Trad, 1220 ft, 9 pitches, Grade III,
Avg: 3.5 from 582
FA: Herbst, Kaufman, Hamilton '75
> Southern Nevada
> Red Rock
> 12-Oak Creek Ca…
> Solar Slab - Upper Tier
Solar Slab is a very popular route due to its long length and all pitches are 5.6 or easier. The climb is 9 pitches long and over 1200 feet in height. However, the start of Solar Slab is on a huge terrace 500 feet up, which has a few different multi-pitch approaches. Probably the most common ways to get to the base of Solar Slab are to climb Johnny Vegas
(5.7, 4 pitches), or the Solar Slab Gully
(5.3, 5 pitches). An early start is highly recommended to beat the crowds, climb the 14 pitches, and make the lengthy descent. A headlamp is also a good idea.
Start from the Oak Creek Canyon parking area, and follow the obvious trail for 45 minutes to an hour. A prominent trail leads to an obvious gully to the right, the Solar Slab Gully. Climb this or Johnny Vegas to the terrace 500 feet up.
P1) Wander up the beautiful featured golden slab for quite a ways to the start of a nice hand crack. There is little pro in the slab, and the hardest move is gaining the crack system. Follow the crack system to a ledge with a fixed 2-bolt anchor. (5.5)
P2) From the ledge, follow the sandy chimney left and up to another ledge to belay at. This is probably the worst pitch of the climb. (5.5)
P3) Wander up unprotected but well featured rock for about 20 feet to a finger crack. Traverse right when obvious and follow a corner to a small belay ledge. (5.6)
P4) Climb a varnished left facing corner until possible to traverse right to a huge belay ledge with fixed anchors. (5.6)
P5) Climb the beautiful hand crack as long as desired, eventually sinking in a belay at the best spot possible. Some bolts are found near the crack on this pitch. This is a 3 star pitch. (5.5)
P6) Finish up this crack, stepping left eventually and belaying at the top of a pillar. I don't recommend trying to link this pitch with P5. I don't think that even a 60 meter rope is long enough. (5.4)
P7) Wander up and right protecting in various features to get to a low angle crack. Climb this crack up to an anchor. Don't stop at this point, but remember where this anchor is if you are planning to rap the route. Instead, traverse right a bit, then go up and easy corner to the huge low angle terrace. (5.3)
P8) Scramble up to a black varnished dihedral and sink a belay. Depending on your comfort level, this pitch can be done unroped. (class 4)
P9) Climb the black dihedral until the angle kicks back and sink a belay. (5.5)
Descent: I have only done the rappels, but there is also a walk off apparently. This is supposed to be difficult and time consuming. The rappels also take a lot of time, but it is a fairly straight forward way of getting off the rock. Down climb to the right of the last pitch on easy slabs (3rd class) to get to a traverse around to the belay ledge used below the dihedral. Then downclimb the 8th pitch and the last easy part of pitch 7 until the anchors mentioned. From here, rap (double ropes, 200' better, maybe even necessary?). Probably about 6 rappels gets you to the starting terrace. Then rap either Johnny Vegas or Solar Slab Gully (another 5 rappels). I recommend the gully, as Johnny Vegas is likely to get your rope stuck.
There is an entire chapter about this route in Red Rock Odyssey