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Elk Slabs

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"Black Man's Jump" T 
(Other) Dihedral, The T 
Aid Corner T 
Arching Crack T 
Buns Up T 
Buttress Route T 
Eliminator T 
Great Expectations T 
Nike Rout T,S 
Right Face (AKA Easy Face) T 
Sundeck, The T 
Tree Route T 
Water Streak T 
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Elk Slabs Rock Climbing 

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Location: 34.7172, -98.7237 View Map  Incorrect?
Page Views: 11,782
Administrator: Kristine Hoffman (sitewide)
Submitted By: Steve Marr on Nov 6, 2006
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View from the bottom of Elk Slab looking out

  • This area is designated as Charon MORE INFO >>>
  • Access is always an issue here. MORE INFO >>>

  • Description 

    The Elk Slabs are located on the rocky western flank of Elk Mountain not far from Treasure Cove and the Pear & Apple formation. The approach through the Charons Gardens Wilderness Area is a bit longer than other Wichita destinations, but the hike is pleasant and the crowds are minimal. It's a great destination if you are looking to escape the weekend zoo in the Narrows or on Mount Scott. The wall faces west / southwest and receives great afternoon sun on cooler days. There are a number of excellent moderate trad lines, as well as a handful of more difficult lines (including one aid route). Protection is generally good on the more popular lines, but is sparse or non-existent on others.

    Getting There 

    Park at the Treasure Lake parking lot on the south side of the Charons Gardens Wilderness Area. The slabs are visible in the distance to the north east. It’s best to locate them prior to leaving the parking lot in order to get your bearings. Look for the Phillip Mitchell memorial on the east side of the parking area and pick up the trail behind it. Follow the trail along the west side of Treasure Lake and past the Post Oak Falls where the trail splits. Follow the right branch which angles up towards the base of the slabs. The trail will appear to dead end at a large boulder in a wooded area. Scramble under the boulder, and follow a faint trail to the base (be prepared for a little bush whacking if you miss the trail). The slabs will be visible during the majority of the approach.

    Climbing Season

    Weather station 1.2 miles from here

    14 Total Climbing Routes

    ['4 Stars',0],['3 Stars',7],['2 Stars',5],['1 Star',1],['Bomb',0]

    Classic Climbing Routes in Elk Slabs

    Mountain Project's determination of the classic, most popular, highest rated climbing routes for Elk Slabs:
    Great Expectations   5.5 4b 13 IV+ 11 MS 4a     Trad, 1 pitch   
    Tree Route   5.5 4b 13 IV+ 11 MS 4a     Trad, 2 pitches, 165'   
    The (Other) Dihedral   5.6 4c 14 V 12 S 4b     Trad, 1 pitch   
    Water Streak   5.7 5a 15 V+ 13 MVS 4b X     Trad, 2 pitches, 120'   
    Arching Crack   5.7 5a 15 V+ 13 MVS 4b X     Trad, 3 pitches   
    Nike Rout   5.8 5b 16 VI- 15 HVS 4c     Trad, Sport, 1 pitch, 180'   
    Eliminator   5.10a 6a 18 VI+ 18 E1 5a     Trad, 35'   
    Browse More Rock Climbing Classics in Elk Slabs

    Featured Route For Elk Slabs
    Rock Climbing Photo: Mike on Water Streak Dec 2008

    Water Streak 5.7 5a 15 V+ 13 MVS 4b Oklahoma : Wichita Wildlife Refuge : ... : Elk Slabs
    On the Left side of Elk Slabs, climb up through a small roof where you can get some gear. Step up and continue up the 'water streak' without pro until you reach the two bolt anchor. Belay from here and then head up and to the left. ...[more]   Browse More Classics in Oklahoma

    Photos of Elk Slabs Slideshow Add Photo
    Rock Climbing Photo: Elk Slabs from the Approach trail.  Tree Route is ...
    BETA PHOTO: Elk Slabs from the Approach trail. Tree Route is ...
    Rock Climbing Photo: Pitch 2 of Great Expectations taken from anchors a...
    Pitch 2 of Great Expectations taken from anchors a...
    Rock Climbing Photo: Elk Slabs as seen on the approach. Yes, the rock i...
    Elk Slabs as seen on the approach. Yes, the rock i...
    Rock Climbing Photo: Amanda the Rock Star belaying the first pitch of G...
    Amanda the Rock Star belaying the first pitch of G...
    Rock Climbing Photo: Tim has Elk Slabs at hand
    Tim has Elk Slabs at hand
    Rock Climbing Photo: Elk Slab as seen from the south.  Routes shown are...
    BETA PHOTO: Elk Slab as seen from the south. Routes shown are...
    Rock Climbing Photo: Close up of the slabs.
    Close up of the slabs.
    Rock Climbing Photo: Sunset on Elk Slabs (from Post Oak Lake vicinity).
    Sunset on Elk Slabs (from Post Oak Lake vicinity).

