Saturday, July 05, 2008

Pass Creek Slabs

The pass creek slabs have been in use since the late 40s or 50s. At that time the boy scouts used them for rappel practice. I have also heard that climbers in the 70's and 80's used to top rope the area. At this time all the routes were led, however, not all the routes have what today would be considered adequate protection for safe lead climbs. As a result Pass creek is best considered a top rope area with one or two decent lead climbs for experienced climbers. They are a good area to go to when the park is Windy. For instance, today we were almost blown off tick ridge, while we enjoyed a calm sunny day at the slabs.

1. Right scramble 5.3
2. Layback block 5.4
3. Lost Yaks 5.5
4. Left crack 5.6

One of the challenges with the Pass Creek slabs is the thin protection for leading, low technical difficulty, and difficult to set top anchors. We found 3 pairs of anchors on top of the left most (and best) climbs. They are comprised on 2 bolts and hangers. This should make this area a decent spot for new climbers. The routes are generally easy (5.4-5.6) and the location is gorgeous. We watched a large cinnamon black bear and two cubs across the river for about a half hour.

The large ledge at the base of the routes

Chris on top of Lost Yaks 5.5

Anne over in the area of the Left Crack 5.6

Since boulders can do sit starts - why can't climbers do the equivalent. Chris climbing out of the water after checking out some more nearby areas with no route potential.

If you are going to lead any of these routes, I would recommend some micro nuts and a small knife blade or two. Left crack and Layback Block have the best gear. Watch out for the fiesty ants on Right Scramble.

To get to the slabs, drive up the Red Rock highway in Waterton, and park at the first pullout on top of the hill. Walk up the horse trail that goes by the road, and follow the power polls down to the river.



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