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Routes in East Slabs

Breathing Sunlight TR 5.7 5a 15 V+ 13 MVS 4b
Great Bowl/Ingraham Dihedral, The T 5.8 5b 16 VI- 15 HVS 4c R
La Mancha T 5.7 5a 15 V+ 13 MVS 4b X
Misty T 5.8 5b 16 VI- 15 HVS 4c R
Normal Route T 5.7 5a 15 V+ 13 MVS 4b R
Walking Upright T 5.5 4b 13 IV+ 11 MS 4a R


An expansive slab of clean granite hides just around the corner from Sugarloaf. It offers climbing similar to the lower pitches of North Face: super clean low-angled granite, chicken heads and quartz dikes, and a few choice dihedrals and overlaps to mix things up. It sees a lot less traffic than Sugarloaf but is well worth the extra approach distance, especially if you like mellow slabs on beautiful rock.

Routes tend to be run-out over the 5.4-5.6 slab sections and it is not unusual for entire pitches to lack protection. Due to the curving angle of the slabs, the upper pitches are not visible from the base of the cliff, nor are they visible from the approach. The slabs extend to the south for over 1/4 mile.
Placement of bolts/fixed anchors is prohibited in Wilderness Study Areas Details

Getting There

While this slab is clearly visible from Hwy 70 and White Sands Missile Range, it is quickly hidden from view while hiking the approach to Sugarloaf along the Indian Hollow trail. Approach almost all the way to Sugarloaf but before you get to the "camping spot" on the trail, start heading left and towards a saddle to the north of Sugarloaf. Scramble over slabs and through oak thickets to gain the saddle where you'll find a huge boulder with a bivouac cave under it. This cave makes a perfect base-camp for spending a weekend on the East Slabs, just don't forget to bring plenty of water.

From the bivuac, scramble south trying to keep your elevation over a series of slabs. Keep going until you reach the north end of the East Slabs in a "great Bowl".

Approach time is 30-60 minutes longer than for Sugarloaf.

6 Total Climbs

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Classic Climbing Routes at East Slabs

Mountain Project's determination of the classic, most popular, highest rated climbing routes in this area.
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Weather Averages

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Fire Damage Report: A large wildfire burned over much of the east side of the Organ Mountains this spring (2011). Here are a few photos and a short description of what you might find if you head to the East Slabs (similar story for Sugarloaf). The approach starts with patchy burned areas and signs of firefighting efforts (branches and trees cut to make fire-line). Then there is a long stretch with little or no fire damage. Once you leave the Indian Hollow Trail, and start heading towards East Slabs, most of the vegetation is decimated. This largely decimated terrain continues over grassy saddle (now not grassy), the area around the bivy cave, and the pine forest that (used) to line the base of the slabs. Most of the brush on ledges (at least on the normal route) are damaged, and most of the trees at the top of the slabs are dead (a few exceptions). Most of the descent gully is a wasteland (again a few exceptions). If there are heavy rains, the terrain in the fire damaged areas will wash away badly, the soil is baked to fine dust, and there is little or no plant life remaining to help retain the soil. One more thing, we climbed on a windy day, and due to the fire damage, the wind was knocking branches and stuff from above, wear a helmet!

May 30, 2011
Karl is correct about bolts. The rope length for the original ascent (Great Bowl through Ingram's Diherdral) was 120'(37 metres). The first ascent was by Dick Ingram and Lee Davis on one rope and Bill Hackett and Reed Cundiff on the other. Ingram had the bolt kit and was switching leads with Davis. We got behind in Ingram's Dihedral and went to the right instead of the left as they did. I wound up on a blank section (noted as 5.7 in write-up) at end of rope and had to belay off a Gerry steel handled hammer jammed into a crystal pocket. Bill was not happy (I wasn't either). A few years later, Chris O'Brien couldn't get in protection on another route and the belayer had to tie on another rope so he could eventually find a belay stance about 250' out(this was known as "Sam Bertditch, what a pitch"). I would suggest taking a bolt kit and a few knife blade pitons the first time one does an extended route in the Organs. Sep 16, 2009
Aaron, thanks for introducing the East Slabs. Most of these routes were put up prior to EBs. The result is more difficult climbing although the routes are moderate.

I want to emphasize that most of the 1/4" bolts (about 35 years old) have not been replaced. I would take a hand drill and a few replacement bolts for especially the anchors. I have been told that Misty has been retro bolted with no additional bolts.

A favorite mix of several routes, about 5.8, is: the two pitches of Ape crack, the third and fourth pitches of Great Bowl, and the finish pitches of Ingraham's dihedral (the anchor at the top of the dihedral is bolted and there definitely needs to be a new 3/8" bolt if one has not been placed). May 7, 2008

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