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Solar Slab Gully

5.3, Trad, 540 ft, 5 pitches, Grade II,  Avg: 2 from 201 votes
FA: unknown
Nevada > Southern Nevada > Red Rock > 12-Oak Creek Ca… > Solar Slab - Lower Tier
Access Issue: Red Rock RAIN AND WET ROCK: The sandstone is fragile and is very easily damaged when wet. Details


Solar Slab Gully is mainly used as an approach to get to the upper face and climb Solar Slab. The climbing is not particularily appealing, but still fun. The pitches are not very distinct, and many belay spots are possible. Follow the prominent trail that starts at the Oak Creek Canyon parking lot for 45 minutes to an hour or so to get to a huge gully on the right.

P1) Pick a route up the gully. Many possiblities exist. A wide crack is in the middle of the face, or a smaller crack to the right. Step around left eventually to a fixed anchor. (5.1)

P2) Scramble and chimney up the left side of the gully. When the gully opens up, a belay is possible at an oak tree with slings to the right. Another option is to continue until a wide steeper section is encountered. (4th class)

P3) Climb up this water worn area passing a sling-threaded hole. This is a possible belay, but it is best to continue on. Belay when comfortable. (5.1)

P4) Scramble up to a vertical wide chimney that is often wet. Belay. (4th class)

P5) Climb the chimney. A set of anchors is immediately at the top left of the chimney, or continue higher to the main terrace. (5.3)

Descent: Rappel the route. Fixed anchors can be found in many places. 5 rappels are necessary and some easy down climbing. Make sure to make mental notes as to where the anchors are at in case of a rappel in the dark after Solar Slab.


Standard Rack

Photos [Hide ALL Photos]

Solar Slab Gulley - The obvious line to the left of the dark dihedral in this picture
[Hide Photo] Solar Slab Gulley - The obvious line to the left of the dark dihedral in this picture
First pitch isn't 5.3 for anyone short. There's overhanging bulges.
[Hide Photo] First pitch isn't 5.3 for anyone short. There's overhanging bulges.
Third Pitch - Solar Slab Gulley <br>
5.3 climbing <br>
Picture by
[Hide Photo] Third Pitch - Solar Slab Gulley 5.3 climbing Picture by
TJ looking Smiley, Doug on 'lead'.  First pitch of the Gully
[Hide Photo] TJ looking Smiley, Doug on 'lead'. First pitch of the Gully
Nearly down and getting more golly each rappel!
[Hide Photo] Nearly down and getting more golly each rappel!
Solar Slab Gully upper chimney
[Hide Photo] Solar Slab Gully upper chimney
in the ZONE atop the third pitch
[Hide Photo] in the ZONE atop the third pitch
One sip per rap?
[Hide Photo] One sip per rap?
How many pulls of whiskey to get down Solar Slab Gulley?
[Hide Photo] How many pulls of whiskey to get down Solar Slab Gulley?
the chimmney from fourth anchors
[Hide Photo] the chimmney from fourth anchors
6 people waiting to rap. The 2 ladies at the anchor had to wait about 45min for the previous group to get off rappel. This is not an appropriate location for teaching newbies how to rappel. Know what you are doing. Don't hold people up.
[Hide Photo] 6 people waiting to rap. The 2 ladies at the anchor had to wait about 45min for the previous group to get off rappel. This is not an appropriate location for teaching newbies how to rappel. Know wh…
Rap party
[Hide Photo] Rap party

Comments [Hide ALL Comments]

Jake Wyatt
Longmont, CO
[Hide Comment] If you're using the Gully as a descent route, but didn't climb it to get up to Solar Slab, take care on the rappels. Some of the rap anchors aren't visible until they're pretty much right in front of you. And if you rappel past certain of the anchors, you might find yourself facing a bit of a mini-epic. (Unfortunately, I know from experience.....) Feb 18, 2004
[Hide Comment] I think the lack of stars here just indicates that it's boring for more advanced climbers. I don't believe there are any better routes at this rating in Vegas.

Once nice thing is that it's climbable on hot days - every belay was fairly shady.

I think the Johnny Vegas rap line is a lot better in terms of rope management.

John Mar 8, 2004
[Hide Comment] as of two weeks ago, mid march, about half of the bolts on the gully rap anchors were in need of a little TLC. most of them appear to need just a little wrenching. a couple of them actually wiggled.

if the gully is on your way, bring a wrench and do us all a favor. Mar 29, 2005
M. Morley
Sacramento, CA
[Hide Comment] A really fun downclimb! Dec 31, 2006
Nathan Scherneck
Portland, OR
[Hide Comment] On the ascent skip the first set of rapp rings (these are an intermediate rapp for single-rope rappellers) and climb up to the tree ledge which has (2) fixed pitons and a set of rappel rings.

