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McGregor Slab
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Left Standard 

YDS: 5.5 French: 4b Ewbanks: 13 UIAA: IV+ ZA: 11 British: MS 4a

Type:  Trad, 4 pitches, 450', Grade II
Original:  YDS: 5.5 French: 4b Ewbanks: 13 UIAA: IV+ ZA: 11 British: MS 4a [details]
FA: unknown
Page Views: 7,678
Submitted By: Jim McGuire on Jan 1, 2002

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BETA PHOTO: This is the route that I took up McGregor Slab. It...


Although treated rather dismissively by most guidebooks, this is one of the better easy routes to be found out there. It is relatively long (3-4 pitches), nicely exposed, and has a fine position high above the Fall River Valley. As for most McGregor routes, the endless options for variation have caused confusion in identifying the designated path. Yet, the left side of the slab has some more well-defined features that set it apart. I suppose this could be done in 2 60m pitches, but for convenience I describe it in 4 100-120 foot leads.

Start: approach the face from the right side where a climber's trail winds up the hillside then cross over to the extreme left base of the slab. Virtually every guidebook describes the start of the climb (and the climb proper), as going up a right-facing flake system on the left side of the slab. However, beginning up a pine-studded slab just left of the right-facing system is a better option.

P1. Wander up the slab past a large, bushy pine to a belay near a broken flake with a pink rock scar, 5.2.

P2a. Move left into a crack system that angles up towards the left side of a prominent right-angling overhang, 5.3. For a shorter pitch to facilitate communication, belay on a ledge with a small tree just below the overhang.

P2b. Angle right in the second right-facing dihedral that aims for the right end of the overhang. Belay in a pod of sorts with 2 fixed wires, briefly 5.7, 160'.

P3a. Pass the overhang on its left, and move up a fine crack-laced face to a nicely exposed belay at a flake up and left, 5.3.

P3b. From the pod on P2b, continue up the corner until big knobs on the left invite you too loudly, and angle left to the tree-filled ledge, 5.6, 190'.

P4. Go straight up a crack to the end of roped climbing, (that is, if you are using one), at large, broken, vegetated ledges, 5.2.

Either continue to the top and descend down the east side or, quicker, downclimb-rappel into the left gully. This is 4th class with many intermediate ledges and trees.

or P4b & P5b. Continue up 4th class terrain to the summit.

An excellent 5.5 variation goes directly up from the first lead through the center of the prominent overhang via a singular, beautiful, left-angling crack. These upper pitches are among the finest I have experienced at this grade.


Standard rack with long runners to tie-off trees and flakes.

Photos of Left Standard Slideshow Add Photo
Rock Climbing Photo: The flake belay at the end of the third pitch.
The flake belay at the end of the third pitch.
Rock Climbing Photo: Finishing the last pitch of the direct variation.
Finishing the last pitch of the direct variation.
Rock Climbing Photo: This is where I like to start.  It is left of the ...
This is where I like to start. It is left of the ...
Rock Climbing Photo: Left Standard topo: Red - 5.3, Blue - 5.5, Green g...
BETA PHOTO: Left Standard topo: Red - 5.3, Blue - 5.5, Green g...
Rock Climbing Photo: Approximate route following the right-facing corne...
BETA PHOTO: Approximate route following the right-facing corne...
Rock Climbing Photo: This is how I did pitch one. I was able to protect...
BETA PHOTO: This is how I did pitch one. I was able to protect...
Rock Climbing Photo: The third pitch of the direct variation.
The third pitch of the direct variation.
Rock Climbing Photo: McGregor Slab from the west.
BETA PHOTO: McGregor Slab from the west.

Comments on Left Standard Add Comment
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By Paul
Oct 26, 2003
rating: 5.3 3+ 10 III 9 VD 3a

This climb is THE best climbing of the grade (or about any grade) that I have done. I have climbed it with Jim McGuire the person that posted this climb. Definitely a classic.

Paul Jacobson
By z-rock
Aug 13, 2006

We got off route, I ended up leading some crack that was about 5.6; any way you go it is fun though !!! BTW I left a Nalgene bottle up there, so free booty for whoever finds it.
By Stan Jones
From: Benbrook, TX
Jul 8, 2010
rating: 5.6 4c 14 V 12 S 4b

We followed the Rossiter topo and used the belay stations he describes for Left Standard, and it seems to be a different route than the one described here. However, we disagree with some of Rossiter's ratings. Here are the rope lengths and ratings we saw:
P1 - 55m 5.6
P2 - 50m 5.3
P3 - 60m 5.6 crack and a lot of 5.4 runout
P4 - 55m 4th class to 5.0
P5 - 20m a single 5.5 move at the short headwall
Note: there was a very loose rock of more than 100 lbs at the 2nd belay station tetering on the brink of falling down the wall. Fortunately you climb to it from the left, not directly below.

