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Two Sends of Ontario’s Monument 5.12d Trad in a Day

The horizontal crack was first climbed by Peter Croft back in the 1980s

Ontario’s famous roof crack The Monument 5.12d is getting a lot of attention this summer. Recently, Evan Peplinski and Jared Nelson redpointed the steep line on the same day.

After the send Peplinski noted on Sendage, “Send train with Jared on Ontario’s most iconic crack line! Amazing experience that I won’t soon forget. Many hours of labour were put in on the crack machine to make this dream a reality.”

The Monument is a 21-metre trad route at White Bluff on the Niagara Escarpment in southern Ontario. Since the 1980s, many top climbers have battled their way up the route first aid climbed by Jon Kaandorp, Pete Zabrok and Steve DeMaio. The first free ascent was a flash by Peter Croft. For protection, bring a big a rack four inches with some doubles in the larger sizes, there are a few fixed nuts before the roof.

David Smart, one of Ontario’s leading route developers in the 1980s, said, “The monument was always wet the season Croft made the first free ascent, but he wanted to go down to the crag and look at it. Lo and behold, it was dry. I had given up trying to free climb it after years of effort, but Peter Reilly was still working on it, although I didn’t think he was close to doing it without hanging. Croft, who had onsighted the Phoenix 5.13a trad in Yosemite that summer, thought he could do it first try with no falls, and he did. Then he did it again to clean it. There were some fixed nuts, but I don’t think he would have had any problem placing cams. It was a really astounding first free ascent.”

The route climbs through an obvious triangular block via the 10-metre roof crack. It starts as fists, then goes through a long section of hands, then a fingery crux section to the lip. The final crank onto the vertical face has big holds.