The Monster of Monster Rock-- This guy will surprise you your first time on a couple of the routes here!
This is a nice little climbing spot about 45 minutes west of Austin.
The name itself is cool. If you're into fantasy and sci-fi, though, especially if you ever enjoyed (or still do) Tolkien, Lovecraft, and Dungeons and Dragons, then you're going to find the route names even cooler.
With three main walls having routes ranging from 5.6 to 5.12, Monster Rock has something for everyone. All routes are either sport or toprope. Because two of the walls are the facing sides of a narrow canyon that one often can stem (called the Pit Fiend Pit), the developers here placed bolts on Pit routes closer together than one will find on most other area sport routes; this was to help prevent swings into the opposite walls (and potentially onto other climbers).
Consequently, the closer bolt spacing in the Pit makes the routes friendly for new leaders, and it gives climbers more confidence when leading at their limit. I've confidently led Pit routes at grades that get in my head at most other places.
Since the Pit is so narrow, it is advisable to wear helmets even though many sport climbers seem to think helmets are unnecessary.
The Pit doesn't get much sunlight, which makes it a great summer climbing spot. On the other hand, it can take several days to dry out after a rain.
Wooden signs with route names on them sit at the base of most routes, but many of them are weathered so much that they are illegible.
Monster Rock is private property owned by local climber and guidebook author John Hogge. He loves climbers and climbing, so respect his rules and help keep this great resource open to the public.
The turnoff and parking area for Monster Rock is at 2208 Pace Bend Road. It is on the left side of the road as you drive north, and it is easy to miss.
To get to Pace Bend Road, drive on SR 71. 10-15 minutes east of Bee Cave, at a Chevron station, there is an intersection with signs for Pace Bend Park. Turn onto Pace Bend Road here and drive 1.1 mi to 2208 on the left.
You will pull into a small parking area by a shack with an enormous pile of trash by it. This actually is the place. Look for a porta-potty, a sign with rules, and a bin for your fee.
To get to the climbing, take a trail past the shack and junk mound. It leads to a bridge across a narrow canyon (the Pit). After you cross the "Troll Bridge," you are on an island of rock called Sauron's Tower. Descend two sets of ladders; that will put you by "Earth Elemental Boulder" and the entrance to the Pit.
There are three main walls. All routes have cold-shut anchors.
On the west side of Sauron's Tower, facing the Pedernales River, is a cliff band with Mythology Wall and Lovecraftian Madness Wall. Routes range from 5.7-5.13a. I've only climbed two routes here and can't say much about it.
As one looks into the Pit from its entrance, the wall on the left is Horror Movie Wall. Routes range from 5.9+ to 5.12a. I've so far done only three routes here (5.9+, 5.10a, 5.10b), so I again can't say much.
On the right side of the Pit are Dungeons and Dragons Wall (in the Pit proper) and J.R.R. Tolkien Wall (outside the Pit). This wall gets the most traffic, and I have climbed most of the routes on it, so here they are from left to right:
Dungeons and Dragons Wall
- Gelatinous Cube's Deadly Solvent-- 5.11c
- Specter's Touch-- 5.10c. Shares anchors with the above route, and shares the first two bolts with the next two routes. Easy start and then gets tough.
- 22-Eyed Beholder Hovering Near By-- 5.9. Finishes at anchors to the right of the bridge. A 5.9+ variation called Ray of Disintegration goes left from the 4th bolt and finishes at the anchors for the first two routes.
- Swordmaiden of Rohan-- 5.6. A 5.8 variation called Warg Riders goes past the anchors to different ones; make sure you clip the bolt next to Swordmaiden's anchors instead of the anchors themselves.
- Sky Full of Dementors-- 5.9+. Cruxes low and high. Most people drift right after the last bolt to bigger and better holds, but if you want the 9+, you need to find your way straight from that bolt to the anchors.
- Kraken's Deadly Dance at Sea-- 5.8. Start on the boulder. Anchors are under a large cactus which thankfully does not have needles hindering the clips.
- Creeping Doom-- 5.8. With 8 bolts over about 50', this is great for new leaders.
- Mindflayer's Tentacles-- 5.10a. Crux at the bottom.
- Dwarven Berserker/Lich-- 5.10b. Crux down low again.
- Green Slime vs. Bag of Devouring-- 5.10b. Tricky start, but the crux is really clipping the anchors. If you're newer to the grade, climb the route above instead.
- Seven Gorgons Breathing-- 5.11a PG. I've only toproped this. The start is tough, and then it's tough getting from the last two bolts to the anchors.
J.R.R. Tolkien Wall
- Herman Munster-- 5.9+. Intimidating crux near the end.
- Grendel-- 5.9. Crux may be scary the first time, but after you find the holds, it's cool.
- Crawling Chaos-- 5.9/5.10b R. The grade depends on the start. Footholds behind Earth Elemental Boulder make this 5.9, but that way risks a bad fall. For 10a, go straight up to the first bolt. The fall is safer and the climbing is not that bad.
- Balrog's Whip-- 5.10c. I've toproped it but haven't led it, so I'm not going to offer beta other than saying everything is there as long as you're patient; big or desperate moves are not necessary.
The owner asks that before you head out, you email him at firstname.lastname@example.org.
There is a daily fee of $5 per person; the first time you go, you need to sign and submit a release.
Read and follow the posted rules.
Play by the rules; don't jeopardize access to this really cool place.
None. You can camp nearby at Pace Bend Park, which has its own fees and rules.