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Solar Slab - Lower Tier
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Solar Slab Gully 

YDS: 5.3 French: 3+ Ewbanks: 10 UIAA: III ZA: 9 British: VD 3a

Type:  Trad, 5 pitches, 540', Grade II
Original:  YDS: 5.3 French: 3+ Ewbanks: 10 UIAA: III ZA: 9 British: VD 3a [details]
FA: Unknown
Page Views: 12,781
Submitted By: Peter Gram on Mar 21, 2004

You & This Route  |  Other Opinions (164)
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TJ looking Smiley, Doug on 'lead'. First pitch of...

RAIN AND WET ROCK The sandstone in Red Rocks is fragile and is very easily damaged when it is wet. MORE INFO >>>


Solar Slab Gully is mainly used as an approach to get to the upper face and climb Solar Slab. The climbing is not particularily appealing, but still fun. The pitches are not very distinct, and many belay spots are possible. Follow the prominent trail that starts at the Oak Creek Canyon parking lot for 45 minutes to an hour or so to get to a huge gully on the right.

P1) Pick a route up the gully. Many possiblities exist. A wide crack is in the middle of the face, or a smaller crack to the right. Step around left eventually to a fixed anchor. (5.1)

P2) Scramble and chimney up the left side of the gully. When the gully opens up, a belay is possible at an oak tree with slings to the right. Another option is to continue until a wide steeper section is encountered. (4th class)

P3) Climb up this water worn area passing a sling-threaded hole. This is a possible belay, but it is best to continue on. Belay when comfortable. (5.1)

P4) Scramble up to a vertical wide chimney that is often wet. Belay. (4th class)

P5) Climb the chimney. A set of anchors is immediately at the top left of the chimney, or continue higher to the main terrace. (5.3)

Descent: Rappel the route. Fixed anchors can be found in many places. 5 rappels are necessary and some easy down climbing. Make sure to make mental notes as to where the anchors are at in case of a rappel in the dark after Solar Slab.


Standard Rack

Photos of Solar Slab Gully Slideshow Add Photo
Rock Climbing Photo: Solar Slab Gulley - The obvious line to the left o...
BETA PHOTO: Solar Slab Gulley - The obvious line to the left o...
Rock Climbing Photo: in the ZONE atop the third pitch
in the ZONE atop the third pitch
Rock Climbing Photo: the chimmney from fourth anchors
the chimmney from fourth anchors
Rock Climbing Photo: panorama from the parking section
panorama from the parking section
Rock Climbing Photo: First pitch isn't 5.3 for anyone short. There's ov...
BETA PHOTO: First pitch isn't 5.3 for anyone short. There's ov...
Rock Climbing Photo: Third Pitch - Solar Slab Gulley  5.3 climbing   Pi...
BETA PHOTO: Third Pitch - Solar Slab Gulley 5.3 climbing Pi...
Rock Climbing Photo: Nearly down and getting more golly each rappel!
Nearly down and getting more golly each rappel!
Rock Climbing Photo: One sip per rap?
One sip per rap?
Rock Climbing Photo: Rap party
Rap party
Rock Climbing Photo: How many pulls of whiskey to get down Solar Slab G...
How many pulls of whiskey to get down Solar Slab G...
Rock Climbing Photo: Mike setting up yet another rappel.
Mike setting up yet another rappel.
Rock Climbing Photo: Solar Slab Gully upper chimney
BETA PHOTO: Solar Slab Gully upper chimney
Rock Climbing Photo: Last pitch chimney section
BETA PHOTO: Last pitch chimney section
Rock Climbing Photo: rappelling down the last pitch
rappelling down the last pitch
Rock Climbing Photo: P1 anchor
P1 anchor
Rock Climbing Photo: view to the east
view to the east
Rock Climbing Photo: Second Pitch - great ramp climbing with even bette...
Second Pitch - great ramp climbing with even bette...
Rock Climbing Photo: neat rocks
neat rocks
Rock Climbing Photo: the gully
the gully
Rock Climbing Photo: looking down the fourth pitch
looking down the fourth pitch
Rock Climbing Photo: Solar Slab Wall
BETA PHOTO: Solar Slab Wall
Rock Climbing Photo: Gary M rapping Solar Slab Gully, coming off the fi...
Gary M rapping Solar Slab Gully, coming off the fi...

Comments on Solar Slab Gully Add Comment
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Comments displayed oldest to newestSkip Ahead to the Most Recent Dated May 2, 2016
By Jake Wyatt
From: Longmont, CO
Feb 18, 2004

If you're using the Gully as a descent route, but didn't climb it to get up to Solar Slab, take care on the rappels. Some of the rap anchors aren't visible until they're pretty much right in front of you. And if you rappel past certain of the anchors, you might find yourself facing a bit of a mini-epic. (Unfortunately, I know from experience.....)
By John Peterson
Mar 8, 2004

I think the lack of stars here just indicates that it's boring for more advanced climbers. I don't believe there are any better routes at this rating in Vegas.

Once nice thing is that it's climbable on hot days - every belay was fairly shady.

I think the Johnny Vegas rap line is a lot better in terms of rope management.

By Anthony Anagnostou
From: nyc
Mar 29, 2005

as of two weeks ago, mid march, about half of the bolts on the gully rap anchors were in need of a little TLC. most of them appear to need just a little wrenching. a couple of them actually wiggled.

if the gully is on your way, bring a wrench and do us all a favor.
By M. Morley
From: Sacramento, CA
Dec 31, 2006

A really fun downclimb!
By Nathan Scherneck
From: Portland, OR
Mar 22, 2010
rating: 5.3 3+ 10 III 9 VD 3a

On the ascent skip the first set of rapp rings (these are an intermediate rapp for single-rope rappellers) and climb up to the tree ledge which has (2) fixed pitons and a set of rappel rings.

