Trip Report
The Rebolting and Rediscovery of Slick Rock Dome, Tahoe
Friday June 24, 2016 2:51pm
A large granite dome near Tahoe?  No way!
A large granite dome near Tahoe? No way!
Credit: Ney Grant
In the land of dikes and cracks at Loverís Leap and the spires at Sugarloaf and Phantom Spires, this fantastic granite dome has been overlooked for decades. Basically hidden in the bushes. Originally developed in the early 1980s by Bob Branscomb, Don Garret and Ron Vardanega, it has sported rusty ľĒ bolts and a heinous bushwack approach ever since, which has dissuaded many (including us) from going there. Actually we tried to go there years ago with our kids but after bushwacking and scratching ourselves up we turned around once we got to the climbs.

I flew over it on my way back from a business trip and took some photos, and once again thought about how good it looked from the air. Betsy and I decided to approach the dome from the top so that we didn't have to depend on any of the old bolts. We found the approach from the side and up the dome wasn't as much of a bushwack as heading straight to the face. We then pulled some of the old bolts we found, drilled and installed new rappel anchors to get down to the climbs and check them out. When we finally got down to see the climbs we were stunned. Empty walls of beautiful, clean steep granite with rusty bolts here and there. It was like going to an amusement park and the rides are running but no one is around - strangely empty.

We were so impressed we decided to take on the project of rebolting the old climbing routes on the dome, and perhaps putting up some of our own routes as well. After months of work and around 200 bolts, the fairly low angle dome now has around 25 old and new climbs, mostly face climbs, all moderate from 5.6 to 5.10c.

For directions and route information see this SuperTopo thread:
Slick Rock Dome: Route Information

Credit: Ney Grant

The Rebolting Project

The first trip was an eye-opener, as it must be for anyone that tries to remove old 1/4" bolts without any knowledge of how to actually do it. After years of looking at these old rusty things on various climbs and thinking they probably just pop out - we found out many don't (though some will...). And crowbars don't work.

We were prepared after the first trip. I contacted ASCA and they provided us with 1/2" five-piece stainless steel replacement bolts, anchors and rap anchors (and a "tuning fork" forked piton for removing 1/4" bolts). I also bought chisels and smaller pitons and created some custom tools for the bolt removal. In all, they worked quite well. We also purchased 3/8" Fixe wedge bolts, hangars, anchors, etc. for any new climbs we would do.
Stuff
Stuff
Credit: Ney Grant
Betsy ready to head down to rebolt
Betsy ready to head down to rebolt
Credit: Ney Grant
During the entire rebolting project - quite a few trips- we climbed the dome using a non-bushwack approach we eventually figured out that went up the side of the dome to the top where we kept a stash of bolting and bolt removal gear under a huge flake. We would then rap down to rebolt. It is a bit of a hike but we tried once to hike directly to the base of the dome and it was a massive bushwhack. We did clear a lot of brush under the climbs so you can now move along the base from climb to climb, which was almost impossible before.
Ouch
Ouch
Credit: Ney Grant
Later in the project Ron Vardanega, one of the first ascensionists on many of the old climbs, and his friend Charlie Downs came out to rebolt one of Ron's old routes (Previously unnamed, now named Crystal Blue Persuasion). On the way up the dome Ron said, "so um, why are we hiking up to the top of the dome?" Then a little later Charlie said, "so um, why are we hiking up to the top of the dome?"

Within a week Ron branched off our trail, found a bear trail (we found 9 bear scat piles on one trip in), found a granite creekbed that heads up through the bushes, then he cleared a path through the bushes the rest of the way to meet the trail we had already cleared under the climbs. So now it's a 1 mile, 25 minute approach directly to bottom of the climbs. Nice. Thank you Ron.

Ron later came up with Don Garrett, who he had done the original FA with on Crystal Blue Persuasion and together they got back on the route.
Hammering and more hammering to remove the old bolts by wedging it out...
Hammering and more hammering to remove the old bolts by wedging it out. Sometimes for 10 seconds, sometimes for 15 minutes.
Credit: Ney Grant
More hammering on Friction Affliction
More hammering on Friction Affliction
Credit: Ney Grant
After a few days of work and many more to go.  Now if we can remember ...
After a few days of work and many more to go. Now if we can remember where all the holes are...
Credit: Ney Grant
Credit: Ney Grant
Most of the old bolts were classic 1/4" split shaft buttontop bolts with Leeper hangars. Some of these 1/4" bolts were hard to remove - I was surprised. However some broke off immediately and some popped out right away intact with little force. Many of the bad ones were near the ground (where you don't want them of course) and my theory is that those close to the ground get buried under snow that slides off the dome and are subject to more moisture and more freeze-thaw cycles. Anyway it is nice to know, for example, that the first (critical) bolt of should-be-may-be-a-classic 5.9 Crystal Wall Route would absolutely have not held a fall (the bolt just popped out), and now its a new 1/2" ASCA Fixe stainless steel bolt. Sweet!

