moonlight buttress

Page Type Page Type: Route
Additional Information Route Type: Big Wall
Seasons Season: Spring, Summer, Fall, Winter
Additional Information Time Required: One to two days
Additional Information Difficulty: 5.8 or 5-10b/ C1+
Additional Information Rock Difficulty: 5.8 (YDS)
Additional Information Number of Pitches: 7
Additional Information Grade: V
Sign the Climber's Log


climber on Pitch 4Pitch 4
Moonlight Buttress is a classic climb and many people get too experience their first aid climb and also their first big wall bivy on this route. this route goes free at 5.13a onsight or 5.12d and was free soloed by alexander honnold the views of angels landing and the great white throne are amazing on this route.

First Ascent: Jeff Lowe and Mike Weiss, 1971
First Free Ascent: Jonny Woodward and Peter Croft, 1992.

This is one of the world's great 5.12 free climbs and big walls. After three "approach pitches", the route follows steep and stunning cracks. Its rare to find such continuous sandstone splitter cracks with so much exposure. Most climbers either climb it in a day or fix the first four pitches and then blast to the top.

The route is east facing and the upper buttress goes into the shade in early afternoon. The best time to climb is in October through April. The entire route can be rappelled from fixed anchors.

Height of route: 1200 feet
Rating: many places rate is 5.9 C2, some places rate it 5.8 C1+, or 5.12d-5.13a. Anyway be prepared for a demanding adventure.

Getting There

Crossing Virgin RiverCrossing Virgin River

Approach: see directions for Zion National Park. You have to cross Virgin River near Angel's Landing. Not recommended during periods of high water. Follow brown carsonite markers (with a little picture of a climber). Alternate approach involves crossing the Grotto Bridge and then following the hiker's trail for Angel's Landing until it begins to radically climb and switchback away from the river. An indistinct climber's trail will continue straight at a switchback. Trail will drop back down near the river. Allow 2 hours with gear if hiking from Grotto. The shuttle bus runs from april 1st through october 30th, you are required to park at the ranger station in this time and take the shuttle bus to your approach destination, i chose the big bend approach, it is easier if you do this climb after october 30th as you can simply park across the river from moonlight buttress. the first shuttle leaves the ranger station at 7:00 am and doesnt arrive at big bend until 7:35 making for a late start.

Route Description

topo information

The climb is usually done in 7 to 9 pitches. The descent is walk-off.

Descent: Hike back and right to West Rim Trail. Turn left. 3/4 to 1.5 hrs to Grotto Bridge Tram stop.

Essential Gear

a big wall harness and maybe a belay seat would be nice for the hanging belay on pitch 4.
4 of each b.d cams c4 size #.3 too size #2. and 2 size #3 b.d cams and 1 #4 bd c4 also 4 c3s' size #0 to #1 and at least 3 red and yellow aliens and 1 of each c3 #00 and #000
3 sets of standard wedges
2 aiders per climber
2 jumars per climber
1 traction pulley
there is also 1 hook move on pitch 2 so bring a hook
2 daisy chains per climber
plenty of slings
30 degree sleeping bags
fifi hooks
gear sling
a portable toilet (please do not urinate on the route!)
portable ledge
zion haul bag
1 60 meter static line for hauling and for emergency repel.
1 dynamic 60 meter rope for lead climbing
plenty of water!

this list may not be complete you may also want to check with other sources of information on this climb. also evaluate your abilities and experinces and take what you think you may need.

retreat easy on this climb, at just about any point on this climb you are only a couple hours from food and or water at grotto wall, but if you choose to retreat please beware of the mountain lions that may be lurking below.

External Links

Moonlight Buttress on Mountain Project
Alex Honnold solos Moonlight Buttress - Alpinist

You Tube video