Slot Machine gets 2 stars in Handren’s guide and deserves every bit of that praise or more. Reading over the Mountain Project summit log, it reads like a potentially frightening route. It is not. Where one professed to place 10 rps or wires and another said he placed all of his DMM brassies #1-#5, I only found the need for one brassie and one regular sized wire. I placed two solid C4#.3’s and one #.4 along with several off-set cams to supplement the two wires and the single bolt near the top. . The 150’ references from the ground. In reality most do one of the taller routes and just rap back down to the top of pitch one on Dark Shadows and traverse in from there thus the independent line is closer to 80’ or so. It is a stellar trad pitch giving you fingers and/or ring locks when you need to place gear, almost by design. There is some left to right to left movement as you follow the obvious seam. A bolt protects the final few meters to a fixed rap. Slot Machine was established by Bob Conz and Sal Mamusia in 1990.
Park at the Pine Creek trail head and hike the main trail to the right side of Mescalito which is the Dark Shadows Wall. Start as you would for Dark Shadows.
Route DescriptionSlot Machine, 150'+/-, 5.10b**
1st Pitch- 70’- 5th/Climb up the first pitch of Dark Shadows through several bolts on slab. Normally you combine the first two pitches of Dark Shadows, but in this case, stop at the first fixed station.
2nd Pitch- 80’- 5.10b/Start climbing the corner that makes up the 2nd pitch of Dark Shadows. Traverse easy ground (slight ledge) right to the base of an undulating finger crack in great rock. I believe I used a wire and/or RP to protect the first couple of meters off this ledge. Positive edges, holds and finger locks mesh well with where you need to get in gear. Based on what I read, I was surprised to find so many decent cam placements. As the crack peters out a bolt protects the remaining face to a fixed rap.