The West Slabs
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Routes in The West Slabs
|West Slabs, The T 5.5 4b 13 IV+ 11 MS 4a|
|Type:||Trad, 1660 ft, 10 pitches, Grade III|
|Page Views:||44,522 total, 269/month|
|Shared By:||Peter Gram on May 7, 2004|
|Admins:||Andrew Gram, Perin Blanchard, grk10vq|
DescriptionThe face of the West Slabs can be climbed almost anywhere. The slab is extremely wide, allowing tons of variations to try. Although it doesn't matter which way you choose, I will describe my route as a rough idea of what to expect. Also included are rough estimates of the pitch lengths. All told, the slabs are probably close to 2000' feet of climbing. In early season, an ice axe (maybe crampons) may be helpful on the approach couloir. The snow isn't that steep and I was easily able to kick steps without crampons.
P1) Start at the low point of the slabs, where the couloir makes a V, heading both to the left and the right of the slabs. This pitch is mostly 3rd/4th class scrambling, with a few easy 5th class moves up to a tree with slings (190 feet).
P2) This and P3 are the two pitches that make up the 5.5 climbing on this route. I wandered up a beautiful slabby face placing gear in face features up to the start of a left facing dihedral. The belay was set using gear anchor on a nice flat spot in the dihedral (180 feet).
P3) Climb up the nice left facing dihedral until a huge tree on a big ledge. This is the most easily protected and one of the best pitches of the route. A walk off right is possible here on ledge systems. From here, the climbing eases to 5.4 or less (120 feet).
P4) A really cool pitch wanders up the juggy face. I set a gear anchor in a horizontal crack above a sloping shelf which took small cams well (160 feet).
P5) Head up unprotectable slabbier rock, trending slightly right, to a small roof system with a tree. Some slings are on this tree, and I backed it up with a cam in a nearby crack (150 feet).
P6) Wander up and over a small roof. Continue rambling up the face, passing a dead tree on the left. A rope stretcher with a bit of simul-climbing got me to a good sized pine tree just a few feet below an enormous dead tree (215 feet).
P7) Slightly to the left is a wavy right facing dihedral in light colored quartzite. I stretched this pitch to a sloping ledge with a few features for a gear anchor (200 feet).
P8) Another ramble up a right facing dihedral gains a big tree with a good ledge (110 feet).
P9) Wander up the well featured face for most of a rope length to another tree (slightly left) with slings (180 feet).
P10) One more really easy pitch gains a huge ledge system which goes straight across the face (150 feet).
Probably two more rope lengths would reach the top from here if still roped up. However, unroping for this easy climbing may be a good idea at this point, or even after the top of pitch 8 or 9 as described. For the most part, every pitch seems easier than the last, and the point to unrope is different depending on the party.
Descent) Ruckman describes a specific descent for this route. Since I did not take it, I am not familiar with where to go. Instead, I followed the ridge up towards the North summit. Eventually, I dropped off the ridge to the right and did a difficult traverse into the drainage between the two summits. From the saddle, a short steep climb (difficult when snowy) gains the real summit. After reaching the summit, the hiking trail can be taken down. Make sure to bum a ride or bring two cars if doing this loop (the trailheads are 3 miles apart from each other)
ProtectionSmall standard Rack. I found small cams to be more useful than anything else. I placed occasional nuts and up to a #3 camalot as well. Many trees can be used as quick belays or protection on pitches. Most pitches are run out, but the climbing is usually juggy.
Getting ThereWasatch Blvd to 4280 S / Oakview Dr., right on Jupiter Dr., left on Adonis Dr., right on Thousand Oaks Dr. to the end of the road (traffic circle with a gate), then up the wooden stairs.
Stay on the trail through both switchbacks (don't go straight at the 2nd one); the trail dies down in a rocky gully which you follow to the base of the slabs.
45 min to an hour.