The Area:Skyline Slabs is basically a collection of secluded sandstone slabs just to the north of the Aquarian Valley, in Long Ridge Open Space Preserve.
The area is somewhat difficult to find, and may not even be worth the hassle, depending on what you are looking for. Also, while the formations are on public land, there are private homes (and private property) nearby. Be sure and respect the private property on the ridge directly to the east of the slabs.
The area is predominantly sport climbing, although many of the routes can be easily top-roped from existing bolts. There is also a huge tree atop the main slab that makes a useful natural anchor, or back-up.
One major problem is that the bottom portions of almost every route are pretty well covered in moss. It's a little "slimeball surprise" in some spots. Due to the large number of bolts, it appears this area was heavily used for some time, and has since been forgotten.
All routes are moderate (5.8+ - 5.10) and start out as low angle face climbs. The moss makes some of the routes harder than they would be free of slime. The routes in the center have fun and interesting finishes, over a well-featured, left-facing ledge.
In addition, there is an old bolt ladder right up the middle of the slab, but I didn't spend any time checking it out. If you decide to use it, be very careful. There is no telling what shape it's in.
Also, beware of old, sketchy bolts. Use common sense!
This spot is not easy to find. Unless you are familiar with the area, be prepared to scout about.
Long Ridge Open Space Preserve is about 2 1/2 miles south of Page Mill Road, on Skyline Blvd. (U.S. 35). Coming from Page Mill, park on the Left side of the highway in the parking area for Upper Stevens Canyon County Park. Enter Long Ridge accross the street from the parking lot, and take the Dirt Road (NOT the trail!) to the RIGHT. Follow the dirt road, tracing Skyline Blvd., until you cross the first Paved Road (Portola Heights Rd. - PRIVATE). Walk on the side of Portola Heights Road for about 30 feet, until you see a small trail off to the RIGHT. Take the small trail down the hill, until you empty out into a small, flat, grassy area. From the grassy area, take the trail DOWN into the forest. As you enter this trail, you will see a "Climbing Regulations" sign. Stay on this trail until you see a SECOND "Climbing Regulations" sign. About twenty feet after the SECOND sign, take a RIGHT at the first unmarked, really small, steep trail. (If you get to Aquarian Falls, you passed the trail.) Follow the small "trail" up a really steep grassy hill. At the top, you will see a house. Stay well clear of the private property. Just below the fence behind the house you will find Skyline Slabs. To get to the bolted climbs, just scramble down and to the right of the first slabs. Watch your step! It's pretty steep in parts.
Slime surprise is an understatement. The slabs are shaded until early afternoon (july). Take advantage of this and sleep in. We climbed in the morning and the face was disgusting. However, when the sun broke through (2 p.m. july) the moss and lichen base dried quickly providing a much better climb. If you choose to climb early I recommend:
1. a rope bag/ tarp-- the ground stays soggy2. an old towel-- it takes some effort to keep your shoes dry.3. good approach shoes-- it is a gnarly scramble.4. Tick repellant, the approach goes through some eye-high grass.
Be forewarned: this is not a heavily trodden route so it is easy to damage the natural face, as even the bolted routes are not bare. Use your own moral compass.
Hey, guess what! I headed to Skyline Slabs today and made the grueling straight-up-hill approach only to be told that it is on PRIVATE PROPERTY. I was informed of this by the annoyed land owner, his family, and their large german shepherd.
So, my extremely relevant advice is to not even bother. The slabs are super mossy and overgrown anyway, the bolts haven't been replaced in a reeeeeally long time, and the owners -- bless them -- wish climbers would stop traipsing around their property making them worry about lawsuits. *shrug* Fair enough.
Enough if I didn't hear it from the horse's mouth, I'd still say the slab is not at all worth the approach. You'll have a much better time of things at Castle Rock and surrounding areas.