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Swan Slab
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Swan Slab Gully 

YDS: 5.6 French: 4c Ewbanks: 14 UIAA: V British: S 4b

Type:  Trad, 3 pitches, 310'
Consensus:  YDS: 5.6 French: 4c Ewbanks: 14 UIAA: V British: S 4b [details]
Page Views: 3,917
Submitted By: Matthew Fienup on Nov 22, 2006
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BETA PHOTO: Swan Slab Gully
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Three pitches of climbing that gets better and better with height. Finishes on a cool ledge with excellent views. All in all, straight-forward and fun.

P1 (5.6, 70')
Jam and stem your way up 70 feet of cracks in a gully. Belay from a big oak tree on a spacious ledge.

P2 (5.5, 130')
Perhaps the least aesthetic pitch on the climb. Follow a crack in an obvious corner. After approximately 80 feet, step right and follow cracks up mostly-4th class terrain. Belay from a big oak tree on a spacious ledge.

P3 (5.5, 120')
Walk up the gully and head right for about 40 feet along a grassy ledge. Climb up to meet a left-slanting hand crack. Climb the crack until it ends. Traverse right for 25 feet on an unprotected slab (5.4?). Climb a 5.5 finger crack to the top. Belay from trees and bushes.


Located in the middle of the crag, Swan Slab Gully is one of the most obvious and popular climbs on the Swan Slab--look for the line of people immediately right of Penelope's Problem.

If the first pitch is occupied with top-ropers, climb Hanging Flake, which is located around the corner to the right. From the top of Hanging Flake, make a Class 2-3 traverse to the tree atop Swan Slab Gully's first pitch.

Descent (Class 2)
From the ledge atop P3, walk back and left away from the cliff. Turn right and walk up and around a higher tier of rock. Turn left and traverse the top of the tier. Gradually walk back away from the cliff and follow a climbers' trail through the bushes. Eventually, these descend and join a well-worn trail down the west side of Swan Slab.


Small to 3 inches

Photos of Swan Slab Gully Slideshow Add Photo
View of Half Dome from the top of P3.
View of Half Dome from the top of P3.
Patty Fienup past the P1 crux and cruising toward the anchor.
Patty Fienup past the P1 crux and cruising toward ...
Looking up the first pitch.
Looking up the first pitch.
Patty Fienup, Pitch 2 of Swan Slab Gully (that's my MOM!!!).
Patty Fienup, Pitch 2 of Swan Slab Gully (that's m...
Natalie leading P2 of Swan Slab Gully
Natalie leading P2 of Swan Slab Gully
Comments on Swan Slab Gully Add Comment
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By Christian "crisco" Burrell
From: PG, Utah
Oct 19, 2008

Pitch one is a bit slippery and tricky at the start but eases after about 15 feet.

By Osprey
From: ...
Sep 5, 2010

A great beginner multi-pitch outing. The walk off will present moderate difficulties for first time climbers. All in all, a great preperation for what you will find as you begin to explore a valley full of demanding yet rewarding adventures.

By Rodger Raubach
May 21, 2011
rating: 5.6 4c 14 V S 4b

The first pitch is a little tricky, but the upper pitches are relatively straightforward and enjoyable. The walk off is a bit grungy. Standard rack.

By Mark P Thomas
From: Oakland
Jun 7, 2011
rating: 5.6 4c 14 V S 4b

With a 70m rope the first 2 pitches link nicely :-) Though hard to follow at times, there is a climbers trail that cuts through the brush above and down a gully to the West.

By Brian Snider
From: NorCal
Jun 13, 2011

Fun route with great belay ledges. Gets a lot of sun so bring pro if you need it. The descent was pretty straight forward and only took 20 minutes or so. The webbing and rapp ring is gone at p1 if your planing on top roping.

By Rodger Raubach
Sep 27, 2011
rating: 5.6 4c 14 V S 4b

Climbed just the first pitch again after an interval of > 25 years. Seemed that the first 10 feet of the climb are still a bit of a grunt but then the stemming and crack climbing above are fun. Not a total grovel-fest as some have described it. Easily protected. My partner replaced the slings at the first tree on 9/25/2011.

By Rodger Raubach
Oct 2, 2012
rating: 5.6 4c 14 V S 4b

The easiest descent line is at the intersection of the whole buttress formation with the upper wall, and descend EAST!! Brushy with manzanita bushes, but pretty secure in the corner.

By Jim H
From: Pasadena, CA
Aug 25, 2013

I have climbed this several times and think the lengths are off. P1 is more like 30 ft. (40 tops). Also hass a very easy anchor at the top.

By David Dennis
From: Central California
Nov 10, 2013
rating: 5.6 4c 14 V S 4b

As mentioned, this is a great route for a beginner's first multipitch. Varied climbing, large belay ledges that don't feel exposed, and eats up pro for the 5.5< parts. The last pitch hand/finger crack is actually pretty sweet; if it were 100 feet longer it would be "classic."