Monkey Island

Why aren't there bolts on these climbs?

When you climb at Monkey Island, don't waste your time looking for bolts, because there aren't any (with the exception of one top anchor).

1) Bolts aren't necessary at Monkey Island. 

The climbs can be well protected with clean gear (nuts, cams, etc).  Almost all of these climbs were first climbed on lead, onsight, from the ground up, using only traditional clean protection.  This is classically viewed as the preferred style of ascent because it adheres to a minimum impact ethic by leaving the rock in the same condition that it was found.

2)  Monkey Island is a place for novice leaders to practice traditional clean climbing skills.

There are hundreds of climbs in the Tuolumne region, but surprisingly few that are appropriate for the novice leader.   The unique nature of the rock on this cliff provides a special opportunity that is not readily available elsewhere in Tuolumne; the chance to practice traditional lead climbing at a moderate grade using clean protection.  Leading bolt-protected sport climbs requires a minimum of leading skills; just follow the bolts and clip them.  Leading at Monkey Island develops a full range of skills necessary to be a well-rounded leader;  route finding, gear placement, creating a complete protection system, establishing anchors, and assessing rock quality. 

If you prefer not to be challenged in these more advanced aspects of leading, you should probably avoid Monkey Island.  There are lots of other domes in the area that would meet your needs.

3)  Bolting is not consistent with a wilderness "leave no trace" ethic.

Monkey Island has a distinctly wilderness ambience about it.  Unlike many of the popular Tuolumne domes that are within sight (or hearing) of highway 120, the Monkey Island cliff has view of only the wilderness of northern Yosemite.  The highway can't be heard and a tranquil silence prevails.  Many climbers enjoy the opportunity to climb in such beautful natural surroundings.  Monkey Island provides a special opportunity to climb on rock that has suffered few of the impacts of many popular crags.  With little effort here it is possible to "discover" this cliff as though it had never been climbed.  Some climbers might choose to not read the route descriptions, pick out their own line up the face, and create their own "first ascent" experience.  By avoiding the use of bolts, the cliff can remain in this pristine state for those who value and appreciate this special quality.

You can help minimize climber impacts when you visit Monkey Island:

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