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Surprising Slab

5.8, TR,  Avg: 1.8 from 72 votes
FA: Scott Woodruff and Ray Snead, 1979.
Colorado > Boulder > Boulder Canyon > Nip & Tuck
Access Issue: Seasonal Closure / 2020 Update Details


Start left of where the rope falls. Most of the climb is done to the left of the rope. The begining is fairly easy with lots of big holds. About half way up the climb gets harder with some interesting balance techniques and opposing forces. The top is easy and if you follow the route you should have to traverse about 10 feet to the chains.


Chains are at the top providing a very quick and easy set up. A large tree is up there too for a backup if you desire. Bring a long sling for it.

Photos [Hide ALL Photos]

Near the top.
[Hide Photo] Near the top.
Ok, this was near Finger Crack, which is good.
[Hide Photo] Ok, this was near Finger Crack, which is good.
Surprising Slab.
[Hide Photo] Surprising Slab.
Danny moving up just right of the rope on Surprising Slab.
[Hide Photo] Danny moving up just right of the rope on Surprising Slab.

Comments [Hide ALL Comments]

Jeremy Monahan
Fort Collins, CO
[Hide Comment] Definitely not worth doing. Not much pro at the bottom. Gets better at the top, but it still sux. Better climbing to be had right of this route. May 20, 2002
[Hide Comment] If this is the route I think it is, I'm going to have to disagree with the bomb rating. Sure, there is little to no gear for leading, but this is a fun TR. The hand holds are far apart and maybe not so good, but the feet just appear like magic. Jul 15, 2002
Charles Danforth
L'ville, CO
[Hide Comment] A bomb? Come on, people. Maybe not classic, but fun and thoughtful. Harder but more interesting than the right-hand route on this face. You can make this one as hard or as easy as you want on TR. Jun 27, 2006
Bend, Oregon
[Hide Comment] Anybody know if there is a name for the route just right of where the rope falls - and does the wall with chains just to the right of this wall have a name? Aug 11, 2006
Ben Helgeson
[Hide Comment] Steve Dieckhoff thought this climb was noteworthy enough to include in is outstanding book, Serious Play: An Annotated Guide to Traditional Front Range Classics. There's a quote worth mentioning about this climb: "You could spend hours toproping different variations on this face, eliminating holds until there are none left. The grace, technique and confidence you learn while mastering this type of climbing will serve you well in your climbing career" (p.49). May 29, 2008
Boulder, CO
[Hide Comment] This whole face is an excellent TR location for beginners and intermediates as well as those aspiring to learn how to build anchors. Access to the top is easy, and there is ample up top to build various anchors.

Also, free soloing the dihedral to the right is fantastic and straightforward. Jun 13, 2008
Chris Zeller
Boulder, CO
[Hide Comment] This is an excellent, beginner, toproping area. Not mutch pro and no bolts but its not meant for leading. Great place to go if you are just starting out toproping. The anchors are super easy to setup and access and you can spend the day here trying different variations. Why pay for the gym when you can be outdoors under a great shade tree?

If you want to learn to lead, sew up the dihedral crack to the right. It goes at ~5.2 and takes all the gear you can throw at it. Walk off, too. Jun 9, 2010
Greg Speer
Fort Collins, CO
[Hide Comment] I thought this route was a lot of fun. This and the adjacent Hare Balls and Dan-D-Line all have variations you can try making it a good place to easily get in a bunch of enjoyable pitches in a short period of time especially if you just want a laid back day. Good area to practice things. Would be perfect for someone wanting to transition from the gym to climbing outside. Jun 25, 2011