We went west for the walk-off/down-climb and stayed close to the slabs. That put us in a gully where we rapped 25 ft, although afterward we could see a potential downclimb further west.

Overall a very nice route.
By Kurt Johnson
From: Estes Park, CO
Sep 3, 2011
rating: 5.5 4b 13 IV+ 11 MS 4a

It was definitely difficult to find the route, despite the fairly good description. We never found the bushy pine, but there were other prominent trees worth mentioning that might have helped us stay on track. I'm guessing we were on the 5.5 variation, because we did end up in the left-angling crack (assuming it was the same one). It was all good climbing regardless, on excellent rock, though steeper than we were expecting for what we thought would be 5.3. It felt a lot like Magical Chrome Plated on the Pear. Nevertheless it was the best 5.5 climbing I've done anywhere. This may sound silly to anyone who thinks that grade is pointless, but it was truly aesthetic, full-value climbing.

The descent down to the gully was reminiscent of the "walk-offs" on both the Book and Sundance (although there are plenty of trees with rap slings if you're not up to it), and the gully itself is easy with one little scrambly move. There's a tattered rap sling here, but it's completely unnecessary.
By Dom R
From: Estes Park, Colorado
Jun 18, 2014

Honestly, anyone looking to climb this route should simply disregard the pitches given above or any notion that there is a distinct route. This climb is pretty much a pick your own adventure kind of route, the possibilities really are endless, but the main route people take is distinguishably polished. The Gillett description calls this 5.2, but he notes that it is hard to keep it at this grade, I'd say it's near impossible. The leader should be comfortable with 5.6 or else some parts of this climb can get nerve wracking.

With all this being said, I can now say that I agree this is some of the best climbing of the grade. There are some fantastic slabby sections that you can cruise and run it out on. Not running those parts out would just kill the flow they have. This is definitely an overlooked classic I think. Just spot the overhang 300 feet up and make your own way up, you'll be drawn to the good sections.

The route we took was 3 pitches: a rope stretcher to the large pine tree; a short pitch to the stuck nuts with a green cord; then over the roof to the 4th class.
By Scott McMahon
From: Boulder, CO
Aug 25, 2014
rating: 5.6 4c 14 V 12 S 4b

Agreed that you most likely will get into some 5.6 terrain if you climb this route. Started off in the 5.2 range, but then quickly got exposed and going about 5.5-5.6. Right-facing flake system that moved up into a right facing dihedral. Instead of crossing over to move up to the next system directly under the large tree with rap slings, we continued straight up. This continued to be a large R-facing corner that followed a somewhat slabby polished water groove. Positive moves and it took gear, but it was often mildly run out. It was always a guess where the next piece might come from. I would imagine you could follow a tree line more to the right as well. Could be a little heady, but I'd say a lot of the aspects go at about 5.5.

Belayed at a little alcove about 10 feet to the right of the big rap tree. Much more comfy and protected from the wind, but it was a challenge to see your leader on the next pitch. Pitch was a FULL 60, meaning my belayer had to come up a few feet onto the slab for me to get the rope into the guide's belay. I think from now on I'll always bring a 70m here as the pitches can be long and you never know when you might have / want to rap. I don't think I would want to try the 2 60m's the description says are a real stretcher. Chose to bail due to 30+ mph gusts, and the two main rap stations still look in good shape as of 8/24/14. Lower 3 tree rap could possibly warrant a swap out soon, but we wanted off.

Great climbing, just don't expect 5.3. Expect to hit runout steeper terrain on this climb, but it's worth doing.
By Jim McGuire
Aug 30, 2014

It is interesting to see the rise in popularity of this route over the years. Stewart Green now calls it "the best easy route in The Park", but I am a bit taken back by comments about "run outs" and "not expecting 5.3 climbing". The confusion comes of course from the "climb anywhere" nature that is McGregor Slab. I suppose I should have included a topo with my original description way back when and some of the confusion may have been avoided. It seems most people continue to follow the guidebook descriptions and are too far to the right of what I have always considered the true Left Standard route. In fact, now I see that where my original description went is labeled a totally new route and rated 5.7 to boot. And to fit the guidebook lines someone has edited my original description so that it has no bearing on the line I intended to convey. The topo that has been added shows the original 5.3 line and the 5.5 alternative with the two x's indicating the "bushy tree" and the "pink rock scar flake". Timid, low 5th class leaders who like their protection close have nothing to fear if they follow the right line.
By Rick Blair
From: Denver
Aug 4, 2016
rating: 5.6 4c 14 V 12 S 4b

I followed Bobrunnings beta photo exactly. It was awesome. Great belays, great climbing (P4 is amazing), great climber-belayer contact. It went 45m, 30m, 30m, 30m, and 15m. About 500 feet of climbing. Then we Class 4'ed it to the top. Bob has a good eye for a line. The 4th pitch was an awesome lead and a classic pitch at the grade, little roof to pull. One small belay at the 3rd belay, but it was reasonable.

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