Monkey Face is one of the most renowned routes at Smith Rock. I had been dreaming of climbing this route for since I had first visited Smith Rock as a Boy Scout. It is called Monkey Face because the rock literally looks like a Monkey.
I set out to climb this route after a day of work at G5 in Bend, Oregon. In the late afternoon I met up with my friends Daniel and Kellan, whom had already been climbing for several hours. We approached Monkey Face around 4:00PM with plenty of sun light to finish the route before it got dark.
Unfortunately we had to wait in queue at the bottom of the route for what felt like hours as an inexperienced couple made there way up the route.
As first timers on the Monkey we wanted to do the simple / traditional route up into the mouth. This route climbs as a 5.8 / 5.9 with the exception of one pitch that is 5.13. The 5.13 crux is above my current skill level, therefore climbers use aiders and ascenders, or in our case quick draws to pull ourselves up the pitch and into the mouth.
By the time the three of us were in the Monkey's mouth it was pitch dark. The final pitch is the best on the whole route. You climb out of the mouth and on to the face with nearly 300 feet of exposure. In the dark this feeling is incomparable to anything I have ever experienced.
The three of us reached the top of Monkey face around 8:30 PM, which was well after dark. With the stoke at all time we anchored in and began tying the ropes together for our 300+ feet for repelling. Let me tell you - repelling 300 feet in the dark is an amazing feeling of freedom and for a moment you feel as though nothing exists.
We all made it safely back to earth where gravity could take the best of us and we hiked roughly 3 miles back to the parking lot.
For anyone visiting Smith Rock State Park, I highly suggest you at least hike around to see the Monkey.
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