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Two Trips to the Praying Monk

October 21, 2011

The Praying Monk is a Phoenix icon, and Thomas and I have wanted to climb it for awhile. The easiest route is a 5.4, so we expected it to be a pretty easy thing to do. So, we got to the Echo Canyon parking lot at 4:45 pm, hoping to climb this thing before dark. Thomas had work until 4, so that limited the available time. We hiked up the trail to the saddle, where the climber’s trail goes off to the right. There are a few options of how to ascend the 100 foot cliff to get to be base of Praying Monk, a Class IV scramble that looked like terrible rock, and a 5.4 bolted pitch that had slightly better rock. We picked the 5.4. We climbed it pretty quickly, and the rope-work took nearly as long as the climb. By then it was 5:45 and the sun was beginning to set. We jogged up to the Praying Monk and scouted the climb for next time, rappelled the pitch in the dark, and went home. Call it a recon.

Thomas sets the rappel.

Setting the rappel. A little distorted.

Self portrait.

On Tuesday we got out to Praying Monk at 3:30. We ascended the first pitch by 4:15, and were at the base of the Monk by 4:30.

Thomas, with the first pitch and Praying Monk in the background.

Thomas getting ready to send a 5.4...

First part of the first pitch. Can you spot 3 bolts?

Thomas on the sharp end.

We had to wait 45 minutes while two guys finished out route and figured out a rappel. As we got to the base of the Monk, one of the guys was about to rappel off a rope that was 20 feet from hitting the ground. We told them another place to throw their rope, and they descended. By this time it was 5:15, and Thomas began to lead the 5.6 Direct Start. He led it without any problem, and got me on the belay to second it.

Pre-lead meditation.

Thomas resting on a little ledge.

Cool rocks nearby.

The pitch.

Looking up at what I have to climb next.

There were great views up here on the Monk.


And then it was my turn to climb. I started up at about 5:45, and the sun was beginning to set. It took me a little while to figure out the start, and then I got out and onto a ledge, where you get off the corner of the face, and onto the face itself.

The ledge.

I was having troubles with the next move, and knew that we would be rappelling two pitches in the dark if I were to continue up. So I decided to have Thomas lower me.

Thomas setting up the rappel from the summit.

Thomas rappelled, cleaned the route, and then we scrambled down to the next rappel.

The rappel.

Ropes set, ready to go.

So, Thomas climbed the Praying Monk, and I did a second (unofficial) recon.

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