Frieda’s Flake is a hidden gem I discovered at the Lower Solar Slab
wall in Oak Creek Canyon at Red Rocks
in late December of 2008. Handren does not give Frieda’s Flake any recommendation in his guide book, Red Rocks, A Climbers Guide, probably because he failed to track down the first accentors. In any regard, Frieda’s Flake ranks up there with Beulah’s Book
in my opinion. If you like Beulah’s Book, you no doubt will want to give Frieda a go. The first pitch offers a fantastic heavily varnished chimney that mostly requires stemming moves to overcome several small roof obstacles.
The entire route protects very well on good rock. Both of the main pitches are long and sustained at their respective grade. Frieda’s Flake eventually ties into Johnny Vegas
at the top of its third pitch making for a total of three pitches. Setting up the route this way makes for a 200’ rope stretcher on the second pitch.
Access is via the Oak Creek Canyon Trail head which is the last parking turn off on the right from the Red Rocks loop road. You will actually drive down a gravel road for quite a distance to reach the trailhead. There is a restroom at this location. Follow the trail into the canyon and turn right to stay out of the canyon floor and follow the trail until beyond the Friar
. There is a well trodden switch back trail that leads to the base of the wall where Solar Gully and Johnny Vegas start. Frieda’s Flake is a 250’ tall white flake that forms a chimney on its right side. It is between Johnny Vegas and Solar Gully.
Scramble 50’ up and right of the flake, then traverse left along a bushy ledge to the start of the chimney where a pool of water normally forms during the winter.
Route Description400’+/-, 3 Pitches, 5.9
1st Pitch- 150’- 5.9/
This is one of the better chimney pitches at Red Rocks. A beautifully varnished corner is formed inside the chimney requiring mostly stemming moves. The cruxes are several moves at the grade to overcome small roof problems.
The pro is plentiful and the rock solid. Eventually you get to a true parallel chimney slot. Exit the chimney at this point by climbing up and left onto the face of the flake. Continue up a few feet to a nice belay ledge and build an easy station into a solid crack. A bit cold on the fingers in December.
2nd Pitch- 200’- 5.7/
Head up the corner above until it makes more sense to climb the facial features out right on nicely varnished holds. Pass a small roof of sorts to the right and continue up until you merge into the third pitch of Johnny Vegas to the right of a large roof. Either climb left on horns or follow an easy to protect crack that angles out right. Eventually leave the crack and climb your way back over huge jugs to the left, traversing to the fixed belay right over the large roof.
3rd Pitch- 50’- 5th class/
Scramble 50’ up to the next fixed anchor.
Continue up to attempt one of the Upper Solar Slab
routes, or rappel either Johnny Vegas or Solar Gully. Johnny Vegas is a much quicker rappel (double ropes), but if somebody is climbing the route, it would be more honorable to descend Solar Gully. Solar Gully consists of a quick down climb or small rap, followed by another small rap, then a double rap, another single rap, and one last double rappel. If you only have a single rope, you can still rappel Solar Gully, just count on hitting every rappel station.
Double 60m ropes make for better descent and route link options. You will like your larger gear for that first pitch, double from 1" to 4" is nice. Single on everything else. I did not place any wires on any of these pitches. Dozen shoulder length slings should be adequate. Don't use draws under those roofs of the first pitch. 2nd pitch is a full 200', I would not use draws there either. Will descend back to your shoes and pack, no need to take much with you unless you are linking another route above.
External LinksRed Rock Canyon National Conservation Area, BLM
Red Rock Canyon Interpretive Association