The 1/4" bolts were taken out and the old hole reused (if they didn't break off). However climbers had added bolts here and there to two of the routes without removing the old bolts, so in places it was a bit of a mess. In fact the climb Friction Affliction was double bolted the whole way with four bolts at some of the belays. Unfortunately the "new" bolts were rusty 3/8" plated steel sleeve bolts likely from the 90's. I sent a photo to Greg Barnes of the ASCA and he recommended that we replace these as well - which we did. Rather, we pulled the 1/4" and placed a new stainless steel bolt there, then unscrewed the 3/8" inch and epoxied over the hole.
Credit: Ney Grant
Newly rebolted route (with drilling dust showing where the bolts a...
Newly rebolted route (with drilling dust showing where the bolts are). Crystal Chute aka Poop Chute, a fine and varied 5.8 climb.
Credit: Ney Grant
Crystal Chute was the first climb we actually climbed after rebolting and we were thrilled that it met our expectations. It is a great route that starts up past a dike, into a flake system that runs out and dumps you back on the face and then up over a small roof. As with most climbs, it gets runout on the second pitch, but the slope of the dome eases so it is an easy romp at that point.
Recharging the drill - and us.
Recharging the drill - and us.
Credit: Ney Grant
Obligatory photo of old and new bolts
Obligatory photo of old and new bolts
Credit: Ney Grant
Nerdy Bolt Info

The top photo is of a 1/2" "5 piece" stainless steel sleeve bolt. Obviously really bomber but you need two hands to place them, one to hold the bolt and one to hammer - so they are difficult to use on lead. Interestingly, the shaft in the 1/2" bolt is 3/8", so in shear (a pure downward fall) it is a similar strength as the 3/8" bolt. However much of the sleeve is in contact with the rock so it is stronger in an outward pull, and apparently will last longer (but hopefully we are talking about 200 years vs. 100 years) in areas with climbers falling often and yarding on the bolts - probably not the case on the dome. We used ASCA-provided 1/2" bolts on much of the rebolting effort until we ran out and then we used 3/8".

The middle photo is classic 1970s, early 80s Leeper hanger. 95,000 made! They have been recalled long ago with a personal letter by Ed Leeper to please get these old hangers off the rock. The stud is a split shaft bolt which basically has a lump in the shaft and you hammer it into the rock.

The bottom photo is a 3/8" stainless steel wedge bolt. The hanger in the top and bottom photo is the same, a 3/8" Fixe stainless steel hangar (never mix metals as it sets up micro-currents of electricity which leads to corrosion). A wedge bolt is much easier to use on lead because the end of the bolt is less than 3/8" so you can stick it in the hole with one hand, then tap it in with one hand, all with one hand still on the rock. Obviously, removing both hands from the rock often isn't an option. Beyond the rebolting effort on the core group of old climbs (we kept finding more old climbs and rebolted those with 3/8") we used 3/8" wedge bolts on all the new climbs. Finally, we bought more 1/2" bolts to use as anchor bolts for the sport climbs.

Wedge bolts are also quite a bit less expensive. We used a torque wrench with both types of bolts. When leading the leader would use a smaller wrench and then the follower would use the heavier torque wrench to finish it up.
What to do with the old bolts? Body Art!! However we then discovered t...
What to do with the old bolts? Body Art!! However we then discovered the rotary hammer hurts like hell.
Credit: Ney Grant
Hail while coming off the dome. It hurt.
Hail while coming off the dome. It hurt.
Credit: Ney Grant
Solitude
In all our trips to the dome we never saw any climbers although we know the dome is visited on occasion. We encountered two rangers searching for a smoldering lightning-struck tree and we also met two deer hunters who at first seemed nice but whom I grew to greatly dislike as we followed their trail of empty water bottles, tissues, plastic bags and dead squirrels back to their truck.
Not a standard rack
Not a standard rack
Credit: Ney Grant
Rebolting More Affliction. You can get an idea of the bushwack it was ...
Rebolting More Affliction. You can get an idea of the bushwack it was at the bottom.
Credit: Ney Grant
As we rebolted more climbs we came to appreciate what a great area this is for moderate climbing. We also came to appreciate how lucky we were to have this area completely to ourselves for a while. Of course, this lead to conversations like, "well, would 10 years of secrecy be unreasonable?". We did take a few friends up to experience the solitude but of course kept them blindfolded on the drive in and approach. One of them still thinks the dome is behind the Sutter Buttes.

