Matt and Joanne’s Page

June 12, 2007

Marsupials, Koalas, Zebras, and Monkeys

Filed under: Climbing — Matt Stamplis @ 9:59 pm

This last weekend turned out surprisingly well. Originally, we were planning on heading North to Frenchman’s Coulee in Washington but one of our car pool members dropped out at the last minute. That left Joanne, Jeremy and myself to figure out what to do. We weren’t too keen on the long drive just for the weekend so we decided to save a little gas money and go to Smith instead!

Despite threatening rain clouds and a few drops of rain we had one of the best weekends I’ve ever spent at Smith. Without really intending things to work out like this, every thing we climbed was named after animals. We started off on Saturday by heading out to do the “longest route at Smith”, the Marsupial Traverse. It traverses a ridgeline, summiting a number of mini-peaks: the Mudpile, Brogan Spire, the Opposum, and the Tail.

After arriving at the base of the route I discovered that although I specifically remembered packing my climbing shoes they had found a way out of my pack. So I was left to climb barefoot or in tennis shoes. I ended up following the 1st two pitches (the hardest) barefoot and then put on tennis shoes for the rest of the route.

Belaying on the 3rd pitch of the Marsupial Traverse.

The three of us swapped leads and cruised along the ridge, soaking up the views, finding shelter from the wind and gentle rain when we could. What a great start to the weekend!

Joanne nearing one of the mini-summits along the route.

Finishing up the Marsupial Traverse…

We grabbed a quick bite to eat then went over and climbed Round River on Koala Rock before walking back to the car. I decided I would need to get some shoes so I went and bought a new pair. We went back to the Park and climbed a route in the Lower Gorge before heading back to camp.

Trying my new shoes on!

We awoke on Sunday at 6:00AM to find a light misty rain moving in on us. Uh-oh! We had some big plans for the day and were dissapointed at the prospect of rain. Fortunately, it seemed to scare away most of the climbers and we were alone in the park when we started up Zebra-Zion. This climb contains some of the best (and more difficult) climbing I’ve done anywhere and we all had a great time despite a few “exciting” moments. Like that angry bird or bat that was squeaking at me when I started putting my hand inside of a crack on the 1st pitch. And the pair of pigeons that flew out of a crack, right as Jeremy started up the second pitch. Hooray for pigeons!

Jeremy eyes the finishing jugs on the first pitch of Zebra.

Hanging out before coming up to the pigeon-poo ledge.

Here’s a quality anchor…

I think we all agreed the last pitch was the most memorable, a beatiful steep lieback flake positioned a few hundred feet above the Crooked River. Joanne cruised this pitch in style.

Joanne styling the final pitch of Zebra-Zion.

After topping out on Zebra-Zion we walked up to the top of Misery Ridge and down to the base of Monkey Face. We’ve had this one on our to-do list for a looong time. Monkey Face is an amazing pillar that looks exactly like, well, a monkey. We climbed the West Face Variation route to get into the Monkey’s mouth and then headed to the summit.

The monkey’s head towers above Joanne as she works her way up towards the crux slot on the West Face Variation route. You can see Joanne is hauling 2 ropes here. We wanted to save as much time as possible for the bolt ladder pitch so the plan was to setup a simul-climb for both Jeremy and I to come up at the same time.

Working the bolt ladder up into the Monkey’s mouth.

Jeremy has a smile on his face, pulling into the Monkey’s mouth.

Posing on the summit!

The rappel off the monkey was a really wild experience. It was so windy that we could feel ourselves being pushed and spun around like a leaf in the wind. Coupled with the feeling of vertigo made a memory we won’t be forgetting soon 🙂

Jeremy takes a ride off the Monkey. Joanne watches from the lower left corner.


1 Comment »

  1. I’ve always been negative about having 3 people climbing in a party because I believe it would be really slow. However, I learn from the weekend that climbing in a party of 3 is really not bad and can be done very efficiently. We took turn swapping lead and since we are all well-experienced climbers, rope management was not an issue. We climbed the 8-pitches Marsupial traverse in 4 hours, summited both Zebra-Zion and Monkey Face in less than 11 hours (including hikes).

    Comment by joannestamplis — June 12, 2007 @ 10:12 pm

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