Swan Slab is a small climbing area in Yosemite Valley. Easily accessible and with numerous moderate routes, this is the perfect place to go for some easy cragging with kids or as a warm-up for the harder stuff. Swan Slab hosts bouldering, top-roping, trad routes, and sport climbs all from 5.1 to 5.11b. This area is very popular due to easy access and can get very crowded on weekends. Swan Slab is where the Yosemite Mountaineering School takes students for their beginning rock climbing classes. This area is very close to the main road and trail, thus gawkers are prevalent. Expect to have an audience on busy summer days.
How Do I Get There?
Swan Slab is located about 350 feet east of Camp 4 (Sunnyside) directly across the road from Yosemite Lodge. There is a well worn trail which leaves Camp 4 to the east and parallels the main road. There is a shuttle stop (#7) at Yosemite Lodge across the road from Swan Slab. You can park in the parking lots in either Yosemite Village or Curry Village and take the shuttle, or park in the Camp 4 or Yosemite Lodge parking lot and walk a short distance.
Most of the easier routes are unnamed; however some of the more noteworthy are: Grant’s Crack 5.9, Oak Tree Flake 5.6, Swan Slab Gully 5.6, Claudes Delight 5.7, Kokl Duck 5.11a, Lena’s Lieback 5.9, Goat For It 5.10a, and Ugly Duckling 5.10c. The books Yosemite Topropes by Rob Floyd, and the Falcon Guide, Yosemite Free Climbs, by Don Reid, are a necessity to fully enjoy the area. Both books are also available at the Mountain Shop in Curry Village. Another good source for route information available for purchase is Yosemite Ultra Classics by www.supertopo.com. There is also some good bouldering in the area. Here is some online topos of bouldering in the area.
Bring a variety of gear because Swan Slab has a little of everything. Standard rack, top-rope set-ups, sport gear, crash pad. A helmet is recommended due to all the people and rock fall potential. Swan slab faces south and can get very hot in the summer, so bring lots of water. Also, bring a picnic lunch, lawn chairs, or a blanket. There is plenty of shade near the slab to enjoy the views, have lunch, or take a break during climbing.
"You tried your best and failed miserably. The lesson: Never try."