Johnny Vegas

Page Type Page Type: Route
Location Lat/Lon: 36.10810°N / 115.4894°W
Additional Information Route Type: Technical Rock Climb
Additional Information Time Required: Half a day
Additional Information Difficulty: 5.7
Sign the Climber's Log


There are two ways to approach the climbs in the Oak Creek Canyon / Solar Slab area:

Start at the Oak Creek Canyon parking area located at the end of a spur road leading off the scenic loop road (mile XX.X). The approach is very straightforward. Just follow the obvious 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.

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.

Route Description

Johnny Vegas is probably the most popular climb in the Solar Slab area. Some people use it as to approach Solar Slab proper, but many more climb it by itself. It's sustained enough to keep it interesting, but at only 5.7, most climbers won't have any trouble on it. There are a good variety of cracks, plates, and chicken heads -- all extremely positive. The route is in the sun most of the day, so plan accordingly.

Start on top of a white pillar about 30' left of the base of an obvious gully (Solar Slab Gully). The gully is about 100' to the right of a right-facing corner system. Scramble up to a point just below the top of the pillar and rope up.

Pitch 1 (5.7) Head up the crack system 10' to the left of a dihedral. When the crack runs out, head up and left over beautiful varnished plates. Belay at a nice anchor at the bottom of an obvious right-facing corner/dihedral. (120')

Pitch 2 (5.7) Climb the dihedral to it's top, then step slightly left onto a boulder. Step right, and head up on a nice jugs to a varnished crack. Climb the crack, utilizing the numerous face holds. The going gets a little thin (crux), but then eases up as you get near the second belay, which is at a nice anchor on a sloping ledge. (130')

Pitch 3 (5.7) Angle up and right from the belay (Variation 1) until you reach huge chickenheads near the arete. Now go up and left to the point above the big roof you just climbed around (Variation 2). Continue up past an ancor to another anchor a bit below the huge terrace that marks the start of Solar Slab. Some people split this last pitch into two, but it's very easy to do it in one.

Variation 1 (5.9) At the start of the third pitch, you can head straight up the crack and then angle right on a slab past a bolt to the arete. This was the route of the first ascent.

Variation 1 (5.7) Mid-way through the third pitch, you can head right an up a well-featured crack instead of angling left to the point above the big roof.

If you're not going to continue up Solar Slab, you can rappel the route with two ropes. Or, you can rappel Solar Slap Gully with one rope.

Essential Gear

A standard rack. Small to medium-sized cams and small to medium wires should suffice.