Then again there are a lot of reasons that this will not become crowded:
1. It is long, dusty drive.
2. It is a hike. Uphill at times.
3. Although it hasn't happened to either of us yet, you could get eaten by a bear. I think it is just a matter of time.
4. Everyone seems to climb 5.11 and 5.12 now and there isn't a lot of that here (actually, none yet).
5. It is mainly slab climbing, which isn't for everyone.
5.10a More Affliction sporting new 1/2" bolts (another sweet climb)
5.10a More Affliction sporting new 1/2" bolts (another sweet climb)
Credit: Ney Grant
Bob's old guidebook stopped at the Crystal Wall area, but we knew there was more from the first day when we found other old anchors using 1/4" bolts at the top of the dome. We eventually found a couple of climbs below these and replaced those bolts as well (anyone know who did these? - what we now call Urethra and Iliac?). Next to those climbs we found an area that was unclimbed so we spent some days there putting up entirely new routes. I scared myself putting up Naptime, a 5.9 with few good stances and while packing our big oversized Makita rotary hammer. You don't want to fall with that thing. At one point the drill ran out of power and stopped, I panicked and stuck a wedge bolt in the shallow hole and girth-hitched a sling around it. I then realized it was permanently stuck that way and I should have put it in temporarily backwards. It was hell getting rid of that bolt, which finally succumbed to a sawzall, tapped back in and epoxied over. (I didn't read until later that you can connect a drill and basically spin a wedge bolt to death).

Wire-brushing a newly drilled hole on Naptime
Wire-brushing a newly drilled hole on Naptime
Credit: Ney Grant
Crystal Crescent, a sustained 5.10a/b sport route, is a terrific climb on wonderfully clean granite. Betsy found it, planned it, we climbed it several times on top rope and then she bolted the route. It was nice being the only ones around as we set up a shade shelter for our dogs and just made a day of it. Later we did the same with the 5.10c sport route Yap, with our daughter Belyn working out the moves for the first time on top rope. We identified Flight of the Centurion early on and it looked impossible, but after cleaning out the moss and dirt a thin finger crack appeared and the eventual lead ended up easier than it first appeared. It turned out many climbs ended up at the same anchor under what we call The Arch and we ended up putting some nice Fixe sport anchors there.
Shade for Bodie and Ande as we put up Crystal Crescent
Shade for Bodie and Ande as we put up Crystal Crescent
Credit: Ney Grant

Although the old Crystal Wall Route has probably the best granite, we were really pleased to be able to put up Ice House Roof, a really fun and varied climb that goes over the largest feature on the dome - a large roof.
After decades of little to no use, Brent Malicote climbs Crystal Wall ...
After decades of little to no use, Brent Malicote climbs Crystal Wall Route.
Credit: Ney Grant
Belyn Grant on second ascent of Ice House Roof (first pitch, that ...
Belyn Grant on second ascent of Ice House Roof (first pitch, that isn't the roof)
Credit: Ney Grant
Betsy drilling second anchor bolt.  That's the roof.
Betsy drilling second anchor bolt. That's the roof.
Credit: Ney Grant
We are now done with the rebolting project (except for an old 1/4" bolt that we somehow missed on Urethra). We will never forget the days of putting up new routes and exploring the dome alone, but its time for others to enjoy the dome and perhaps put up a few hard routes.

Now if we can only find another big dome that somehow got lost in the bushes for decades...

This is the finger tip start of the ultra-classic, 5.13+ test piece Cr...
This is the finger tip start of the ultra-classic, 5.13+ test piece Crystal Canine.
Credit: Ney Grant
Bodie and Ande on the FA of Crystal Canine.
Bodie and Ande on the FA of Crystal Canine.
Credit: Ney Grant
Belyn on September Flake in the October Wall area
Belyn on September Flake in the October Wall area
Credit: Ney Grant
First Ascentionist Ron Vardanega rebolting his old route, Crystal Blue...
First Ascentionist Ron Vardanega rebolting his old route, Crystal Blue Persuasion
Credit: Ney Grant
Credit: Ney Grant
Credit: Ney Grant

I will post a new thread with route beta. In a few moments, or perhaps in 2018.


  Trip Report Views: 6,850
Ney Grant
About the Author
Ney is a trad climber from Pollock Pines.

Comments
splitclimber

climber
Sonoma County
  Jun 24, 2016 - 03:05pm PT
So awesome. What a great service and that dome looks really nice. Can't wait for the topo. Will bring clippers. :)
looking sketchy there...

Social climber
Lassitude 33
  Jun 24, 2016 - 03:11pm PT
PDC (pretty darn cool!).

Looks like you guys had lots of fun and revitalized a nice climbing spot.
mtnyoung

Trad climber
Twain Harte, California
  Jun 24, 2016 - 03:35pm PT
Nice public service done carefully (and, it seems, with passion and fun mixed in). Thanks.

A very good trip report too; well written and including some quality humor (but my dogs can climb harder than your dogs...).
Laine

Trad climber
Reno, NV
  Jun 24, 2016 - 03:48pm PT
Top notch job, Ney!