Did the descent in (6) single rope (60m) rappels. The second set of rapp rings can be tough to find if you didn't come up the gully (their out on the East face). Mar 22, 2010
[Hide Comment] On 2/15/11, the LVCLC with support from the ASCA replaced the wiggling first pitch anchor bolts. The new bolts are 1 ea. 3/8x2.25, 3/8x3 SS. They were moved about two feet higher due to stance and rock quality concerns, actually improving the rope pull on the way down. Also replaced was one of the pitch .5 anchors (last rappel with a single rope) with a 3.8x2.25 SS. The remaining bolt is a decent 5/16 stud. Feb 16, 2011
Chris Owen
Big Bear Lake
[Hide Comment] Nathan I agree, as of March 2011 I counted 6 single rope (60m) rappels to get down this gully. I encountered no jammed rope, but could see potential for that. See for second set of rap rings. Mar 13, 2011
dirty son of a cinch
las vegas, nv
[Hide Comment] my first multi pitch climb!!! this was awesome with little to no exposure, half way up was like being on the ground again.. great day of fun.. Dec 9, 2011
William Nelson
Cave Creek, AZ
[Hide Comment] I thought this would be a joke, but the guy at the climbing shop said if you stay to the right on first pitch up against the huge right facing corner its a great hand jam. I wore my 5.10 guide tennies, but wish I had my climbing shoes on this pitch. He was right. He said about 5.5, I agree. first pitch is really fun, the rest is super easy and protects well. Chimney technique for last waterfall pitch works. Couple spinner anchors need to be tightened on first pitch. Great route for taking someone on their first multipitch. Very little exposure and great view of canyon at base of solar slab. Feb 20, 2012
Weston L
  Easy 5th
[Hide Comment] Excellent downclimb! Feb 21, 2012
andrew willey
Las Vegas
[Hide Comment] i counted 7 single rappels, 6 bolted 1 threaded hole.the first or top anchor we downclimbed instead.. watch for your knots in the end of the rope sticking in cracks!! happened to me last year!! May 5, 2012
Mesa AZ
[Hide Comment] Great beginner climb for new leaders - Stick to the right side of the gully to follow the line
- the left side is oddwidth and a bit perilous imho Nov 21, 2012
Las Vegas, NV
[Hide Comment] SS Gully starts on the right, but quickly moves left after the first two pitches- be careful not to drift right or ride the right side all the way up, lest you wander into fairly strenuous 5.9/5.10 climbing. Nov 22, 2012
[Hide Comment] The third rap we used a natural feature to thread our rope through (just copied the part ahead of us who seemed to know the area). The rope wanted to get stuck for sure. It would be great to sling that feature with webbing and rings. It might also prevent people from missing it as we likely would have had we not seen the guys ahead of us use it. Mar 17, 2014
Las Vegas, NV
[Hide Comment] That feature should have slings on it. It's been part of the established raps in the gully for at least 12 years. Mar 18, 2014
Madison, WIsconsin
[Hide Comment] You can rap the gully in 3 raps with double 60s. The last rap is kinda close (from the rings on the face by the tree), and it would likely take 4 raps with double 50s. Mar 25, 2014
Moab, UT
[Hide Comment] Climbed this to approach solar slab upper tier and being a wuss decided to rope up instead of solo-ing after checking it out. I personally thought that the first pitch was easy climbing, but exposed enough to be at 5.3-5.5 level (the book calls it 5.0). I guess it is also going to be dependent on which way you go up it. There are pretty much three clear options. I had an easy enough time going far right then traversing left at the top, but I think the book suggests to climb the very wide crack in the middle which could be easier (there is also a crack on the left - choose your adventure!).

The 'crux' 5.3 pitch does have the hardest movement, involving stemming, however, I figured I would note that it is not exposed and rather tucked away enough, so that it is like you are doing a boulder problem (only your basically in a wide chimney and you can protect it). And if you fell without protection it would be no more than 15-20 feet (However, I am bad at estimating distances).

My partner and I didn't realize that there were so many belay stations (the book doesn't make this quite clear, I think there are 7), and we ended up stopping at too many and taking much too long. Take care not to stop at every belay you see, because there are plenty. However, there are spots where your going to have a ton of rope drag if you do not. This should be easy enough to recognize.

In retrospect, we should have just climbed Johnny Vegas and had a better time getting up to Solar Slab. Oh well, next time. Dec 4, 2015
William Thiry
Las Vegas
[Hide Comment] Solar Slab Gully is a fabulous little adventure and a fine way to gain the upper Solar Slab tier. It's also the best descent from Solar Slab so it's a good idea to climb it and get familiar with the rap stations. Free soloing it, especially after the first long pitch, is reasonable and quick. Mar 20, 2016
[Hide Comment] agreed with karen above that first pitch seemed more like 5.3, quite exposed, and chimney section was easy and short.
thanks to many anchors and easy climbing there are tons of options to pass slow parties if needed, just find a different anchor or simul. May 2, 2016
Laura Maples
Durham, NC
[Hide Comment] Based on the guidebook rating we started soloing up this but stopped at the first little ledge and roped up, it was a little spicier than anticipated and I have the feeling (as with many of the easier graded routes in RR) that someone who climbs much harder routes graded this a 5.0. I agree with the others that the first pitch is a 5.3 or 5.4 depending on which line you take. Don't underestimate it if you are new to leading. Yes, some people may solo it to get to Solar Slab but it's a fun route in its own right for a new leader with nice long pitches, good shade and an interesting mix of climbing with lots of wide ledges.

The anchors are a little awkward to find and for belaying but make the raps straightforward and less likely to snag a rope. We rapped with a 70m single rope and also used the natural feature on the 3rd rap (it now has slings and a ring) to get down the last 40m. On your way up the 3rd pitch look left after you clear the little rib and before you hit the slabby section to see the anchor. Watch for the last set of rings on the face of the ledge with the big tree (I missed them on the way up but was able to find them fairly easily coming down). Have fun! Nov 25, 2017
Serge Smirnov
Seattle, WA
[Hide Comment] After climbing this several times, the right-facing flake with a half-inch crack just below the first set of chains (half way up P1) still feels 5.7. It just doesn't have any good feet and is too step for slab. Has anybody found a way around it ? Did it have better feet in the past ?

(I can sort of accept that the other difficult spots on this route don't contribute to the difficulty rating because they occur a not-quite-fatal distance above some big ledge, so technically 4th class rather than 5th.. I.e. 5.1 trumps 4.7... But the spot half way up P1 still puzzles me in the context of a 5.1 pitch - it is quite exposed, definitely 5th) May 28, 2018