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North America, United States, Idaho, Salmon River Range, Slick Rock, Scenic Traction

Slick Rock, Scenic Traction. Slick Rock is a few miles northeast of McCall, about 100 miles north of Boise. This is a beautiful granite face, similar to the northwest face of Chief’s Head (RMNP, CO) in style and smoothness, with the same limited gear. It’s a tad bigger and much friendlier, however, being south-facing and less steep.

This climb (1,100', 5.9+) ascends the face 150' left of Slippery Slope in seven pitches. Fran Bagenal and I climbed it onsight on July 15, with bolts placed on the lead. The rock and the climbing are superb. Routefmding is tricky in places, and several pitches are run-out. We tried another new route on the cliff a few days later, taking the face right of the original classic Triple Cracks, but after a few run-out moderate pitches discovered that someone had rap-bolted the entire face immediately left of us, to make a long and convenient clip-up.

Scenic Traction begins, about 80' left of Slippery Slope’s start, with a scramble up a left-facing ramp/groove to a ledge. There is a large, rotten, bulging right-facing dihedral up left from this ledge. On the face above are two major vertical crack systems, 100' apart. The route stays between them, then takes the clean face above, heading to a large dead tree at the top.

1. Climb up cracks, then trend up right to a ledge system and an old two-bolt anchor beneath a long vertical crack (5.6,180'). 2. Clip an old pin in the crack above, then angle up left into the middle of the steeper face. Climb straight past two bolts, then run it out to a ledge (5.9+R, 120'). 3. Continue up on easier terrain, then step right to another pair of older bolts (5.7, 80'). 4. Angle up left into the middle of the face, then straight up, with occasional gear. Belay after 180', under a Cadillac-size, two-foot thick, V-shaped flake. The belay is somewhat below, and 80 feet left of, a prominent left-facing dihedral with a lone tree. You will be directly under a large dead tree at the top of the cliff (5.8R, 180'). 5. Layback up and left around the V-shaped flake, then gain a small ledge and left-facing dihedral/flake. Up this, then run it out up a nice rippled face to a small ledge and two-bolt anchor (5.8R, 180'). 6. Continue up on never-ending dike ripples, passing occasional flakes for gear, and belay at a fat right-facing flake, just before the angle eases but just as the rope runs out (5.8R, 205'). 7. Continue to the top (190', 5.7). Gear: One each of cams from tiny to 3.5", with doubles of 0.75"-2.5". A few wires.

Double ropes recommended.

More information: www.rockclimbing.com/routes/listArea.php?AreaID=970

Steve Bartlett