MONKEY FACE, Pioneer Route (Smith Rock) (5.7 A0, 3 pitches)

Category: Oregon      Trip Report #: 18, 22
Partners: Jason, Trevor, Erika, Joleen

In April, 3 friends and I packed into a small truck and drove the 8 hours down to Smith Rock in Oregon to escape the rain of BC. We spent 4 days climbing there. On the second day, we climbed Monkey Face, which is a giant tower of rock. We climbed the easiest route up, which begins with a pitch of 5.6 gear, then a pitch of aid climbing (there were about 25 closely-spaced bolts up a sheer wall that we clipped quickdraws into and pulled on since we did not own ascenders and other aid gear), and then the route finishes with a super-airy bolted 5.7 pitch that involves stepping out of a cave to face a 200 foot drop to the ground. When I came back to Smith Rock in May with a couple of other friends, we again did Monkey Face, and this time I led the second two pitches, since the first time I had led only the first pitch. The weather was a bit warmer for us on the May climb (in April it had snowed while we were climbing!) but we got stuck behind a slow group of 6 that took a couple of hours to aid up the second pitch. But we spent the time exchanging climbing stories, so it wasn't so bad.

Monkey Face formation.
The Pioneer Route is the easiest way up – it involves a bit of easy gear climbing to the notch, and then a bolt ladder to the "mouth" on the left side, and then comes out onto the handhold-ridden face from there.