TFTREPU
(Thanks for the rebolting effort and posting up)

So, are those pooches going pro, or what?
Clint Cummins

Trad climber
SF Bay area, CA
  Jun 24, 2016 - 05:18pm PT
http://www.supertopo.com/climbers-forum/2834890/Slick-Rock-Dome-Beta

http://www.google.com/maps/@38.8776012,-120.2898428,3838m/data=!3m1!1e3!5m1!1e4?hl=en

http://www.google.com/maps/dir/38.8682962,-120.3780982/38.8760477,-120.2779767/@38.874327,-120.3054211,15z?hl=en

http://www.supertopo.com/climbers-forum/1462172/Rad-cliff-in-crystal-basin
Killer K

Boulder climber
Sacramento, CA
  Jun 24, 2016 - 03:58pm PT
Love it! Thanks for your hard work!
rick sumner

Trad climber
reno, nevada/ wasilla alaska
  Jun 24, 2016 - 04:14pm PT
Congratulations on your monumental efforts Ney. Looks like you guys have resurrected a first class crag.
Studly

Trad climber
WA
  Jun 24, 2016 - 04:42pm PT
Thanks for sharing that, what a cool place. Good job on the hard work. What the best guide to the place?
johntp

Trad climber
Punter, Little Rock
  Jun 24, 2016 - 04:53pm PT
Nice. Looks reminiscent of Big Rock in SoCal. How long are the routes?
Ney Grant

Trad climber
Pollock Pines
Author's Reply  Jun 24, 2016 - 05:03pm PT
Thanks Rick! It was a fun journey to be sure. Kind of hard to hit the submit button.

The routes on the main wall are two pitches (a few three), but really only one pitch or even less at the grade, then it eases up.
High Fructose Corn Spirit

Gym climber
  Jun 24, 2016 - 05:35pm PT
Nice.

It looks like Hogsback on Steroids.

...

we also met two deer hunters who at first seemed nice but whom I grew to greatly dislike as we followed their trail of empty water bottles, tissues, plastic bags and dead squirrels back to their truck. :(
Fritz

Social climber
Choss Creek, ID
  Jun 24, 2016 - 06:56pm PT
Ney! A great story about finding that lost dome and moving it into our century.

I'm glad you folks had fun doing it and the story is wonderful.
Jaybro

Social climber
Wolf City, Wyoming
  Jun 24, 2016 - 07:15pm PT
Well, you got us hooked, nice work, anxious for more!
Mungeclimber

Trad climber
Nothing creative to say
  Jun 25, 2016 - 12:01am PT
Slabvana!

what a find!

rare in this world.

Treasure it.

Climb it with your favorite friends because soon the climbs will be done.

Charlie D.

Trad climber
Western Slope, Tahoe Sierra
  Jun 25, 2016 - 06:21am PT
Much appreciated community work Ney, thanks for getting after it. Nice to have yet another great place for what we do in the Trench of Highway 50.

BTW I must say the defining essense of Slick Rock is the high quality of the rock. It is highly featured from the eons of weather wearing its surface into some great slab climbing, if you like that kind of thing (sorry Donini).

phylp

Trad climber
Upland, CA
  Jun 25, 2016 - 07:01am PT
Great job - on the cleanup and rebolting, and on the TR.
cleo

Social climber
wherever you go, there you are
  Jun 25, 2016 - 10:39am PT
Wow!
BLUEBLOCR

Social climber
joshua tree
  Jun 25, 2016 - 12:21pm PT
Awesome! Cheers for the good work

mann, i climbed and fished all around the wrights lake area, and i never saw that sucker??
if it were a rattlesnake i'd be dead.


Thanks for the topos
Wade Icey

Trad climber
www.alohashirtrescue.com
  Jun 25, 2016 - 09:09pm PT
Thank You!
greyghost

Trad climber
Las Vegas, NV
  Jun 25, 2016 - 09:33pm PT
Great bit of work and a nice find. I'll be sure to add it to my list of places to visit. Nice write up and photos
JMC

climber
the land of milk and honey
  Jun 26, 2016 - 03:07am PT
What a nice find! I put it along the lines of discovering a ghost town or old mine, and bringing it back to life. Thanks for sharing, and more so for slaving away on the rebolt and bushwhacking.
MikeL

Social climber
Southern Arizona
  Jun 26, 2016 - 07:26am PT
Monumental. TFPU. Great service attitude to the community.
Ney Grant

Trad climber
Pollock Pines
Author's Reply  Jun 27, 2016 - 07:57am PT
Thanks everyone for the comments. In regards to missing it from Wrights Lake, it isn't really a 360 degree dome except at the top, so from the east it doesn't look like anything special. And from other angles its just a little too far from anywhere to be noticeable.
10b4me

Social climber
Lida Junction
  Jun 27, 2016 - 08:24am PT
Thanks for putting in the effort.
Vitaliy M.

Mountain climber
San Francisco
  Jun 27, 2016 - 09:33am PT
Great job and thank you for the service and the report!
Tallskinny

Sport climber
Placerville, CA
  Jun 27, 2016 - 11:12am PT
Many kudos to Ney & Betsy. I've been in to Slickrock several times, the first time with my dog from its west area - horrendous. I still have the original mimeographed climbers' guide to the Ice House area by Bob, Ron, Don, which includes Slickrock. A couple of other comments / questions: 1) ever looked at Sun Rock Dome, nearby, trail(?) in from VanVleck Bunkhouse?; 2) Two Peaks nearby has some really good looking climbing, but West Two Peak is horrendously brushy completely around its base; 3) if you are at the end of the approach road to Slickrock, say looking at the creek, there is a really good-looking wall up to the NE about 2 o'clock; I've wanted to make my way up there for years. Well, now need to go up to Slickrock in the Fall, and enjoy your great work - thanks so much. BTW, that washed-out bridge at the creek was obviously heavy-duty, maybe Ron, et. al. would know its history and/or purpose.
Branscomb

Trad climber
Lander, WY
  Jun 27, 2016 - 11:54am PT
I don't know, man, those nut cases that put up those routes with 1/4" bolts musta been craaaaazy....

