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Routes in Friction Slab

Crack Pot T 5.4 4a 12 IV 10 VD 3c
Prime Time S 5.7 5a 15 V+ 13 MVS 4b
Touch and Go S 5.9 5c 17 VI 17 HVS 5a
Wacko S 5.6 4c 14 V 12 S 4b
Wake Up Call S 5.8 5b 16 VI- 15 HVS 4c
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Elevation: 933 ft
GPS: 48.453, -122.629 Google Map · Climbing Area Map
Page Views: 1,848 total · 67/month
Shared By: Curt Veldhuisen on May 16, 2016
Admins: Scott Coldiron, Jon Nelson, Micah Klesick
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Access Issue: Lower Main Wall/East Buttress Trails Re-opened Details


Friction Slab is one of the best beginner’s crags on Erie, with a flat grassy base and numerous slabby climbs in the 5.4 to 5.8 range. With its high position, south exposure, and stellar views, Friction Slab has plenty to recommend. It would be extremely popular if not for being: 1. A bit of a hike (~15 minutes) and, 2. Tricky to locate the first time. The best plan is to get a local to show you the way. If not, the next option is to get the local guidebook (‘Rocking on the Rock’ by Kloke, Thompson and Bryant) and spend some time wandering the trails with the book’s fine maps and photos in hand. Actually this advice holds true for virtually any crag on Mt Erie the first few times!

Friction Slab is indeed slabby, as the climbing is lower angled than most other Erie crags. However, the climbing surface is featured and not particularly demanding of pure smearing technique, less so than the granite slabs of Darrington or Squamish. Climbs on Friction Slab consist mainly of bolted face climbs less than a half rope length which are well suited for top-roping or friendly leads.

Getting There

Friction Slab is best accessed from the Mt Erie summit road. Park at the small parking area located at a small switchback about 200 yards short of the road’s end (same as for Powerline Wall). Climbers come and go, so choose your parking spot carefully to avoid blocking or being blocked in by others.

From the parking spot, drop a bit downhill (south) and west on the well-traveled Sunset Trail, which diagonals across open rocky slopes toward the Powerline Wall. Several hundred yards from the parking lot (before the power line), find a branch trail to the left that drops directly into the timbered swale below. Intersect the trail running up and down the swale - turn leftward up the swale and follow it a short distance to a rightward fork. The fork contours underneath low fir branches, emerging into spectacular vistas at the top of Friction Slab. Along the outer edge, you will see several bolt and chain anchors.

You can reach the base by scrambling around the (skiers) left end, which is class 3 with an exposed rock step near the bottom. Or you can rappel from one of the bolted anchors. Regardless, you may choose to gear up on top and leave your pack. This way, when you finish your last climb, you can pack up and hike out without having to haul your gear back up the crag.

The base of Friction Slab is a grassy flat that is spacious but drops off over another major cliff (Skyline Arête). So not a great spot for small kids, or dogs not inclined to stay put. Reptiles, hamsters and parakeets are pets less prone to falling but may draw attack by eagles or falcons.

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Classic Climbing Routes at Friction Slab

Mountain Project's determination of the classic, most popular, highest rated climbing routes in this area.
5.7 5a 15 V+ 13 MVS 4b
Prime Time
5.9 5c 17 VI 17 HVS 5a
Touch and Go
Route Name Location Star Rating Difficulty Date
Prime Time
5.7 5a 15 V+ 13 MVS 4b Sport
Touch and Go
5.9 5c 17 VI 17 HVS 5a Sport
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