Oak Creek Canyon approaches are longer than some other Red Rock climbing approaches, but by general standards the approach is easy and straight forward. Allow 30-60 minutes to get to the base of the Solar Slab Gully.
There are two ways to approach the climbs in the Oak Creek Canyon / Solar Slab area:
FROM THE OAK CREEK CANYON PARKING AREA (LOOP ROAD)
Start at the Oak Creek Canyon parking area located at the end of a spur road leading off the scenic loop road. The approach is very straightforward. Just follow the North Oak Creek Canyon Trail for about a mile from the parking area to the base of Solar Slab. Solar Slab is obvious from the parking area, so you can't get lost. When you get within a few hundred yards of the base, cut uphill on any of the many braided trails.
FROM THE OLD OAK CREEK CAMPGROUND (NV 159)
This is a good choice for those climbers who want to get an early start (the scenic loop road doesn't open until 6am). This approach is a little longer, but it is very straightforward. Begin at Oak Creek Campground which is 1.4 miles south on Nevada 159 from the exit of the loop road. Or, you can start at any of the nearby pullouts. Hike on Oak Creek Road (dirt, no cars) or on one of the many nearby trails to the base of Solar Slab. Solar Slab is clearly seen from the road, so you can't get lost. Hike for about 1.5 miles, and cut uphill on one of the many braided trails when you get within a few hundred yards of the base.
These approaches skirt around Wilson's Pimple- A large dirt mound at the mouth of the Oak Creek Canyon.
The Solar Slab is a classic easy climb located near the mouth of Oak Creek Canyon on the north side. Facing south, the route gets sun most of the day. The climb makes a good winter or off season climb, and by late Spring or Summer can be downright scorching hot. The route starts about 500' off the ground! You must use Solar Slab Gully, Johnny Vegas, or Beulah's Book to reach the terrace that marks the start of Solar Slab.
After reaching the terrace, start below a face that has a beautiful hand crack starting mid-way up it. This is about 100' up and to the left of Solar Slab Gully. This climb is often described in 9 pitches, but it's very easy to do it in 6 with a 60m rope.
SEVERAL POSSIBLE DESCENT ROUTES
1) You can rappel with two ropes. The first rap anchors are near the top of pitch 5. They do NOT follow the route. If you want go to the top of the climb or the top of Rainbow Mountain, this is not the best descent option.
2) Hike up about 800' from the top of the climb until you get to red rock. Head right to the second gully. Follow this gully all the way down to the base of the climb. This involves some non-trivial route finding, rough bushwhacking, and lots of scrambling. If you can't down climb 5.6, you'll have to do several rappels.
- A complete rack- set of nuts and Friends
- Runners and some double length
- Double Ropes are recommended for quicker rappels
- Plenty of Water
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