Lying down on the rock to get enuf friction to belay? What in the hell? We musta thought we were immortal!

Nut cases, all of them: Ron, Don, Kim, Paul, Kristi and some really weird guy named Bob.

We salute you for your work and perseverance.
Ney Grant

Trad climber
Pollock Pines
Author's Reply  Jun 27, 2016 - 12:32pm PT
Thanks Vitaliy - We are not putting up bold new routes in the backcountry like you, Brian and friends, but we certainly feel a sense of accomplishment nonetheless. I admire what you are doing.
Ney Grant

Trad climber
Pollock Pines
Author's Reply  Jun 27, 2016 - 12:45pm PT
Tallskinny - Yes, we've hiked up to that nearby wall a few times in the evening after dinner. It is very dirty and isn't very good - there may be one climb to put up and then it would be a lot of work to clear the bushes to get to it.

Two Peaks looks a little broken up to me with busy ledges everywhere. But there are definitely some walls up there.
Ney Grant

Trad climber
Pollock Pines
Author's Reply  Jun 27, 2016 - 12:53pm PT
Hi Bob B.

You guys put up some fine climbs! Or at least Betsy and I and those we brought up there think so. Now it will be interesting to see what others think.

Oh yeah, I have your sling and carabiner.
O.D.

Trad climber
LA LA Land
  Jun 27, 2016 - 01:04pm PT
One of the best climbing-related posts I've read in quite some time. Awesome stuff, Grant family!
LuckyPink

climber
the last bivy
  Jun 27, 2016 - 09:20pm PT
this is really nice! drove around on the two track out there looking at the dome. so glad y'all went out there .. it is truly a trek
Gnome Ofthe Diabase

climber
Out Of Bed
  Jun 28, 2016 - 05:17am PT
I hope when my kids grow up I get to go to Nay Grant Camp.(+&
Ney Grant

Trad climber
Pollock Pines
Author's Reply  Jun 28, 2016 - 08:44am PT
LuckyPink - you have to get pretty far back there to see the dome - and then (although I'm sure you have your reasons), why didn't you take the 25 minute hike to the dome from the end of the road?

Ney Grant

Trad climber
Pollock Pines
Author's Reply  Jun 28, 2016 - 09:39am PT
Thank you Gnome - I've appreciated your comments over the past few years...
micronut

Trad climber
Fresno/Clovis, ca
  Jun 28, 2016 - 10:03am PT
Supercool. What a fun adventure. Like doing a bunch of first ascents......only harder!

Scott
Larry Nelson

Social climber
  Jun 28, 2016 - 12:06pm PT
Wow, what a neat TR. Thanks for the public service, the TR and the great effort ;-)
NutAgain!

Trad climber
https://nutagain.org
  Jun 28, 2016 - 04:56pm PT
Looks great!
Flip Flop

climber
Earth Planet, Universe
  Jun 28, 2016 - 06:55pm PT
Excellent effort all the way around.
shylock

Social climber
mb
  Jun 28, 2016 - 08:02pm PT
Awesome Ney! Looking forward to checking it out.

brian
Darwin

Trad climber
Seattle, WA
  Jun 28, 2016 - 08:30pm PT
Anything over here?
Daphne

Trad climber
Northern California
  Jun 28, 2016 - 08:40pm PT
This is so cool! Thank you so much for your service. As a moderate level climber who Loves slab climbing this is a dream come true. A trip is in the planning!
Ney Grant

Trad climber
Pollock Pines
Author's Reply  Jun 28, 2016 - 08:54pm PT
Yes, that blankish wall on the left third of the photo is where Crystal Crescent is, a 5.10a/b 30 meter sport climb. There may be a harder line on that particular wall, we just put up the one climb. Yap and Naptime (5.10c and 5.9) are also in that photo. You can see the "beta" thread for a topo.
Ney Grant

Trad climber
Pollock Pines
Author's Reply  Jun 29, 2016 - 09:04am PT
I'm a little surprised and am very impressed that everyone has taken the moral highground on this. Not one penis comment!

jonnyrig

climber
  Jun 29, 2016 - 11:03am PT
Well, no wonder you been flyin under the radar lately. Fantastic stuff!
squishy

Mountain climber
  Jun 29, 2016 - 11:53am PT
you had to go bust out slick rock, there goes one of my secret spots..the Branscomb guide should be kept off the webs. That sling looks like mine, fyi..you can have it, thanks for putting in new bolts..maybe keep some of Brascomb's other spots off the webs though, eh?. The Crystal basin is vast, let people figure it out.
Ney Grant

Trad climber
Pollock Pines
Author's Reply  Jun 29, 2016 - 02:36pm PT
Hi Squishy,

Don't you think it is a little lopsided that you want the benefit of a guide, but don't want anyone else to be able to use it?

