OverviewSlick Rock, located ~10 miles northeast of McCall, Idaho in the Lick Creek subrange of the Salmon River mountain range, offers one of the longest continuous technical rock routes in the state. The classic Regular Route (II, 5.6) runs from base to summit: 700 feet of high-quality solid granite. In 1993 there was only 1 bolt on the entire Regular route -- in the shallow dish at the end of the 1st pitch.
Tom Lopez' website & book, "Idaho: A Climbing Guide (2nd ed, 2000) offers route info & photos.
Getting ThereMcCall, ID is aproximately 385 miles from Spokane, WA (5 hours). Follow Highway 55 into the town of McCall. Follow the road east to Ponderosa State Park (big green sign). Skirt around Payette Lake and the golf course. Follow Lake Drive until finding a gravel road that turns off to the right. The road runs past Little Payette Lake (Road #48 - Lick Creek Road).
Travel ~8 miles on Yellow Pine Road to a creek crossing. Camp there at primitive Lick Creek Campground (free). A beautiful stream runnning through the campground is a great water source, although purification is advised. Slick Rock is only 1-2 miles further, and is very obvious from the road. Park in the pull-out at the Slick Rock signpost. Cross the North Fork creek on the log jam and meander up the hillside to the base of Slick Rock (~15 minutes). The Regular Route starts almost directly beneath the summit.
USGS Quad: Fitsum Summit
Red TapeNo permits or user fees are required.
When To ClimbLate spring to early fall.
CampingLick Creek campground:
primitive & free; only 1 mile from Slick Rock's turnout. It's on your right after you pass Lake Fork. Lick Creek is a very nice campground & the price is certainly right!
Lake Fork campground:
Nine miles east of McCall on Lick Creek Road (#48). It's also on your right, before you reach Lick Creek campground. There are nine campground/trailer units with tables, fire pits, charcoal grills, toilets, drinking water from two centrally located spigots, day and overnight use, trail access, pack in/pack out. Fee: $8.00 / day.
Showers are available at Ponderosa State Park in McCall, ID.
Route OverviewsREGULAR ROUTE
Difficulty: II, 5.6
Protection: One rack including a wide variety of up to #4 Friends & chocks for the many parallel cracks. Hexes generally do not work well. Take lots of runners.
Description: 10 long pitches. It can be done in in as few as 6 with simul-climbing and running pitches together. In 1993 there was only 1 bolt on the entire route: in the shallow dish at the end of the first pitch. There may be several more bolts by now, but I understand they are all on the first pitch.
A series of jams, liebacks & stems are all found on this route. Size ranges from fingers / hands to chimney.
Follow the prominent triple cracks up middle of the face that lead directly to the summit.
Rock & Ice #50 (July / August 1992) features a topo and short article on page 112.
The climb is reminscent of Royal Arches (Yosemite Valley) & Great White Book (Stately Pleasure Dome, Tuolumne Meadows).
DESCENT: walk off to the right of the summit.
Difficulty: II-III, 5.10b "R"
Protection: Bolted/light rack
First ascentionist Jason Cronk describes: "This is an 8 pitch route (50m pitches), that was bolted by hand, on lead by Bob Gentry, Todd Chavez, and Jason Cronk over a couple of summers. The route is approximately 75 feet left of the Regular Route. As the route was put up from the ground-up, it is run-out somewhat. The bolts were drilled where they were needed though. It's the easier pitches that are run-out. If you climb directly over the bolt line on the 6th and 7th pitches, it goes at mid-5.10 in difficulty. A couple feet right or left and it's 5.9. Rapping the route is the best way down (clean rope pulls). "
Although placement of the bolts was considered good by one climber, the bolts themselves, as well as their condition, may be questionable.
NEW ROUTE (NAME UNKNOWN)
Willow helpfully reports a NEW ROUTE to the right of the Regular Route as of summer 2004:
"There is a new bolted route to the right of the regular route. The last two pitches are right next to the Regular Route. We ended up climbing the last pitch and a half of the bolted route when we climbed the Regular Route, which was good fun slab climbing (5.7). I do not know what the entire bolted route goes at (someone told me ~5.9)."
Sharon asks: does anyone know this new route's name? Who put it up? Any more details? Photos of Slick Rock?
Miscellaneous InfoPonderosa State Park Ranger: (208) 634-2164
McCall Ranger District
Payette National Forest
102 West Lake Street
McCall, ID 83638 Phone: 208-634-0400
The land is owned by the US Forest Service (USFS).
Payette National Forest website
National Weather Service forecast
Another weather report page
McCall boasts a beautiful new ice rink in the center of town. There are many, many other recreational opportunities, including rafting / kayaking the beautifully wild Payette River
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