Did the descent in (6) single rope (60m) rappels. The second set of rapp rings can be tough to find if you didn't come up the gully (their out on the East face).
By smassey
From: CO
Feb 16, 2011

On 2/15/11, the LVCLC with support from the ASCA replaced the wiggling first pitch anchor bolts. The new bolts are 1 ea. 3/8x2.25, 3/8x3 SS. They were moved about two feet higher due to stance and rock quality concerns, actually improving the rope pull on the way down. Also replaced was one of the pitch .5 anchors (last rappel with a single rope) with a 3.8x2.25 SS. The remaining bolt is a decent 5/16 stud.
By Chris Owen
From: Big Bear Lake
Mar 13, 2011

Nathan I agree, as of March 2011 I counted 6 single rope (60m) rappels to get down this gully. I encountered no jammed rope, but could see potential for that. See here for second set of rap rings.
By dirty son of a cinch
From: las vegas, nv
Dec 9, 2011
rating: 5.3 3+ 10 III 9 VD 3a

my first multi pitch climb!!! this was awesome with little to no exposure, half way up was like being on the ground again.. great day of fun..
By William Nelson
From: Cave Creek, AZ
Feb 20, 2012
rating: 5.4 4a 12 IV 10 VD 3c

I thought this would be a joke, but the guy at the climbing shop said if you stay to the right on first pitch up against the huge right facing corner its a great hand jam. I wore my 5.10 guide tennies, but wish I had my climbing shoes on this pitch. He was right. He said about 5.5, I agree. first pitch is really fun, the rest is super easy and protects well. Chimney technique for last waterfall pitch works. Couple spinner anchors need to be tightened on first pitch. Great route for taking someone on their first multipitch. Very little exposure and great view of canyon at base of solar slab.
By Weston L
From: Summerlin, NV
Feb 21, 2012
rating: Easy 5th 1+ 3 I 5 M 1c

Excellent downclimb!
By andrew willey
From: Las Vegas
May 5, 2012
rating: 5.3 3+ 10 III 9 VD 3a

i counted 7 single rappels, 6 bolted 1 threaded hole.the first or top anchor we downclimbed instead.. watch for your knots in the end of the rope sticking in cracks!! happened to me last year!!
From: Mesa AZ
Nov 21, 2012

Great beginner climb for new leaders - Stick to the right side of the gully to follow the line
- the left side is oddwidth and a bit perilous imho
By John Wilder
From: Las Vegas, NV
Nov 22, 2012

SS Gully starts on the right, but quickly moves left after the first two pitches- be careful not to drift right or ride the right side all the way up, lest you wander into fairly strenuous 5.9/5.10 climbing.
By enkoopa
Mar 17, 2014

The third rap we used a natural feature to thread our rope through (just copied the part ahead of us who seemed to know the area). The rope wanted to get stuck for sure. It would be great to sling that feature with webbing and rings. It might also prevent people from missing it as we likely would have had we not seen the guys ahead of us use it.
By John Wilder
From: Las Vegas, NV
Mar 18, 2014

That feature should have slings on it. It's been part of the established raps in the gully for at least 12 years.
By Gokul
Mar 25, 2014

You can rap the gully in 3 raps with double 60s. The last rap is kinda close (from the rings on the face by the tree), and it would likely take 4 raps with double 50s.
From: Moab, UT
Dec 4, 2015

Climbed this to approach solar slab upper tier and being a wuss decided to rope up instead of solo-ing after checking it out. I personally thought that the first pitch was easy climbing, but exposed enough to be at 5.3-5.5 level (the book calls it 5.0). I guess it is also going to be dependent on which way you go up it. There are pretty much three clear options. I had an easy enough time going far right then traversing left at the top, but I think the book suggests to climb the very wide crack in the middle which could be easier (there is also a crack on the left - choose your adventure!).

The 'crux' 5.3 pitch does have the hardest movement, involving stemming, however, I figured I would note that it is not exposed and rather tucked away enough, so that it is like you are doing a boulder problem (only your basically in a wide chimney and you can protect it). And if you fell without protection it would be no more than 15-20 feet (However, I am bad at estimating distances).

My partner and I didn't realize that there were so many belay stations (the book doesn't make this quite clear, I think there are 7), and we ended up stopping at too many and taking much too long. Take care not to stop at every belay you see, because there are plenty. However, there are spots where your going to have a ton of rope drag if you do not. This should be easy enough to recognize.

In retrospect, we should have just climbed Johnny Vegas and had a better time getting up to Solar Slab. Oh well, next time.
By William Thiry
From: Lakewood, CO
Mar 20, 2016
rating: 5.3 3+ 10 III 9 VD 3a

Solar Slab Gully is a fabulous little adventure and a fine way to gain the upper Solar Slab tier. It's also the best descent from Solar Slab so it's a good idea to climb it and get familiar with the rap stations. Free soloing it, especially after the first long pitch, is reasonable and quick.
By TomC
May 2, 2016

agreed with karen above that first pitch seemed more like 5.3, quite exposed, and chimney section was easy and short.
thanks to many anchors and easy climbing there are tons of options to pass slow parties if needed, just find a different anchor or simul.

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