Trotter Cleans Up Monkey Face

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Trotter Cleans Up Monkey Face By Dougald MacDonald Canadian Sonnie Trotter has made an all-traditional redpoint of the East Face (5.13d) of the Monkey Face at Smith Rock, placing all of his pro on the lead. The East Face, a 145-foot finger crack originally climbed with five protection bolts, was one of the landmark climbs of the 1980s, established in 1985 by Smith pioneer Alan Watts. Until now, it had only been climbed with pre-placed protection. Trotter worked on the climb for seven days over two weeks and made two redpoint attempts before sending. He deliberately skipped all of the fixed gear, including the bolts, a fixed piton and the first-pitch anchor, and instead developed a massive pump while fiddling in 16 protection pieces for the climb. On his first redpoint attempt, Trotter thought he had it in the bag but then a flash pump hit him “like a 60-foot tidal wave” and he fell 35 feet onto a small cam. During the successful lead, he placed only one piece for the long crux stretch to the anchors, skipping all five protection bolts. Trotter, who has climbed numerous 5.14 routes at Oregon’s Smith Rock, including Just Do It (5.14c), said the East Face felt like 5.14 to him because of the difficulties of placing his own pro. “It was super-strenuous to stop mid-crux, on bad feet and tiny finger locks, then try to place a small nest of gear and clip the rope in with 130 feet of rope drag,” he explained. “But I wouldn’t have it any other way. I get back so much more when I climb a route with all clean gear. My list of dream climbs just got twice as big — I think 5.14 gear climbs should be the norm, and I look forward to help making that happen.”