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Solar Flare 

YDS: 5.9+ French: 5c Ewbanks: 17 UIAA: VI ZA: 17 British: E1 5a

Type:  Trad, Sport, 1 pitch
Original:  YDS: 5.10+ French: 6b+ Ewbanks: 21 UIAA: VII+ ZA: 20 British: E3 5b [details]
FA: Mark Tjaden and Brian Shelton, August 2004
Page Views: 5,487
Submitted By: Livia on Jul 17, 2006

You & This Route  |  Other Opinions (58)
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BETA PHOTO: Solar Flare.

Reopened after flood damage! MORE INFO >>>


Is there trad in Red Rock Canyon? Oui. C'est vrai.

From the guidebook: on the far left side of the cliff. Layback a fingertip crack up an obvious, right-facing, arching corner until it's possible to exit. Climb directly above the arch to anchors in a shallow scoop.

Other notes: it is #9 in guidebook.


This is the furthest south developed route on the slab - see photo for prominent characteristics.


Rack: #0.2, 0.2, 1, 2 Camalots (from guidebook).

Bolted anchors at top.

Eds. the route now sports 2 bolts, approved by the FA and requested by the City of Colorado Springs due to safety concerns voiced by local climbers after cracks appeared in the natural placements.

Photos of Solar Flare Slideshow Add Photo
Rock Climbing Photo: The route. Last route at the southern end of Solar...
BETA PHOTO: The route. Last route at the southern end of Solar...
Rock Climbing Photo: Wes making the move to the chains.
Wes making the move to the chains.
Rock Climbing Photo: My buddy climbing Solar Flare.
My buddy climbing Solar Flare.
Rock Climbing Photo: Photo of 2/3 of the route - ending move out of and...
BETA PHOTO: Photo of 2/3 of the route - ending move out of and...
Rock Climbing Photo: Me on it. I don't think it's 10+. Maybe 9+.
Me on it. I don't think it's 10+. Maybe 9+.
Rock Climbing Photo: Ti-Fou leading route.
Ti-Fou leading route.
Rock Climbing Photo: Onsighted without using any gear, definitely an ad...
Onsighted without using any gear, definitely an ad...

Comments on Solar Flare Add Comment
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Comments displayed oldest to newestSkip Ahead to the Most Recent Dated Feb 22, 2015
By Steven N
From: CO
Aug 17, 2006

Would it be too much to say this is one of the best routes in RRC?? I personally loved it. Although I did it on TR, I'll be back soon for the lead. THIN fingers start to big ole underclings. SWEET rest before finishing move to anchors.
By Rob Powell
Jul 21, 2007

Bored of all the bolted slabs at RRC? This is a real treat. It's still a slab, but it's a crack, too.
This is really classic for the 50 or so feet long it is (just guessing the length). I had to climb it before I knew what the route was or what it was rated. Actually blew my 1st attempt because I didn't have gear small enough for the start and kept falling to the ground. Will take a #00 TCU at the start. Thanks for not bolting this route. The thin gear at the beginning adds to the fun.

Not as difficult as the guidebook grade of 11c/d. Just seems hard because it's slabby and you can't get your tips in the crack at the start. I'd agree with 10+/11-, since I suck at slabs and was able to lead this with 1 fall (yes, those thin cams will hold). Once you are past the 1st 20 feet, it's just fun.
Must do for the area.
By abc
Aug 29, 2007

The guidebook rating of 11c/d refers to the climb to climber's right, which is certainly that grade. This climb can often be distinguished from the constant supply of leaver biners on the last bolt.
By drusch
Jun 15, 2008

Snake alert, On Saturday a climber on Solar Flare got bit by a snake when he put his hand in the crack at the start of the climb about 5 or 6 feet from the base (I was climbing two routes to the right on Tava).

We could not identify the snake as it retreated back into the crack. The climber seems to have been ok so either it was a dry bite or it was not a rattlesnake. The crack is very deep making it very difficult to see the little bugger.
By Ben Burnett
From: Colorado
May 12, 2010
rating: 5.9+ 5c 17 VI 17 E1 5a PG13

Very good, to bad it is short. No pins left (5/1/10) at the start. The crux seemed to me to be getting to the first gear placement 15 ft up (Aliens fit well). 9+ maybe.
By Bill Olszewski
From: Colorado Springs, CO
Oct 26, 2010
rating: 5.10a 6a 18 VI+ 18 E1 5a

This one is just pure fun, all the way up.
By Jacob Resman
From: Colorado Springs, CO
Jan 28, 2011

Best route in the canyon!
By Mike Smyth
From: Spartanburg, SC
Mar 19, 2012
rating: 5.9 5c 17 VI 17 HVS 5a

One of my favorites in Red Rocks. I had been eyeing this one for a while. I think 8- is a little underrated, but it is definitely not a 10 grade climb. Stuck my finger in a cactus that was growing under the undercling. Tried to clean some of that debris out. Great climb, though.
By Joe Van Sant
Aug 4, 2013

Try leading this only nuts alone, it makes you have to find good resting spots and lengthens the climb a little bit. The top traverse is a little runout with no nut placements but on easy climbing. Makes it a solid 10.
By Chris Mack
Mar 10, 2014

This route now sports 2 bolts on the slab. The rest of the route is as it was.
By Mark Tjaden
Mar 10, 2014

Sorry we didn't post this sooner, the bolts have been put in to protect the climbers in the park. Local climbers voiced a concern about the flake where the cams were being placed. Over the years the left hand on the face of the flake is breaking down, and the flake itself is showing seams/cracking that have grown. As the FAscenist of the climb, I was asked by the city to investigate and fix it or pull the anchors. The flake is not as strong as it used to be, and if you were to fall, the cam could break the soft sandstone/flake, damaging the route and potentially injuring someone. It made sense to put the bolts in where the soft flake was, high up enough to keep it a fun start and commiting and currently allowing trad a the top where the flake is stronger.

P.S.: I would say 5.9, not sure who put the 5.10+.
By Cody E
From: Colorado Springs, CO
Oct 1, 2014
rating: 5.9 5c 17 VI 17 HVS 5a

Loved this climb. Short and sweet. If you like "Rethinking the Ethics," you'll like this. As I took my last step up towards the anchor, there's a nice undercling handhold staring you in the face to grab as you pull up to the anchors... except as I looked in it some wasps were staring right back at me... ahhh nature :) (no snakes encountered, however)
By Kyle Katsos
From: Colorado Springs, CO
Feb 22, 2015
rating: 5.9 5c 17 VI 17 HVS 5a

Moderate lead climber can skip the gear placements and go for the anchors. I've done it and seen it done. Potential fall would be a good-sized whipper. Not recommended, just possible.

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