Moonlight Buttress

A classic 1,300-foot, Grade V aid (5.9 C1) or free (5.12+) rock climbing route in Zion National Park.

route history

Moonlight Buttress was Alex Honnold's  first free solo of a major big wall route. It continues to be a world-renowned free and aid route.

  • 1971: First ascent by Jeff Lowe and Mike Weiss
  • 1992: First free ascent by Peter Croft and Johnny Woodward
  • 2008: First free solo by Alex Honnold

getting there

Zion National Park in in southwest Utah off of SR-9, 25 miles east of I-15. The nearest airports are in Las Vegas (~2.5 hour drive) and Salt Lake City (~4.5 hour drive). There is a shuttle in the park that runs from April to October.


From the Big Bend shuttle stop, cross the river and follow the climber's trail to the base of Moonlight Buttress.

ascent route

Climb the first three "approach pitches," and then follow the sandstone splitter cracks for nine pitched to the top of the buttress.

decent route

Descend via the West Rim Trail about 1,400 feet and 2.2 miles to the Grotto shuttle stop. It is also possible to rappel the route.


  • Wilderness climbing permits are not required for day climbs, but they are required for all overnight bivouacs.
  • Guidebook: Zion Climbing: Free and Clean by Bryan Bird (SuperTopo 2009).
  • Suitable Activities: Climbing
  • Climbing Category: Aid Climb
  • Seasons: January, February, March, April, May, September, October, November, December
  • Weather: View weather forecast
  • Difficulty: Aid Climb, Intermediate Rock Climb
  • Length: 3.2 mi
  • Elevation Gain: 1,300 ft
  • 5,400 ft
  • Land Manager: Zion National Park
  • Parking Permit Required: National Park Entrance Fee
  • Recommended Party Size: 4
  • Maximum Party Size: 12
  • Maximum Route/Place Capacity: 12
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