Don't worry, I'm not going to republish Bob's guide, it is his. I do understand the "not publishing" stance and I have dozens of aerial photos of a place in Nevada that locals don't want published. I haven't published these.

However here are my thoughts on why I don't think it is a bad thing for Bob to publish his guide if he chooses:

1. History. I think climbing history is important, and I also think it is important that Bob and his FA pals get credit for what they did. If not, the climbs fall into obscurity and someone else redoes them and gets credit. It has happened. I know climbers are looking at the areas where Bob has already put up climbs and it makes sense to me that they know there is already a bolted route there.
2. Safety. I am now a true believer in not climbing on 1/4" bolts. Inconsistent is the word. Some are OK but some just pop right out. I would love to know if some of Bob's more remote routes have been rebolted - and that is what the web is good for.
3. Solitude? There is no way those remote climbs would ever get much traffic, in my opinion.

I know Slick Rock is a little different. It is big enough and close enough to see some traffic. But I still bet on most weekdays there will be no one there and only a few parties on the weekend. Perhaps the new bolts, the new trail in and the trail along the bottom of the climbs makes up for the fact you may see someone else while climbing?

We will have to disagree, but we felt Slick Rock, with its ample moderate slab climbing (not common in the area), was a valuable addition to the climbing community. And it was already published.

I am interested in the history of Slick Rock. Did you put up any routes there? Did you do any bolting there?

Thanks, Ney
labrat

Trad climber
Erik O. Auburn, CA
  Jun 29, 2016 - 02:07pm PT
Thank you for your work and the trip report. Hope to get up there someday.
squishy

Mountain climber
  Jul 13, 2016 - 11:11am PT
Alright, I can agree to most of that. I will miss the solitude of being able to setup camp at the base and enjoy an entire weekend alone and climbing that dome and other areas out there without climbers around. I am not concerned about the rocks and the routes or the heritage of the Bob's guide (there's a lot more out there not in Bob's guide still by the way, if what you say is true, you should be still exploring not following his footsteps), I use to agree it should be published and told Bob that when I received a copy. I have since made 10 numbered copies and handed them out to certain local individuals who were already exploring the area over the years. It's not like I'm not sharing. I just don't think the area needs to be busted out on the web for a land rush from the bay area. The routes on that dome, helped me learn slab better than anything else I have ever climbed and the things I learned there I took to other places with confidence, I understand it's value , and I also understand it's a total bust now..as each of these places is knocked off by the internet information sprayers, we have less and less of them. someday we will have none. This one was a short 2 hours from home for me and complete solitude with awesome climbs and no one but very special people even knew about, now that's gone. Bulldozed...on to the next..so what's next in the guide? Lyons lake wall? The place by the falls? Loon Lake? you know I have put up a 3-pitch route myself on the face of pyramid peak next to Desolation Angel, it's not in that guide and I don't care if anyone knows. Such is the ethics of the place, we all climb there, we all don't talk about it, and it's infinite exploration because it's not blasted online...there's Harding Pitons up there still, that's how old school secret it is bra..keep it that way, let people explore, that's the ethics of the place. That's why the guide has never been published even by the man who wrote it, that says volumes more than any guide.
splitclimber

climber
Sonoma County
  Jul 13, 2016 - 12:26pm PT
damned if you do....

shit squishy, now you just mentioned areas that are "under the radar" so to speak. Bob has been generous with his topos, which has allowed me to explore new areas and do a climb that felt like a FA but was probably not. :)

if Ney's rebolting work, new climbs and publishing of his work lessens the crowding at the popular hwy. 50 crags, then I'm all for it.
Clint Cummins

Trad climber
SF Bay area, CA
  Jul 13, 2016 - 01:59pm PT
squishy,
It's been on the web since 2006:
http://www.rockclimbing.com/routes/North_America/United_States/California/Lake_Tahoe/Crystal_Basin/Slick_Rock/
It does not seem to have attracted a land rush from the bay area like you feared.
It's appeal will be limited by:
 longer drive time than Lover's Leap, Phantom Spires, etc.
 short season (too hot in summer)
 slab climbing
 it's a classic dome so crux moves are often in the first 20 feet
 approach trail will probably overgrow soon
When was the last time you climbed there, and how many times have you climbed there?
P.S. You describe a particular publicity policy as "the ethics of the place",
but really these are your preferred publicity policy.
Clearly Nay and friends feel differently on publicity; you appear to be outvoted.
Ney Grant

Trad climber
Pollock Pines
Author's Reply  Jul 13, 2016 - 05:45pm PT
That's why the guide has never been published even by the man who wrote it, that says volumes more than any guide.

