View from the bottom of Elk Slab looking out
The Elk Slabs are located on the rocky western flank of Elk Mountain not far from Treasure Cove and the Pear & Apple formation. The approach through the Charons Gardens Wilderness Area is a bit longer than other Wichita destinations, but the hike is pleasant and the crowds are minimal. It's a great destination if you are looking to escape the weekend zoo in the Narrows or on Mount Scott. The wall faces west / southwest and receives great afternoon sun on cooler days. There are a number of excellent moderate trad lines, as well as a handful of more difficult lines (including one aid route). Protection is generally good on the more popular lines, but is sparse or non-existent on others.
Park at the Treasure Lake parking lot on the south side of the Charons Gardens Wilderness Area. The slabs are visible in the distance to the north east. Its best to locate them prior to leaving the parking lot in order to get your bearings. Look for the Phillip Mitchell memorial on the east side of the parking area and pick up the trail behind it. Follow the trail along the west side of Treasure Lake and past the Post Oak Falls where the trail splits. Follow the right branch which angles up towards the base of the slabs. The trail will appear to dead end at a large boulder in a wooded area. Scramble under the boulder, and follow a faint trail to the base (be prepared for a little bush whacking if you miss the trail). The slabs will be visible during the majority of the approach.
Weather station 1.2 miles from here
13 Total Climbing Routes
['4 Stars',0],['3 Stars',7],['2 Stars',4],['1 Star',1],['Bomb',0]
Classic Climbing Routes in Elk Slabs
Browse More Rock Climbing Classics in Elk Slabs
Mountain Project's determination of the classic, most popular, highest rated climbing routes for Elk Slabs:
Tree Route 5.5 4b 13 IV+ 11 MS 4a Trad, 2 pitches, 165'
Nike Rout 5.8 5b 16 VI- 15 HVS 4c Trad, Sport, 1 pitch, 180'
Buns Up 5.8+ 5b 16 VI- 15 HVS 4c Trad, 1 pitch, 20'
Featured Route For Elk Slabs
Great Expectations 5.5 4b 13 IV+ 11 MS 4a OK
: Wichita Wildlife Refuge
: ... : Elk Slabs
Great Expectations climbs the prominent crack just to the left of the tiered dihedral system. Climb the slab using the crack for protection until the crack disappears. Head up and right to another lone tree and a two bolt rap anchor located on the wall. The route protects well all the way to the anchors bring a good assortment of stoppers and cams. You can either rappel from the anchors with two ropes or continue up a second easy pitch. The second pitch climbs the easy flake above the an...[more] Browse More Classics in OK
Pitch 2 of Great Expectations taken from anchors a...
BETA PHOTO: Elk Slab as seen from the south. Routes shown are...
Amanda the Rock Star belaying the first pitch of G...
Sunset on Elk Slabs (from Post Oak Lake vicinity).
Elk Slabs as seen on the approach. Yes, the rock i...
Tim has Elk Slabs at hand
By Evan Small
Oct 12, 2012
Question about boulder below elk slabs. A few minutes before you hit the boulders to scramble under, you pass this massive... maybe 30ft+ boulder. Has anyone been on this boulder or know any history of it? if anyone is interested in putting in some work on multiple lines on the boulder, let me know. I have 3 pads but could definitely use more protection and will be focused on this boulder as the weather gets colder.
Boulder directly off trail just before elk slabs.
By Daniel Winsor
Mar 29, 2015
Holy bushwhack. We got to do a brutal two hour approach to these slabs trying to follow these directions, so here's some stuff we learned yesterday that might help folks in the future:
-It doesn't matter which trail out of the parking lot you start at (there's two, one at the north end by the bulletin board and one at the east edge) BOTH trails come back together later before Post Oak Falls. I would recommend following the north trail, it's more heavily traveled and easier to follow.
-The trail will go slightly uphill at first, then flatten out in a large clearing, then head more steeply downhill. At the bottom of this downhill is the sign for Post Oak Falls.
-We went to the falls, then went sharp uphill just to the left (north) of the falls where there's a decent trail that intersects the approach trail to the slabs after about a quarter mile. The directions on MP say to pass the falls, then head right, I can't verify if that works or not.
-Once you take a right on the approach trail (Elk Slabs visible) KEEP GOING until you're located directly under the slabs on the trail. There are MANY options to cut across the stream bed early and the one we took was AWFUL. I've covered in bleeding scratches from crawling through thorn bushes. Type 2 fun.
-You should be looking directly up at the slabs from the trail before you head up to them. There's an obvious boulder/talus field going up to the slabs that has much less vegetation and is fairly easy to navigate to get you up to the slabs under Great Expectations/Nike.
-Where you cross the stream bed there are large boulders you go under that form a cave. From there, just keep moving up and right into the boulder/talus field. Stay on rocks, stay away from vegetation.
This approach should only take about a half hour, if there's another way to get up to the climbs, we definitely didn't find it. Good luck!