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Friction Slab

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Crack Pot T 
Prime Time  S 
Touch and Go S 
Wacko S 
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Friction Slab Rock Climbing 

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Location: 48.45273, -122.62877 View Map  Incorrect?
Page Views: 1,253
Administrators: Scott Coldiron, Nate Ball, Jon Nelson, Micah Klesick, Kristine Hoffman (sitewide)
Submitted By: Curtveld on May 16, 2016


63° | 53°

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67° | 53°

71° | 55°

66° | 52°
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BETA PHOTO: Friction Slab routes: Touch and Go (green, approx)...

Lower Main Wall/East Buttress Trails Re-opened MORE INFO >>>


Friction Slab is one of the best beginner’s crags on Erie, with a flat grassy base and numerous slabby climbs in the 5.4 to 5.8 range. With its high position, south exposure, and stellar views, Friction Slab has plenty to recommend. It would be extremely popular if not for being: 1. A bit of a hike (~15 minutes) and, 2. Tricky to locate the first time. The best plan is to get a local to show you the way. If not, the next option is to get the local guidebook (‘Rocking on the Rock’ by Kloke, Thompson and Bryant) and spend some time wandering the trails with the book’s fine maps and photos in hand. Actually this advice holds true for virtually any crag on Mt Erie the first few times!

Friction Slab is indeed slabby, as the climbing is lower angled than most other Erie crags. However, the climbing surface is featured and not particularly demanding of pure smearing technique, less so than the granite slabs of Darrington or Squamish. Climbs on Friction Slab consist mainly of bolted face climbs less than a half rope length which are well suited for top-roping or friendly leads.

Getting There 

Friction Slab is best accessed from the Mt Erie summit road. Park at the small parking area located at a small switchback about 200 yards short of the road’s end (same as for Powerline Wall). Climbers come and go, so choose your parking spot carefully to avoid blocking or being blocked in by others.

From the parking spot, drop a bit downhill (south) and west on the well-traveled Sunset Trail, which diagonals across open rocky slopes toward the Powerline Wall. Several hundred yards from the parking lot (before the power line), find a branch trail to the left that drops directly into the timbered swale below. Intersect the trail running up and down the swale - turn leftward up the swale and follow it a short distance to a rightward fork. The fork contours underneath low fir branches, emerging into spectacular vistas at the top of Friction Slab. Along the outer edge, you will see several bolt and chain anchors.

You can reach the base by scrambling around the (skiers) left end, which is class 3 with an exposed rock step near the bottom. Or you can rappel from one of the bolted anchors. Regardless, you may choose to gear up on top and leave your pack. This way, when you finish your last climb, you can pack up and hike out without having to haul your gear back up the crag.

The base of Friction Slab is a grassy flat that is spacious but drops off over another major cliff (Skyline Arête). So not a great spot for small kids, or dogs not inclined to stay put. Reptiles, hamsters and parakeets are pets less prone to falling but may draw attack by eagles or falcons.

Climbing Season

For the Mount Erie area.

Weather station 4.5 miles from here

5 Total Climbing Routes

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

Classic Climbing Routes in Friction Slab

Mountain Project's determination of the classic, most popular, highest rated climbing routes for Friction Slab:
Wacko   5.6 4c 14 V 12 S 4b     Sport, 50'   
Touch and Go   5.9 5c 17 VI 17 HVS 5a     Sport, 40'   
Browse More Rock Climbing Classics in Friction Slab

Featured Route For Friction Slab
Rock Climbing Photo: First lead on Prime Time, Mt Erie

Prime Time 5.7 5a 15 V+ 13 MVS 4b  Washington : Northwest Region : ... : Friction Slab
Takes on the central buttress. Boulder the first rock band to a small ramp. Approach the blocky buttress from the right and clip the first of 5 bolts. The crux is the steeper spot at the 4th bolt. Excellent beginner climb!...[more]   Browse More Classics in Washington

Photos of Friction Slab Slideshow Add Photo
Rock Climbing Photo: Looking across the Salish Sea from the top of Fric...
Looking across the Salish Sea from the top of Fric...
Rock Climbing Photo: Looking down from near the top of Friction Slab, M...
BETA PHOTO: Looking down from near the top of Friction Slab, M...

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