I'm not sure that is true that he didn't publish it. I have the guidebook and it wasn't given to me. I assume I purchased it back in the 80s. In my research I've seen Bob gladly share his topos online and he has even uploaded the more popular ones on Mountainproject. Bob also commented in a friendly manner on this very thread and we communicated during the project, not so much because he was the author, but because he was the FA on many of the old climbs.

Like Clint said, it is just not going to be crowded for many reasons. The Leap is the Leap. We spent a lot of time and a bit of money as well making the old climbs safe. (We used ASCA hardware for the rebolting, but because we wanted this to be our give-back to climbing, we made a donation back to ASCA for the cost.) Its a fairly big area with 25 climbs - and without the benefit of a guide you are just not going to get there. It just seems climbers should be able to enjoy the new safe hardware on some really nice slab climbs.

So the question is, since it has been almost two weeks since I posted the new beta......

... is anyone going to actually go out and climb anything there?
Bad Climber

Trad climber
The Lawless Border Regions
  Jul 13, 2016 - 06:00pm PT
Ney: This looks like great stuff. Thanks so much for your hard work. When I retire next year, this will likely be on our hit list. Right now, I only have summer's off and don't like the heat. Bravo! Doing God's work, by God.

BAd
RonV

Trad climber
Placerville
  Jul 13, 2016 - 11:16pm PT
Thanks Ney,
This has been an amazing experience.
My memory from those early days are vague. I remember more about how often we would lose members of our party on the hike through the dense woods on the approach, than the climbing it seems. Prior to being reintroduce to Slick Rock, my memory was of a low angle slab with a hike. But walking under the this granite dome now...
This is the real deal. Thanks for all the hard work, Ney and Betsy. I have made two trips out there this year and still need several more to try and do all of these routes.
I would like to give a shout out to Kim Treadway who put up several routes at Slick Rock and other rocks seen in Bob's Guide books. Hell, Kim may have been the one who first thought of visiting Slick Rock. Kim has a talent for finding rocks in Crystal Basin, and like Squishy, keeps many of these rocks secret like a fisherman and his secret holes. I remember wondering these zones as a young man( Bob would say "punk kid"). We just climbed and explored, but then Bob "published" guide books. I thought this was cool. Maybe the thought passed my mind that Bob had just given away the fishing hole, but I'm the guy that pushes the log off the trail so its easier for the next party.Thirty some years later, take a rack up to Lyons Lake and check out some great crack climbing, all in one of Bob's Guide Books, and I bet you will not see another climber all day. Praise the Sierra's.
So thanks Ney for all this work, Physical and not.
Cheers to all of you who explore
kunlun_shan

Mountain climber
SF, CA
  Jul 14, 2016 - 12:03am PT
Thanks for your rebolting work, Ney! I'll have to wander out there one of these days.

squishy, Bob B wrote the AAJ about these routes in 1981. Were you climbing or even in grade school at the time?

http://publications.americanalpineclub.org/articles/12198117602/North-America-United-States-CaliforniaSierra-Nevada-Slick-Rock-Crystal-Basin
Ney Grant

Trad climber
Pollock Pines
Author's Reply  Jul 14, 2016 - 08:55am PT
Thanks Ron. You guys put up some great climbs! I'm in Alaska at the moment but I definitely want to get out there again with you again and climb. Certainly in the fall.
Branscomb

Trad climber
Lander, WY
  Jul 14, 2016 - 10:50am PT
I did sell my Guide to the Crystal Basin in the 80s, until we moved to Wyoming. I also did the Cosumnes/Mosquito Bridge guide then as well. I used to sell them mainly at Carol Bonser's ski shop in Pollock Pines and someplace else I can't remember. It was never a very serious $$ thing, it was mainly getting the info out there, and, OK, I'll admit it: recognition, for myself and my friends Ron and Don and Kim and Kristi. You put a lot of work and heart into something and you don't want it forgotten.

I quit putting the guides out when Kristi and I moved to Wyoming in 1990 as I felt I was no longer really in the loop in Placerville. Cottrell asked me one time when I saw him at Cosumnes around '93 or '94 if he could take over the Cosumnes/Mosquito guide which I said yes to. He wasn't interested in doing the Crystal Basin Guide. -I might add that he ruthlessly plagiarized my brilliant visuals of Cosumnes from the different angles to illustrate the area without acknowledging my awesome imaginative skills, but that's okay, Will, I'm good with it.

I still have the originals of the guides and send copies to people who request them.

I'm glad people are taking an interest in the Crystal Basin and that Ney and people are refurbishing the old routes and putting up new ones. Very cool! I suspect the area will never really get that popular...too far off the track and you won't be 'seen' like at the Leap. Very important these days, I understand: to be 'seen'.

Branscomb

Trad climber
Lander, WY
  Jul 14, 2016 - 10:59am PT
By the way, Ney, I have your sunset picture from the top of Slick Rock as my screen saver here at work...really nice, man. That's a dangerous thing for me to look at and not just want to walk out of sh#t-ass work.

