Horse Creek Slabs, 5.7-5.10c

Horse Creek Slabs, 5.7-5.10c

Page Type: Mountain/Rock
Lat/Lon: 43.65400°N / 109.62°W
Activities: Sport Climbing
Season: Spring, Summer, Fall
Elevation: 7624 ft / 2324 m

Overview

Running north out of Dubois into gorgeous mountainous country, Horse Creek Road is mainly a conduit for backpackers, horsepackers, and hunters to access the backcountry. About halfway between town and road's end, the dirt road, which can be impassable in wet conditions, goes right by a prominent limestone outcropping. Unbeknownst to many climbers, this crag hosts several single- and two-pitch sport routes on sharp, sticky rock.

Here is how sharp and sticky the limestone is: on my second time climbing here, temps were right at freezing, a light rain/snow mix was falling, and everything was wet. Despite that, I had no trouble at all leading a 5.7.

Come out here with at least eight draws in addition to what you may need for anchors on sport routes. If you are doing some of the two-pitch routes, you will need some trad gear to help build belay anchors, as there are no bolted anchors mid-route (a single bolt serves as an anchor for several routes, but you obviously want to back it up). Unless you plan to walk off, which is certainly possible, you will need two ropes to rap unless you have an 80. I know from experience that a 70 will leave you about 10-15' short; the downclimbing was easy, but just be aware.

Horse Creek Slabs
Horse Creek Slabs

Getting There

From "downtown" Dubois, take the signed Horse Creek Road north out of town. After 10.5 miles, you will cross a bridge over Horse Creek. From there, the crags are prominent. Park near the bridge, in the Horse Creek Campground if you are staying there, or in some limited pullouts closer to the crags.

Horse Creek Slabs
Horse Creek Slabs

Horse Creek Slabs
Horse Creek Slabs


Routes

Horse Creek Slabs
Horse Creek Slabs


There is not much information out there. Of the three distinct routes I have climbed here, I only know the name of one-- Runnin' on Empty, 5.7. The Mountain Project page lists three others, and none of those are on the "main" crag. There supposedly is a book called Dubois Rock by Trevor Bowman, but I have had no luck finding it online or in local stores. So, come out here with a little sense of adventure. Each route I have climbed shares the same first 5.easy pitch, and then there are four or five boltlines right and left. I would put the three I have climbed in the 5.6-5.8 range; another, the one farthest to the right, looked potentially 5.10, but I have not gotten on it yet.

Horse Creek Slabs
Horse Creek Slabs, 5.easy P1



Red Tape

None.

When to Climb

Spring through fall. The crags might be accessible by vehicle in winter, but winters here are harsh. But since the crags mostly face west, you might find good conditions on a sunny winter afternoon when temperatures are mild (for the area).

Camping

Horse Creek Campground is close by. Now that you have passed into the Shoshone National Forest, dispersed camping is easy to find.