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Solar Slab - Upper Tier
Routes Sorted
L to R R to L Alpha
Arch Enemy T 
Change Up T 
Going Nuts T 
Heliotrope T 
Solar Slab T 
Sunburn T 
Sundog T 
Sunflower T 
Sunspot Ridge T 

Heliotrope 

YDS: 5.8 French: 5b Ewbanks: 16 UIAA: VI- ZA: 15 British: HVS 4c R

   
Type:  Trad, 5 pitches, 750', Grade III
Consensus:  YDS: 5.8+ French: 5b Ewbanks: 16 UIAA: VI- ZA: 15 British: HVS 4c [details]
FA: John Hegyes, Ryan McPhee, George Urioste, Larry DeAngelo
New Route: Yes
Page Views: 4,616
Submitted By: Larry DeAngelo on Jan 1, 2005

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Larry DeAngelo and Jorge Urioste preparing to rapp...

Description 

This is an excellent route straight up the middle of the Solar Slab. It lies to the right of Solar Slab and to the left of Sunflower, but is independent of both lines. The climbing difficulty does not exceed 5.8, but pitch 4 features some old-school slab runouts.

Pitch 1: Directly above the top of the approach gully, there is a black, left-facing corner. Pleasant climbing follows the corner to the belay ledge at the top of the first pitch on Solar Slab.

Pitch 2: Continue up the right-slanting finger crack. Belay at the ledge shared with the second belay on Sunflower. (These first two pitches have been long-used as a variation start to the Sunflower route.)

Pitch 3: Climb up and left to a small pedestal to the left of the Sunflower corner. Traverse left for 10 or 15 feet to a very small, right-facing corner with a thin crack. Follow the crack until it ends, then set up a gear belay in a scoop, using thin cams.

Pitch 4: Climb up the slab above, aiming for the crack visible about a hundred feet straight above. Protection opportunities are limited. Set up the belay as high as possible in the varnished plates (in order to have enough rope for the last pitch).

Pitch 5: The payoff pitch! Proceed straight up the glorious face on relatively easy climbing until you can set up a belay after about 59 meters. At this point you can either join Solar Slab for the 3rd class pitch and cruise to the top, or rappel the main slab.

Protection 

Bring lots of finger-size cams and wires. A 60-meter rope allows reasonable belay stances to be reached.


Photos of Heliotrope Slideshow Add Photo
Jorge Urioste has climbed past the traverse as he ...
Jorge Urioste has climbed past the traverse as he ...
Looking down at the second belay from halfway up p...
Looking down at the second belay from halfway up p...
Looking down pitch four of Heliotrope
Looking down pitch four of Heliotrope
Routes on the Solar Slab
BETA PHOTO: Routes on the Solar Slab
Wide open spaces-- the lower climber is at the thi...
Wide open spaces-- the lower climber is at the thi...

Comments on Heliotrope Add Comment
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By Bryson Slothower
Apr 5, 2006

I was able to traverse out right to this route from Solar Slab to climb the pay off pitch and avoid waiting for a party ahead of us. Great climbing, no runout.
By Top Rope Hero
From: Was Estes Park, now homeless
Mar 31, 2010
rating: 5.9- 5c 17 VI 16 HVS 4c

A blessedly open route compared to the conga line you're SURE to grovel in over on Solar Slab. Take this and laugh at all the gapers groping up the 5.6 just off your left shoulder. Let them dine on your dust as you pass 'em all en route to the top.

Fair warning: Handren's sandbagging guide lists the P2 slanting right crack as 5.9, and I agree. Certainly felt as hard (and steeper) as the 5.9 variation on Johnny Vegas below. But it nuts fantastically well, so whatever--good times either way.

That said, I'm eschewing the "R" rating because most all the runnout is on 5.7-5.8 stuff, a full grade or two less than the crux (you wouldn't call 70ft of unprotected, tennis shoe 5.2 "runnout," would you?). Still, you DO need to get your bold head on to lead P3 and P4--thrice I looked down with 40ft+ free-hanging rope attached to some pretty craptastic placements in that POS death-zone white sand. Just keep climbing and pretend you have superpowers and you'll probably fair well.

Lastly, some advice for the P3 anchor. There is none. FUCK! I ended up stretching rope and aiming for the higher of two distinct, varnished plate systems--each about the size around of a hula-hoop--and slung a nest of well-seated nuts. (You can barley see both, just left of the upper purple arrow, pic 6.) It's well left of the previous anchor, PROBABLY sets up some nasty pendulum action for your follower, unless you're climbing double ropes and can work protect-for-the-second magic. But? the leader's the one stickin' neck out on that spooky, airy, no-pro band. So let 'em fly and have fun!
By harihari
From: VANCOUVER
Apr 4, 2011

Best route up there. Bring a head-- serious runouts, albeit on easy terrain. Dunno why anybody would do Solar Slab when this is right there.
By Tim Wolfe
From: Salt Lake City, UT
Nov 13, 2011
rating: 5.8+ 5b 16 VI- 15 HVS 4c R

Pitch 2 has some nice crack climbing that is probably stout for the 5.8 grade at RR. Save small cams to about 0.75 for the belay on pitch 3. Pitch 4 would be R or maybe X rated if you go straight for the crack 100 feet up on the white stone as I initially did. I reversed from quite high and traversed left a bit to clove-hitch a plate and then felt much safer. So I suggest that on pitch 4 you drift a bit left then back slightly right to the crack as the direct line gets quite run out on sloper sandy white rock.