Dow Leading Slot Club, 5.10a
When chasing down obscure off-widths in Red Rock, there is no better partner to have than Danny Urioste. While many climbers practice the same moves on the same routes over and over, Danny and I share enthusiasm for the unknown. Slot Club Wall is not remote in terms of approach or hard to find as much as it is rarely visited as there is not much climbing to be had on this crumbly lower flank of Mount Wilson. Slot Club Wall sits across the much more popular Lotta Balls Wall (Indecision Peak side of First Creek Canyon). A 300’+/- gain up the north side of First Creek lands you at the bush choked base for Slot Club Wall.
There are three lonely routes, all crack climbs, that are best found by spotting the most varnished features from the canyon floor. Slot Club itself if the reason for the visit. It is a fun and tall left facing off-width corner climb. Pinball is the hand crack climb in the middle of the two off-widths. The Closet is another left facing off-width crack on the left side. The Closet and Pinball share the same fixed rap. Slot Club has its own rap off of passive gear that does not rap the route but rather raps straight down with a 70m rope (just). Handren’s gear call for Slot Club is double to 7”, but I did not place any C4#6s. However, I did find use for two #5’s. It is a full on relatively tall pitch worth the hike up. The other two routes are only worth doing to fill in the day. Full south facing wall.
Park at the First Creek trail head. Follow the creek in as you would for any climbs in First Creek and cross the creek to the north at a small waterfall/pool. There will not be much of a trail from there, just meander up the hill on the north side to the base of Slot Club. Slot Club is the most identifiable of the three routes. I have a marked photo included.
Routes Listed Right to Left as you face the Wall (west to east)
- The Closet- 100’-5.9/ Mellow off-width with facial features to assist. This route is a bit chossy and wide to protect. Tons of chicken heads but few to be trusted. Leads straight up to the shared fixed rap with Pin Ball. Handren’s guide calls the Closet 180’ and discusses a scramble descent via a gully to the west. However a fixed station sits at 100’ and can be used for both the Closet and Pinball. Dow
- Pinball Crack- 100’-5.9+/ Hand jams the whole way to just under a bulge. Traverse right and up on top of several precarious blocks. Continue up and left to the fixed rap. Dow
- Slot Club- 130’-5.10a*/ Handren’s guide and Mountain Project call for single C4#.5-#6s and double C4#4’s to #6s. In reality you do not need the 6’s at all. I placed a #.75, #3, 2-#4’s and 2-#5s and slung one chock stone. The only place I would place a #6 would be during the relatively tame start. Handren’s guide also lists Slot Club at 100’ to fixed anchors. It is much longer than 100’ and there are no fixed anchors, rather a passive gear anchor way up and right. Climb the uneventful start and work your way into the deep flake. The crux is not even half way up at a left hand reach why your right leg and hip are engaged in the wideness. You can lay-back to get it, but on lead, I was able to off-width/stem through the squeeze. Pull the small diving above board via a fun mantel to a ledge (fairly juggy). A #.75 protects the start of a run-out short chimney section. At the top, the current (2016) passive gear rap is up and right on a slanting ledge. This is not an advisable top rope. Rather bring the 2nd up and rap a full 70m straight down to a narrow ledge the walk back left. Dow
The following route is way out left, past Dirtbaggers Compensation, not part of Slot Club, but on its own as a single pitch way out left
- Play on Credit- 150'-5.10b*/ Descent lead, but of course not worth the bushwhack. However, there are a few potential FA’s nearby that could make this a decent area to visit in the future. We did not utilize near the gear suggested by the FA. A single to #2, doubles to #.75 and a set of wires. 45m pitch to a fixed wire-nut rap nest. Steep, but quite positive on good varnish. FAer discusses triple 00’s but we only placed a single #.1 and a wire or two and thought that adequately protected the thin sections. Can be rapped with a single 80m via some easy 5th class downclimbing. Dow