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Ethan Pringle Flashes Moonlight Buttress in Zion

Ethan Pringle, who made the second ascent of Jumbo Love 5.15b in California a few years ago, has flashed Moonlight Buttress in Zion.

On Instagram, Pringle said, “I’ve wanted to attempt the ultra classic, 10 pitch Moonlight Buttress for a while now. Many hardcore trad folk say it’s their favorite free route. Well, it lives up to the hype.

“Is there another climb in the world with so many difficult finger cracks in a row? And in such an exposed, beautiful place? Gol-ly!”

Moonlight Buttress might be Zion’s most famous route. First climbed by Jeff Lowe and Mike Weiss, who made first ascents in Canada, and freed in 1992 by Peter Croft and Johnny Woodward, it has 10 pitches up to 5.12+.

I flashed Moonlight Buttress! So stoked! 📸: @francoislebeau — I’ve wanted to attempt the ultra classic, 10 pitch Moonlight Buttress for a while now. Many hardcore trad folk say it’s their favorite free route. Well, it lives up to the hype! Is there another climb in the world with so many difficult finger cracks in a row? And in such an exposed, beautiful place? Gol-ly! — I was a bit worried that I wouldn’t be feeling great on Tuesday, the 24th, the day @tiffany_hensley and I’s attempt was scheduled. Two days earlier we climbed the classic 5.11 “Shune’s Buttress” to “warm up”. I tried so hard on one Bombay chimney move on Shune’s, I felt like we had climbed El Cap by the time we summited that 6 pitch route. A few specific body parts including my toes, abdomen, and shoulders were so sore, I feared climbing moonlight might cause permanent damage. On top of that, I had a stomach bug that was making my bowel movements a little unpredictable… but the weather looked favorable and the camera crew was standing by so, Tuesday had to be the day. Fortunately, besides a little nervousness, I felt fine once we started up Moonlight. And after I onsighted the 200’ long corner pitch (pictured above) that marks the beginning of the 5.12 business, I gained some confidence and relaxed a bit. I managed to send the next flared corner, and subsequent splitter pitches to the summit, without falling or crapping my pants. It was a memorable day! — The attitude of the people you’re with matters a lot. Obviously moonlight is an epic route, but the experience wouldn’t have been half as fun if it wasn’t for my partner Tiffany being so psyched, enduring, and easy-going. And she crushed! The constant humor, encouragement and genuine enthusiasm from @jonglassberg and @francoislebeau (who captured our ascent on the wall), as well as the rest of the LT11 crew, made it all the more enjoyable. I would partner up with these guys again in a heartbeat! — Huge thanks to @mountainhardwear for making this trip happen, and for the ongoing support. I wouldn’t be where I am without it!

A post shared by Ethan Pringle (@ethan_pringle) on

10 years ago this week, Alex Honnold made the first free-solo of Moonlight Buttress, remember that?

Before that trip, he’d only been to Zion once, for a single day two years before. That day he flashed Moonlight with a friend.

Over six weeks in winter 2007/08 while climbing in Indian Creek, he thought of the idea of free-soloing Moonlight.

“I really love fingers—and Moonlight has really secure locker fingers—and you’re in a really cool, exposed position,” he said.

“The grade doesn’t reflect the difficulty because it’s pure endurance 5.12c. It’s a matter of having the fitness for a general, sustained pump.”

Watch Katie Lambert send the sweet crack line below.