Thanks for your integrity and hard work..
Ney Grant

Trad climber
Pollock Pines
Author's Reply  Jul 16, 2016 - 09:31pm PT
Thank you Bob. Hopefully you'll look us up if you are out this way. I remember that shop and I still have Carol's mtn bike guides to Tahoe and the Crystal Basin, and I bought a mtn bike from her brother. And apparently I bought other guide books there.
Steve Grossman

Trad climber
Seattle, WA
  Jul 17, 2016 - 09:28am PT
Hey Ney- Kudos to you and your crew for putting in the time and effort to restore this area. As a slabophile I appreciate what an area like that has to offer.

Cheers mate!
cms

climber
  Jul 29, 2016 - 08:39pm PT
Thanks for your hard work! The climbing is fun and the area is beautiful - really a well put together area, approach was pretty straight forward, be sure to take a downhill right turn at the twin broken trees...we didnt ;-)

I was there a couple weeks ago, misquotes were horrendous when we got back to the creek parking area and there were definitely some bees cruzin the manzanita, they didnt seem aggressive if you played nice.

Thanks again!
Charlie D.

Trad climber
Western Slope, Tahoe Sierra
  Jul 30, 2016 - 08:58am PT
What's cool about this thread for me is the span of local history. I first arrived in the Placerville in the late 70's. Bob, Ron, Donny, Kim and others were the locals, we all frequented Carol Bonsors shop in Pollock.

While we may lament the loss of obscurity with more climbers visiting the Basin the deepening history of the place is worth sharing. All these crags have tales to be told of days long gone. Those tales were about the partnerships and friends who shared adventures in their backyards doing what we love. It's so much more than the routes accomplished, they're still there on an indifferent surface. It's the stories of passing over such places that is meaningful. Like all mountains these places are rich and haunted.

Berg Heil,

Charlie D.
Salamanizer

Trad climber
The land of Fruits & Nuts!
  Jun 27, 2017 - 08:28pm PT
Always really loved that place. That granite is immaculate. A great place to learn how to drill on lead. Unfortunately I discovered it well after I was already pretty proficient at hand drilling on lead. Would have loved to have known about it in the "early years". Although, had that been, there would have probably been a few less routes on your F.A. resume ;)

Bob sent me one of his guides years ago and I had the intent of rebolting all the routes. I ended up climbing a bunch of them but never actually got around to doing the dirty work. I ended up moving up north and found a bunch of new unexplored areas (Northern Cali and Nevada is frekkin loaded BTW). Glad someone got around to it. Some of that old hardware was pretty sketchy, one bolt anchors and "butt and back" friction belays an all. There is an old cairn built on the very top. If I remember right, it had a bunch of old trinkets and things left behind by the few people who have been up there. Looked like mostly climbers stuff. Always thought that was a really cool and special summit feature. Sure wish I would have had more time to put more routes up on that thing. Most of my time and effort was spent on another series of domes equally obscure, but twice as big and with slab grades into the high .11's about 40 miles south though. There's a ton of rock out there. Most of it hiding in plain sight. If you catch a glimpse, go check it out. That's always been my motto. You might find something new and unexplored. Chances are you'll run into one of my signature "ring angle" pitons pounded in some random area half way up a route eventually. I put them in a lot of the obscure routes I did just to make people go "Fukk" half way up their new first ascent.

Squishy, I wouldn't worry about it. People may stream in from time to time, but it's not really an every weekend destination kind of place. At most, it would have a brief period of popularity, then eventually fall back into obscurity. The whole dome is at a pretty consistent angle as you know. Some of the starts have brief periods of difficulty, but most of the climbing above rarely climbs over 5.7, and that is a stretch for most of the routes. Most of the dome above the first 20ft is 5.5ish. You can almost walk up with no hands. So that will limit the crowds. It also bakes in the sun, doesn't have much varied climbing or range in grades, long approach, no supertopo guide, long difficult and winding fire road access with several turns and various obstacles, and it's slab climbing. Not really most climbers cup of tea.

Ney Grant

Trad climber
Pollock Pines
Author's Reply  Jun 29, 2017 - 12:45pm PT
I agree, there will never be many people out there. I was reminded of this last week when we spent the entire week of fantastic climbing in southern Yosemite area (Fresno dome and domes near Shuteye Ridge)and ran into one party the entire week, when crowded Yosemite is not far away. Really incredible.

I don't think it is correct to say the climbs are about 20 feet long before easing up. The area is full of moderates, no doubt, but they typically stay at grade for a full pitch before easing up. I don't know if you got to the north end where the dome is generally shorter and steeper, Bob's book doesn't cover that and there was little evidence of previous activity. There are 5.10, 5.9, 5.8, 5.7 and 5.6 climbs there now and all of them are at grade for a full pitch. Actually, except for the 5.8 they are all one pitch climbs on that end of the dome (Nap Wall Area). You are right in that the dome does tend toward moderate as there is only one 5.10 that is sustained for a full pitch.
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