Slick Rock "Slippery Slope"


My rope gun, Tom, drags me up a challenging route on Slick Rock.

I've been up Slick Rock something like 25 times, starting back in the early 70s when we did it with pitons, goldline, and mountain boots. I've posted several reports on this site that include pictures:

This time there are no pictures. Sorry. But what follows is a brief trip report and links to others, and also a topo of the route.

Tom and I left Boise a little after 5am, driving into thick smoke in the Payette canyon. Long Valley was a little better, but then it got smoky on our way up Lake Fork Creek. We were the only car at the bottom of the climb, and were under way at about 8:15am.

We had a topo and route description, but it seemed a little vague. We roped up and put on our shoes, and took off just before 9. After climbing a short distance, Tom found a hanger, indicating we were probably on the route.

All the way up the climb, we found the hangers hard to see. Tom skipped quite a few because he didn't see them. We kept the topo handy and relied on a statement by the first ascensionists where they said they tried to put the route up the smoothest line.... so look on the face away from cracks. We also tried to see worn areas, but this route isn't getting climbed that much... in fact, the route is somewhat dirty and we both noticed constant issues with sand and grit on the bottoms of our shoes.

Note that one report complained about crummy rivet-type bolts. Apparently, they have been replaced on the leads and supplemented at the belays. We saw big, hearty bolts that looked solid, with at least 3 and big chains at each belay.

Our climbing time, listed above, includes two old guys trying to remember how to do this stuff. It took me a pitch or to to get my rope handling organized. At the top of pitch 5, I made the mistake of not finding a comfortable position at the belay. Climbing pitch 6 with tired legs and aching feet was a bummer.

My beta:

  • Pitch 1 was fun and challenging, with continuous moves on thin terrain, sometimes above the bolts. But most of the hardest stuff was near bolts.
  • Pitches 2 and 3 were very run out, but so easy as to be a bit boring. Without bolts to guide us, we had a little problem figuring out where to go, but eventually found all the chains. Following, I only slowed down because Tom couldn't pull in the rope fast enough.
  • Somewhere around pitch 4, things got interesting. After clipping a bolt in the middle of a steep roll, Tom circumvented the roll by following a seam about 10' to the right. When I got there, his route looked harder than just doing the roll. But I couldn't get up the roll. So Tom just kept the rope tight and I wrassled my way up without grace or dignity.
  • By pitch 6, it was getting pretty warm, and my out-of-condition feet and hands were talking to me. But it wasn't too hard.
  • By pitch 7, I was getting tired. I quit looking for the hard stuff and started using the easier features. On most of this route, you can climb considerably below grade by moving a few feet to one side or the other... but not always, so don't think you can slither up this as a 5.5 climb. Nonetheless, I did manage to take pitch 7 down a few grades.
  • Pitch 8 is mostly a scramble.

Slippery Slope

Photo: Dan Robbins from

Other info: (includes topo)

Mr. Natural Home | 2007 | Back to top of page | Questions :: e-mail to splattski