The North Ridge of Monster is one of the finest adventure routes in Canyonlands. The climb offers varied, exciting, pitches with heart stopping exposure and one of the best views of the park. The rock is generally of high quality on perfect splitters of every flavor. Monster is not a good choice for crack novices or people with limited desert experience as every pitch ensures you get an ample serving of both.
For general directions on getting to the base of the tower see the Washer Woman Page
From the parking area follow the creek bed north for ~100 yards to the furthest reach of the talus cone. A large rock cairn marks the start of the climber trial that will lead you the west flank of monster. From here, you have two options:
1) Follow the climber trail uphill (north) towards the notch between Monster and Washer Woman. Scramble up the top of the notch and work your way around to the base of a hand crack on the eastern edge of Monster’s north ridge (5.7 see pitch 1 belay photo
2) Follow an indistinct trail around past Monster’s South ridge and work your way back to the east flank of the north ridge. Follow a left facing corner system up to the pedestal belay of pitch 1 (5.9 see pitch 1 belay photo
Route DescriptionPitch 1.
As described in the approach section.
Climb the right leaning hand crack over the belay for 80 feet to reach a cozy ledge with a star drive (5.10+). Traverse right and continue up the obviously evil offwidth
(4-12 inches, 5.8) or solo up the unprotected slab to the right (5.7 x). A two bolt anchor awaits you at the top of this invigorating section.
Jamb a perfect thin finger crack
(yellow Aliens) up a right facing dihedral to a pod (# 4 Camalot) and a comfy ledge with some loose blocks (5.11). A two bolt anchor lives on the right edge of the ledge.
Once again, you have two options: (1) from the left edge of the ledge, climb an offwidth (# 4 Camalot) past a bolt to some discontinuous crack and face moves (5.9) or (2) from the middle of the ledge work your way around the right edge of a small overhang through a loose, rubble filled, chimney-like object (5.9). Both options offer equally unaesthetic climbing, but the left is probably the better choice. Both options converge at anther conveniently placed ledge with a bolted anchor.
Climb another finger crack (yellow and red Aliens) up a left facing dihedral to an overhang. Escape the block by squirming your way around the underside of it to the left. Wander up and left on the face above until a bolt ladder appears. Clip the first bolt and continue traversing left until you spy a couple of holds and a questionable .75 Camalot placement that will take you to the next ledge and a three bolt anchor (5.11).
A very short pitch. Traverse strait left along the top ledge to the east edge of the tower (away from the parking area) and scramble up a few easy moves to the top (5.6). The capstone is made of fragile rock; there are no anchors on top and any gear you place is suspect. After you have posed for photos, admired the finest view in Canyonlands and peed from the summit, you will have to down climb to your last anchors.
Beefy desert rack:
Small selection of stoppers
Two sets of Aliens (yellow and red)
Double rack of #0.5 to #3 Camalots
One #4 Camalot
One #3 Big Bro (would make pitch 2 less invigorating)
Lots of runners
The Monster still has a few more tricks for you. After down climbing the top pitch, rap the route until you reach the Pitch 4 anchors. Be EXTREMELY careful when pulling the rope from this point as the rap line has a tendency of pulling down large blocks. From the pitch 4 anchors, rap strait down the west face of the tower to an uncomfortable stance next to a huge left facing dihedral. A third rap will bring you to the ground.
External Links Mountain Project's page on Monster Tower
A good trip report with a play by play description of the climbing can be found here
An alternate trip report with some pictures can be found here
Many thanks to rpc
for contributing some excellent photos, sniffing out the external links, and for reviewing this page.