    Comments on Elk Slabs Add Comment
    Show which comments
    By Evan Small
    From: OK
    Oct 12, 2012
    Question about boulder below elk slabs. A few minutes before you hit the boulders to scramble under, you pass this massive... maybe 30ft+ boulder. Has anyone been on this boulder or know any history of it? if anyone is interested in putting in some work on multiple lines on the boulder, let me know. I have 3 pads but could definitely use more protection and will be focused on this boulder as the weather gets colder.
    Rock Climbing Photo: Boulder directly off trail just before elk slabs.
    Boulder directly off trail just before elk slabs.
    By Daniel Winsor
    Mar 29, 2015
    Holy bushwhack. We got to do a brutal two hour approach to these slabs trying to follow these directions, so here's some stuff we learned yesterday that might help folks in the future:
    -It doesn't matter which trail out of the parking lot you start at (there's two, one at the north end by the bulletin board and one at the east edge) BOTH trails come back together later before Post Oak Falls. I would recommend following the north trail, it's more heavily traveled and easier to follow.
    -The trail will go slightly uphill at first, then flatten out in a large clearing, then head more steeply downhill. At the bottom of this downhill is the sign for Post Oak Falls.
    -We went to the falls, then went sharp uphill just to the left (north) of the falls where there's a decent trail that intersects the approach trail to the slabs after about a quarter mile. The directions on MP say to pass the falls, then head right, I can't verify if that works or not.
    -Once you take a right on the approach trail (Elk Slabs visible) KEEP GOING until you're located directly under the slabs on the trail. There are MANY options to cut across the stream bed early and the one we took was AWFUL. I've covered in bleeding scratches from crawling through thorn bushes. Type 2 fun.
    -You should be looking directly up at the slabs from the trail before you head up to them. There's an obvious boulder/talus field going up to the slabs that has much less vegetation and is fairly easy to navigate to get you up to the slabs under Great Expectations/Nike.
    -Where you cross the stream bed there are large boulders you go under that form a cave. From there, just keep moving up and right into the boulder/talus field. Stay on rocks, stay away from vegetation.
    This approach should only take about a half hour, if there's another way to get up to the climbs, we definitely didn't find it. Good luck!
    By Joshua Oliver
    Apr 19, 2017
    Daniel's comment above was very helpful to me, but here is some more information to add to what he said.

    This hike took me about 45 minutes to do on the actual trail. Make sure that you don't turn off the trail too early to go up to the slabs. Be patient!

    - Once you pass the falls the trail will take you down right next to the river, stay on the right side of the river and keep going.
    - Pass the large boulder on your right and continue following the trail, you will pass a few places that look like good ones to cross the river but keep waiting.
    - You will come to a point where the trail trends more uphill, you will come to a bit of a clearing on your left with multiple very large boulders. When standing at this spot, the crack of Great Expectations should be pointing DIRECTLY at you. From here go down under the big boulders and you will come to a trail that starts up the hill and goes right.
    - It will take some interesting friction scrambling (nothing dangerous or too difficult) and ducking under branches and things to get up the slope but the routes are worth it!
    By Michael A Parker
    From: Tulsa, OK
    May 22, 2017
    We made it all the way to the small clearing with a cairn before the scrambling starts. We opted to scramble up left, this is a bit faster, but also a little more technical and would not have made for a fun retreat route at the end of the day. From this clearing it is better to go right. It is hard to tell there is a trail there, but you'll squeeze between the large boulder and some trees and other vegetation, just keep moving along the rock until you come to an area where you can start scrambling up. You'll scramble up, zigzagging a bit as you go until you reach the nice large belay ledge with a good sized tree on it. Best part is, this tree provides some shade in the late afternoon.

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