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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 


YDS: 5.9 French: 5c Ewbanks: 17 UIAA: VI ZA: 17 British: HVS 5a R

Type:  Trad, 6 pitches, 850', Grade III
Consensus:  YDS: 5.9 French: 5c Ewbanks: 17 UIAA: VI ZA: 17 British: HVS 5a [details]
FA: Jon Martinet & Randal Grandstaff
Page Views: 2,537
Submitted By: John Wilder on Feb 1, 2004

You & This Route  |  Other Opinions (25)
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Following pitch 3.

Climbing in Red Rocks after heavy rain can permanently damage the rock! MORE INFO >>>


Although everyone comes to this wall for Solar Slab, there are other worthwhile routes nearby. One is the beautiful, but serious Sunflower. This line starts on the low-angle buttress immediately to the right of the top of the approach gully. It then follows a crack that eventually disappears while the route continues up a long stretch of blank, sweeping slab. It again gains a crack system that leads to the 2nd terrace high above.

When originally climbed, the fourth pitch had only two protection bolts. Several more have since been added, making the route considerably tamer, but still somewhat runout.

Pitch 1: Just to the right of the Solar Slab approach gully, climb up a very easy low-angle slab.

Pitch 2: Continue up to a good ledge beneath a small, right-facing corner. There is a bolt anchor for this belay.

Pitch 3: Climb straight up the right-facing corner above. When it disappears, strike out onto the slab. Pass a protection bolt then move left to a bolted belay station. 5.8+, 140'

Pitch 4: Head straight up off belay through delicate moves, following the bolt line. When the bolts run out, strike out through the last of the slab for the crack above. Belay when possible. 5.9, 120'

Pitch 5: Continue up the crack until another belay stance appears. 5.7, 100'

Pitch 6: An easy pitch leads to the base of the last pitches of Solar Slab. 5.5, 45'

Descent: Descend as per Solar Slab- either rappel the route or continue to the summit of Solar Slab and descend into the Painted Bowl.


Standard rack to about 3", a 4" cam may be nice to have, but not necessary.

Photos of Sunflower Slideshow Add Photo
P2 per Handren (IMHO the crux) - slanting 5.9 crac...
P2 per Handren (IMHO the crux) - slanting 5.9 crac...
Leading the brilliant hand crack that is the secon...
Leading the brilliant hand crack that is the secon...
rap into painted bowl (other option is to rap Sola...
BETA PHOTO: rap into painted bowl (other option is to rap Sola...
Sunflower. P2 is marked.
BETA PHOTO: Sunflower. P2 is marked.
Sunflower p4.
BETA PHOTO: Sunflower p4.
last pitch on sunflower (route goes left before th...
BETA PHOTO: last pitch on sunflower (route goes left before th...
Routes on the Solar Slab
BETA PHOTO: Routes on the Solar Slab
Following pitch 1.
Following pitch 1.
P1 (per Handren, staring on Upper Solar Slab)
BETA PHOTO: P1 (per Handren, staring on Upper Solar Slab)

Comments on Sunflower Add Comment
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By Doug Hemken
Apr 1, 2005
rating: 5.9 5c 17 VI 17 HVS 5a

Very nice route, comparable in quality to Sundog.

The belay at the end of pitch 2 has a single new bolt, and currently there is a fixed nut as well. There appear to be some alternate starts that will get you this far, including the original start to Solar Slab (described here), but the most fun is to run up p1 of the modern Solar Slab, then continue up and right in the inviting crack (5.8).

Pitch 3 continues up a flake system, then launches up a slabby crack system. It would be nice if the pitch ended in the large dish, but unfortunately the FA party continued up and left another 30 feet. The belay bolts (beefed up with the addition of a new bolt) are hidden at first, but there is a protection bolt you pass on the way, so route finding is no issue.

There is lots of friable rock in this final section of pitch 3 and for the first part of pitch 4. It's not too much trouble for the leader to sort it all out, but there are some chunks that are potentially hazardous to your belayer or to people on the Sunporch ledge system at the base of Solar Slab. The chunk of rock you stand on while belaying at the top of pitch 3 is of particular concern - we could feel it move whenever we shifted our weight. Someone really ought to move this belay station down and right to the big dish - it would be more comfortable, safer for the belayer, and safer for people down on the Sunporch.

The additional bolts on pitch 4 make this a very comfortable lead. Take time to marvel at how the FA party ran it out on the only loose rock on the route!

Once you hit the crack system on the second half of pitch 4, its a romp. Belay anywhere convenient. With double ropes, you can retreat from as high as the top of pitch 3 and only leave slings and rap rings.

By Dr. Evil
From: Boulder, CO
Apr 26, 2007
rating: 5.9 5c 17 VI 17 HVS 5a

I thought this route was incredibly fun. I'm surprised that it doesn't see a lot more traffic, because it's great. We did this climb after starting with Beulah's Book and loved the linkup of the two routes.

I also didn't find it to be particularly runout.

There is some rock that is not well attached, as mentioned by Doug Hemken above. In addition, when we climbed this route on 11/23/2006 we found that the bolt that protects the crux move is partially pulled out of the rock. If you are uncomfortable with 9 slab moves, you might find this unnerving. Otherwise, go for it and have fun.
By nealg
Apr 26, 2010

did the route last week and found it to be super fun.

there are 5 bolts on P4 - bolts 2 and 4 are ancient - but this slab section is truly no harder the 5.9 and still well protected by the other 3 bolts by Yosemite / Tuolumne standards.

the 2nd pitch of fingers / hands is excellent.

this is a great route up Solar Slab
By Doug Foust
From: Henderson, Nevada
Jan 16, 2011

The flakes you stand on at the top of p3 are sketchy! I shifted my weight and heard it creek 3 feet away.
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