or equivalent protects the last move out of the crack onto the top of the left-hand wall. View Action Photo. After pulling over the top, move up and left about 12' to a left-facing flake with a tiny tree growing out of the top. An anchor can be constructed with Orange, Red, and Yellow Aliens or equivalent.  View Anchor Photos
Gear: Medium nuts. #0.5 - #4 Camalot. 

New leader tip: The top anchor on this climb can be challenging to construct for those unaccustomed to gear placements. Consider walking to the top and preplacing the gear you need for the anchor, then descend and climb the route.

Center Wall

Gibbon (5.7)
Climb about 160' of easy fifth class up a broken left facing corner.  About 15' below the belay is a large hole, 3' wide and 3' deep.  Belay from a stance with a double-length runner around a horn that points east.  The blocks overhead are surmounted by some fun moves around the left side, then face climb up ledges and then traverse right to the top.  Belay just below the top with a #4 Camalot and a large stopper for anchors.  View Anchor Location
Gear: Small to medium nuts and cams.  Long runners.  One or two large cams for the top anchor.
Photo courtesy of
Howler Traverse (5.3)
The longest route on the cliff, this is a fun, easy, and very scenic traverse.  Most of the climbing is 4th class, with an occassional easy 5th class move.  This would be a great first multi-pitch route for the neophyte climber.  This route is also a great route to do as a "Welcome to Monkey Island" since it offers good vantage points for observing many of the other routes. One caution is that there are several mildly runout sloping traverses which may prove psychologically challenging to the new leader or to the inexperienced follower.
Climb the first pitch of Gibbon, a low angle broken left-facing corner  (160').  Anchor with a double length runner around a horn.  Move right on an obvious easy ledge system, aiming for the upper of two large trees in the center of the cliff.  This tree is distinguished by two branches in a "Y" configuration.  Climb under, around, or through this tree (please be gentle) and then continue on the ledge system aiming for a second tree about 50' further along.  Belay from this second tree.  The last pitch is about 100' and follows the ledge system diagonally up and right, aiming for the skyline at the corner of the cliff.  View Action Photo.  Belay from two bolts (at the top of Orangutan/Spider Monkey) just before you turn the corner onto the top of the cliff. 
Gear: medium nuts and cams, double-length runners.

Lemur (5.9)
A challenging climb that tries unsuccessfully to take a direct route up the vertical line of the two largest trees in the center of the cliff.  This route is for experienced leaders.  The route wanders among features, the protection requires skill and patience, and the crux is a scary balance move (read "no hands") 10' above an adequate but not great nut placement.  However, for the most part the difficulties are only 5.7, and the climbing is interesting and rewarding.
Start about 15' right (east) of the largest tree in the center of the cliff.  Work upward among flakes to gain a prominent ramp/shelf that leads diagonally left and ends at the tree.  The first pitch protects with mostly medium nuts.  Belay from the tree (160'). Move left and down onto a small ledge.  Work left about 20' to a faint ramp that goes up and left.  With some effort a small nut placement can be found under a flake; a tiny TCU might work here also.  Now make a few delicate moves on knobs and step onto the top of the ramp; the crux is standing up and reaching for the jugs up to the left.  Scramble about 30' up a blocky 4th class section, aiming for a left-facing corner with small tufts of grass.  This corner is just right of a prominent 25' horizontal roof.  A 5.7 move gets you over the corner.  Again, medium nut placements can be found to protect this move, but it requires effort.  Once above the corner, walk a comfortable ledge about 20' right (no pro) to where you can resume upward progress.  Easy climbing will get you to the top of a large block to face the final headwall. A 5.7 mantle move and then a couple of stair steps gains the summit.View Action Photo. The top of the dome is glacier polished and essentially featureless, except for a very wide crack that runs east/west about 6' back from the edge.  Two large cams (e.g., #4 Camalot, #5 Friend) make good anchors in this crack. Another possibility is a solitary tree about 30' back from the edge.  The second pitch is about 140' long.
Gear: Many small to medium nuts, #2 & #3 Camalot.
Mandrill (5.8) View Route Photo
An enjoyable route of mostly 5.7 climbing that will hone your mantel technique.  This route follows the vertical line of three small trees in the center of the cliff.  Face climb up to the lowest tree, then work your way up to the second tree.  From here mantel onto a tiny ledge. Currently (2007) there is a fixed piton here, but if absent, slider nuts (e.g., Lowe Balls) can be placed under the flake.  Traverse left about six feet, mantel onto another ledge (crux).  Easier face climbing and lots of mantels from ledge to ledge get you to the top. Belay from a flake just below the top at the back of a spacious ledge. Yellow and Orange Aliens and a #2 Camalot will work to construct an anchor. View Anchor Photos
Gear: Many small to medium nuts, and medium cams.  Long runners. Specialized gear: Lowe Balls to backup the fixed piton.
Marmoset (5.10 TR)
Climb the face between Mandrill and Orangutan. This route is intended to remain a top rope climb.  Please respect the boltless tradition of this cliff and do not add any bolts to the climbs.
Orangutan (5.9)
Somewhat inobvious climbing at the start, but aim for a right leaning corner.  Work up the corner, then left up ledges to the crux, a 5.9 thin crack (12'). Grass growing from cracks is a natural feature of low angle cliffs. Please minimize "gardening" or "improving" the route so as to leave the vegetation undisturbed. Above the thin crack, easy climbing up ledges leads diagonally to a two bolt anchor.

West Wall

spider monkey
Spider Monkey (5.7)
A fun climb up a corner system with a 5.7 layback above a tiny tree.  When you get to the upper ledges, work left, then back right to a two bolt anchor just before the top-out.  Two pitches.
Tamarin [tam-uh-rin] (5.6)
Two pitches. A somewhat vague route, about 20' right of Spider Monkey.  Work up discontinuous flakes to a 3' tree located about 20' below the top, then diagonal right to the top.  The psychological crux of this climb may be a traverse along a ledge to gain the flake below the tree.  It's about 15' with no pro and a somewhat blind move around corner.  However, the move is only 5.5 and you are going for solid holds around the corner.  Anchor to a block 30' back, or from cams in a crack about 6' back from the edge. View Anchor Photo1  View Anchor Photo2
Uakari [wah-kahr-ee] (5.6 TR)
This is a top-rope climb, belay from the top.  Use the same anchor as Tamarin. View Anchor Photo. 160' of 5.6 face climbing.  This route is intended to remain a top rope climb.  Please respect the boltless tradition of this cliff and do not add any bolts to this climb.
Vervet (5.5)
The base of this route is in the vicinity of a 15' hemlock tree.  There's no obvious line; work your way up ledges and flakes.  View Action Photo.  On top, belay from a large block about 25' back from the ege. Two pitches.
Gear: Small to medium nuts and cams.  #3 Camalot.

Last modified on 08/31/2007 14:38:09

"Simian Symposium" image courtesy of

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