Via Jamie Chong’s blog comes word that Canadian Will Stanhope has done the 2nd all gear ascent of the iconic East Face (5.13d) of the Monkey Face at Smith Rocks, OR. First climbed with pre-placed protection by Alan Watts in 1985, Sonnie Trotter was the first to complete the line placing all traditional gear on lead back in 2004.
Writing on his blog before his send, Stanhope described what he was going through while working the route:
I have now one-falled the East Face twice. Every time I go up there I lose a tonne of skin and blood. This route is, without a doubt, the most taxing line I have ever tried.
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It is a long, epic battle with a cruxy huge runout at the very top.
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Really, really draining.
After a few days of rest he returned to the Monkey Face to complete the send:
In the end, as always, sending came down to a mental thing. I focussed on how wild the climbing was, how much of a joy it was to be up there, and blocked out negative thoughts. Placing all 14 pieces on lead and skipping the bolts, I was pumped out of my mind at the top.
For pictures of Stanhope climbing on the route after his ascent check out Rich Wheater’s blog.
This is so bad ass. It’s kind of funny, because sometimes it’s like ho-hum 5.13+, not such a big deal. The standards are just so high these days. I’m not advocating turning to the gibberish rating systems like the British, but maybe we should institute a gold star or something for a route that’s grade belies the difficulty. It’s hard to understand how proud this pitch is without having seen it. I used to rap by it when I guided there. I’d been ticking some of Watt’s other gear test pieces, and that route was just a whole other level. It scared me just looking at it. St. George 5.14’s are something, but it requires a truely special talent for a route like that.
What do you think? Gold Star for Will?
Hopefully someday I’ll be able to see the Monkey Face in person, but from everything I’ve seen/read this route sounds reall cool. Especially on trad gear!
It’s impressive and route for route the monkey may be one of the best pieces of stone in the country — certainly from a hard free climbing perspective. Literally, Just Do It (Tribout, Sharma taking his sweater off) East Face(Watts, Trotter), Spank the Monkey (Caldwell), the Backbone (ABC’s wide world of sports Shot Ron Kauk on the first free ascent) — all these routes are next to each other and yet, they’re unique lines.