Moonlight Buttress

This past weekend, we got a small crew together and headed down to Zion. Mike and I had made plans to climb an obscure but worthy looking aid line together with our friend Lynn, for whom it would be his first wall climb (and my second). Unfortunately, Mike’s been a little overworked recently and his brain crossed some wires so he got his dates mixed up and couldn’t join us (Or maybe it’s all that quartzite rock dust on the brain…) Anyway, with Mike out, Steve decided to join us and we settled on Moonlight Buttress. It would be good straightforward aid for me and Steve could check out the free climbing, as he has been firing in the Creek recently.

We met up at Mosquito Cove and after a quick breakfast at the Pioneer, we were packing up in the lot. Just as we were starting down the trail, a good friend rolled up and heckled us that “it goes a lot quicker without all that crap”, in reference to our haul bags and ledges. (He and his partner had freed the route the day before). We thanked him for the advice and let him help carry a ledge with us to the wall, where had to retrieve some stuff they stashed the day before.

The first couple pitches went well, the hauling was a bit funky, but we got it done. Steve took the 4th pitch, up into the 11+ dihedral that looked stellar. He kept going in the 12+ section, and took a funky fall that aggrevated an old shoulder injury as he bounced off the wall. He decided he was done leading for the trip, so I took the next pitch, which aided up an awkward flare, and into the incredible 1″ splitter above. The flare took some time for me to figure out, but once into the splitter above things went quick and I got to the bivy ledge as the last daylight was fading. We set up the ledges and enjoyed an excellent dinner and the beautiful views of the almost full moon illuminating the canyon walls before we drifted off to sleep.

The next morning presented a beautiful day, and Lynn got us going by leading the pitch off the bivy ledge, his first aid lead in 20 years or so. He did a good job, and soon I was off on the next two pitches. The Nutting Pitch was probably my favorite of the route, with thoughtful, but good placements, way above the ground. Steve took the last pitch and we soon found ourselves on top.

I can see why folks like to get efficient enough to do these walls in a day, as hauling is a lot of work. But there’s something to be said for spending the night perched hundreds of feet above the Virgin River, with the bright moon giving an otherworldly light to the surrounding canyon.

8 Responses to Moonlight Buttress

  1. Sick fellas! Wish I was with you. Next time!

    Mike November 21, 2008 at 1:36 pm
  2. Sweet!

    Michael J Mooney November 21, 2008 at 3:22 pm
  3. Nice BJ – looks awesome!

    Greg Williams November 22, 2008 at 1:55 am
  4. Sweet pics. You’ll have to give me all the beta if T and I head there this spring.

    Sarah November 22, 2008 at 2:47 pm
  5. Nice pics guys, my buddies did the moonlight awhile back. Looks sick.

    training for climbing November 23, 2008 at 4:52 am
  6. Wow… congrats on Moonlight Buttress. It is such a beautiful line that I hope to do someday.
    Keep on rockin’ on!

    Rachel Strate (aka WasatchGirl) December 2, 2008 at 1:29 pm
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