The towering 350 foot spire of Monkey Face is an icon of Smith Rock State Park to all who see it.
But its grinning face beckons climbers to challenge themselves on a multi-pitch mix of face, aid, thin cracks and overhanging arêtes on every route to the top.
Yet despite its fame, few rise to the challenge. Maybe it’s the 25-30 minute hump to get there.
Or maybe the howling west wind in the winter on this exposed column puts you off. (The flip side of course makes it the place to be for nice cool breezes in the heat of the summer.)
While beginners to aid climbing can do so on the bolt ladder of The Pioneer Route, do get your mind in order for the length of the climb.
And then there’s the exposure you’ll experience at Panic Point. Hey, talk to the slackliners up there. Maybe they can provide some tips. And then when you’re ready, jump on the 5.14c Just Do It, for many years the hardest route in the country.
To get there, start by going left at the bridge on the River Trail for about .25 miles just past Christian Brothers. Then cut up and over Asterisk Pass for 120 feet of elevation gain to connect on the other side to the Mesa Verde Trail, then follow it up another 200 feet of elevation to the base.
Then try some of these both on the Monkey and in the area:
(All are rated 3 star in Alan Watts’ Guidebook, with * noting a 4 star)
(NOTE: see seasonal closure information for this area)
*Pioneer Route A1 clean to 2 inches, 5 pitches
*West Face Variation mixed to 2.5 inches, 3 pitches
*West Face Variation Direct trad, gear to 2 inches, 1 pitch
Monkey Space 5.11b mixed to 2 inches, 3 pitches
Southwest Corner Traverse 5.11b mixed to 2 inches, 1 pitch
Flexible Flyer 5.11d sport, 6 bolts, 1 pitch
Moving in Stereo 5.11d sport, 7 bolts, 1 pitch
*Rising Expectations 5.11d trad, gear to 2 inches, 1 pitch
North Face 5.11d A1 clean to 1 inch, 3 pitches
*Astro Monkey (aka Southwest Corner) 5.12a mixed to 2 inches, 6 pitches
*West Face 5.12a A1 clean to 2 inches, 19 bolts, 4 pitches
*Spank the Monkey 5.12a R sport, 6 bolts, 1 pitch
East Face start 5.12c trad, gear to 2 inches, 1 pitch
*Northwest Passage 5.12c mixed to 2.5 inches, 4 pitches
Pose Down 5.12c sport, 9 bolts, 1 pitch
Sheer Trickery 5.12c mixed to 1.5 inches, 1 pitch
Young Pioneers 5.12d sport, 11 bolts, 1 pitch
*Close Shave 5.12d R sport, 8 bolts, 1 pitch
*The Backbone 5.13a sport, 13 bolts, 4 pitches
*East Face finish 5.13c mixed to .5 inch, 1 pitch
*East Face 5.13d R mixed to 2 inches, 2 pitches
*Spank the Monkey finish 5.13d R sport, 13 bolts, 1 pitch
Just Do It5.14c sport, 17 bolts, 1 pitch
Kiss of the Lepers Buttress:
First Kiss sport, 11 bolts, 5 pitches
Groove Thang sport, 8 bolts, 1 pitch
The Climb 5.12c sport, 14 bolts, 4 pitches
Hello Kitty Cliff:
Guinness sport, 5 bolts, 1 pitch
Lucky Girl TR 1 pitch
Redundant TR 1 pitch
Ryan’s Song sport, 11 bolts, 1 pitch