Beta for Moonlight Buttress, Zion
Cross river at southern tip of small island just north of MLB. Walk a diagonal
route towards Angels Landing. No deeper than 2.5 feet! (in June)
200' ropes recommended.
I did the 5.8/9 first pitch in guide tennies, but wished for rock shoes.
It's 15-20 feet of slab/corner moves from your last 2.5 Friend to some tiny
nuts and more iffy moves to a traverse. Then crank up a nice set of double
cracks to anchor. Pull up haul line and rethrow around bushes. Best to get
pig as high as possible (takes 2 up 4th class ledges). This first pitch
has been a buzz kill for a lot of parties. Have 2nd use tagline to help
pig over ledge system. Awkward haul, rig over edge. New 3/8" Bolts.
Bomber big nut placement.
Pitch 2: Don't take the crack out of the belay. Traverse right on ledges
to another crack/roof. Will need a #2-#3 Lowe Ball or Leeper Cam hook to
get past roof. Easy nutting to good ledge. Good bivy for 1. Awkward haul.
New 3/8" bolt anchor.
Pitch 3: Bolt ladder with some new 3/8" bolts along the way. Funky
free take some medium cams and nuts for the end. Take a big cam for the
last bit to prevent a pendy for the 2nd. New 3/8" bolt anchor. Easy
haul. Use tagline to lower pig.
Pitch 4: Awesome and long! Lots of tcu's and nuts w/ occasional small friends.
Pass intermediate belay (scary looking) to belay 2/3 of way up on the LEFT.
At least 1 new bolt and gear belay. Easy haul.
Pitch 5: Roof/Chimney. First continue up crack, pass roof (#8 hex used here)
to awkward chimney. Pass this one to your partner! Thrash on small to medium
gear (take a cliffhanger for a pocket below the bad bolt) until it opens
up a bit to allow yellow alien and orange tcu crack jumarring. There was
fixed gear here as of 6/97. Use fixed stoppers and camalots for pro. Ends
at bivy ledge. New Bolts. Easy haul. Bivy on Pitch 6 is narrow and slightly
downsloping. Ok for 1, take a ledge or sit all night.
Pitch 6: Splitter Crack. Climb awesome finger cracks for 165'. Pass intermediate
belay. Anchors a little iffy (star drives, fp-but can place bomber nut).
Pitch 7: More of the same with a little variation. Belay below small roof.
Possible stretch to rim w/ 200' ropes. Easy haul.
Pitch 8: Big Nut Pitch. Steep and quick thru roof. Use all your big stoppers
on this one. Final slab is easy and protectable with gear. medium/large
friend at base, medium tcu in middle, 1.5 friend at top. Don't go straight
up the slab, but sidewinder it to find the path of least resistance. Belay
from sturdy pine. Possible to back up with another sturdy pine 30' further
back. Go back over the edge to haul. Wait for 2nd to help pig past final
overhang before slab as it will hang on the edge.
Easy walk off...follow trail to the right until you reach a paved trail.
Go left to saddle junction where Angel's landing trail gets technical. Turn
right and follow trail for 45 minutes to ground. It's great to stash some
water here for use while you either wait for your partner to walk to the
Angel's Landing parking lot to get the car or until you can convince a tourist
to give your smelly corpse a lift.
Go to Bit and Spur in Springdale and buy yourself a beer.
We didn't use tricams, but take yellow aliens and orange metolius tcu's
they're the ticket for 85% of the route. HB offsets were good too.
Rex "Madbolter" Pieper
P.S. I wouldn't recommend the retreat route from the top of pitch 3. Talked
with party that used it in June and it was a SCARRRRYYYY tale.