Spookiest slab route I've ever had the chance to lead was 'Esto Power' on Courtright's Power Dome. Damn those Laeger! Must've cursed their names a few times. Paper thin friction moves on the first pitch right after the 2nd bolt. Slighty windy the day I did it, so each move became increasingly longer as I waited for the right time for the wind to calm down. I could not erase the looming possibilities. I know Kris, Jan and Guyzo have all done it.
Ha! Spider knows LeRoy and will appreciate this. LeRoy is about 6'4" or so. I was leading a slab route he'd put up, from the ground up, very old school. It was quite a ways to that first bolt, but it had a pretty nice ledge right below. Sweet. A great stance for drilling. I reached up to clip and...came up short! LeRoy had drilled as high up as he could. Smart...for him! I kept leaping up from this ledge, like an idiot, trying to clip and muttering, "G-dd--n you, LeRoy!" I had to make a too thin move off that beautiful ledge to clip.
Many of my best memories of climbing are routes where I was mentally pushed right to the edge. Long runouts teach you something about yourself that you will never learn anywhere else and I think prepare you well for life.
Yea, it is a great learning experience right up until you take a 50 foot tumble and break your hip.
I have fond memories of many great slab routes back in my old Tuolumne,and even Mount Lemmon AZ days (mid-80s). But emphasis on "back in the old days;" that stuff would scare the crap out of me now. It's now hard to imagine routinely taking long run outs those loose, shitty 1/4" buttonhead bolts.
It just seemed so normal then.
The last time I climbed actual slab was some 5.8 or 5.9 sport climbs two years' ago in City of Rock/Castle Rock. These generously graded climbs had closely placed bomber bolts - all very reassuring and civilized. But it felt a little like cheating...
Snow Creek Wall BITD - did all the poosy routes with cracks and bolts. Time to head over to
the right for White Slabs Direct. Only 5.9, how bad could it be? We fingered it was sandbagged
but it turned out to be so literally. 5.9+ runout as hell on ancient 1/4” with a liberal dusting of
fine sand. Did I mention we were in Robbins boots? Muy memorable!
Chemotherapy, Carsonogenic, and Skid Row are good too. I wanted to do Pipe Dreams (Yaniro slab) and Chemotherapy, but after one look I replaced the bolts first.
I can't recall if it's the second or the third bolt on Skid Row, but it's hard to imagine drilling that one on lead. But reliable witnesses have described it to me. At least he had the courtesy to drill one there. It's only 5.11c, so Ron could have just kept on going and left us a death defying stunt instead of a good, albeit heady, route.