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First Creek Slabs

Routes Sorted
L to R R to L Alpha
Bad Moon Arising T 
Big Sky T 
Comeback Corner T 
Falling Stars T 
Hot Flash T 
Lady Luck T 
NOPE.NOPE. NOPE.NOPE.NOPE. T 
Rising Moons T 
Romanian Rib - Left Side T 
Smiley Face T 
Smooth Sailing T 
Sunset Slab T 
Sunset Slab Direct T 

First Creek Slabs 


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Location: 36.07962, -115.47926 View Map  Incorrect?
Page Views: 87,019
Administrators: Larry DeAngelo, Kristine Hoffman
Submitted By: Larry DeAngelo on Oct 8, 2007
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BETA PHOTO: Overview of the First Creek Slabs, showing some of...

Description 

The First Creek Slabs line the southern side of First Creek Canyon, starting just west (upstream) of the Lotta Balls and Romper Room areas. They extend for several hundred yards, forming a series of ribs and buttresses with a number of good routes. The slabs begin just a short distance above the streambed, so approaches are reasonably short and friendly. The slabs end a thousand to fifteen hundred feet higher, on a brushy ledge system beneath the imposing Upper Tier that extends another thousand or so feet to the ridgeline.

The first key landmark is the obvious right-slanting chimney of Rising Moons. Immediately left (east) of the small Rising Moons buttress is the descent gully used by Algae on Parade and routes ending of the brushy ramp. To the right of Rising Moons is the sequence of low-angle buttresses climbed by Sunset Slab, Big Sky, and the Romanian Rib. Still further to the west (and now a few hundred yards upstream from Rising Moons) is the Echove, a recessed area of somewhat steeper rock that is almost granitic in texture.


Getting There 

Hike in via the First Creek Trail. Most of the routes are reached by staying on the trail low in the canyon until beneath the climb. Routes on the eastern end, near Rising Moons, can be reached on a short traversing trail from the Romper Room area.


Climbing Season


13 Total Routes


['4 Stars',0],['3 Stars',4],['2 Stars',6],['1 Star',3],['Bomb',0]
['<=5.6',2],['5.7',8],['5.8',2],['5.9',1],['5.10',0],['5.11',0],['5.12',0],['5.13',0],['>=5.14',0],['',0],['<=V1',0],['V2-3',0],['V4-5',0],['V6-7',0],['V8-9',0],['V10-11',0],['V12-13',0],['>=V14',0]

The Classics

Mountain Project's determination of some of the classic, most popular, highest rated routes for First Creek Slabs:
Rising Moons   5.5 4b 13 IV+ 11 MS 4a PG13     Trad, 3 pitches, 380'   
Romanian Rib - Left Side   5.7 5a 15 V+ 13 MVS 4b     Trad, 5 pitches, 1000'   
Sunset Slab Direct   5.7 5a 15 V+ 13 MVS 4b     Trad, 7 pitches, 1000'   
Sunset Slab   5.7 5a 15 V+ 13 MVS 4b     Trad, 7 pitches, 1000'   
Lady Luck   5.7 5a 15 V+ 13 MVS 4b     Trad, 7 pitches, 1000'   
Hot Flash   5.8 5b 16 VI- 15 HVS 4c     Trad, 10 pitches, 1200'   
Browse More Classics in First Creek Slabs

Featured Route For First Creek Slabs
The line of Hot Flash

Hot Flash 5.8 5b 16 VI- 15 HVS 4c  NV : Red Rock : ... : First Creek Slabs
This is a very nice route. The rock is good and the line is excellent. For the most part the moves are moderate, but the climb maintains a good level of interest the whole way.At the upstream end of the First Creek Slabs, scramble up to a good, brushy ledge on the western side of the Echove. Start here and climb a flake up and left to a good ledge. The next pitch moves up and right to a crack and a belay niche above a small overhang. The large overhang above is passed by a friction traverse...[more]   Browse More Classics in NV

Photos of First Creek Slabs Slideshow Add Photo
The second rappel off the first creek slabs.  This is a natural formation that allows for a cool threaded rappel station.
BETA PHOTO: The second rappel off the first creek slabs. This...
Our 3rd rappel.  I think this can also be downclimbed.
Our 3rd rappel. I think this can also be downclim...
View from the approach.
BETA PHOTO: View from the approach.
Sandra at the bottom of the first rappel from one of the little pines above her.
BETA PHOTO: Sandra at the bottom of the first rappel from one ...
Looking back from the start of the First Creek Slabs Descent Gully. Head down this gully, and you'll soon see the rap station (small tree) on skiers right.
BETA PHOTO: Looking back from the start of the First Creek Sla...
Descent routes from the brushy ramp system at the top of the slabs.  The eastern route, passing the top of the Lotta Balls Wall, is easier to find and more secure, but the other gully is faster if you know the way and are confident on the terrain.
BETA PHOTO: Descent routes from the brushy ramp system at the ...
Easy downclimbing below the second rappel.
Easy downclimbing below the second rappel.
The routes at the lower left corner of the the First Creek Slabs.  This would be at the base of the main descent gully.
BETA PHOTO: The routes at the lower left corner of the the Fir...
A view of the FC slabs from across the canyon. If you look closely you can see the climb Romanian Rib, and Hot Flash. Both really fun climbs!
A view of the FC slabs from across the canyon. If ...
Comments on First Creek Slabs Add Comment
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Comments displayed oldest to newestSkip Ahead to the Most Recent Dated Mar 15, 2014
By Karsten
From: Sacramento, CA
Jan 24, 2008

When many of the first creeks slabs routes were going up the descent used the walk-off/rappels listed in this comment. Now the canyon appears to have sprung bolted descent anchors (read other user comments below). The descent description listed here still works but may not be the easiest way down.

To descend - walk to a low spot on the ledge system looking for a large red offwidth crack next the start of Celtic Cracks. The noticeable Shamrock Roof on Celtic Cracks can be seen above.

Gigette's pic.

Looking back from the start of the First Creek Slabs Descent Gully. Head down this gully, and you'll soon see the rap station (small tree) on skiers right.
Looking back from the start of the First Creek Slabs Descent Gully. Head down this gully, and you'll soon see the rap station (small tree) on skiers right.


Scramble directly down this gully maybe 40ft and take a single rope rap from a small tree with orange slings.

Continue down the gully for a short distance (~50ft) and do another single rope rap off of more orange slings threaded through an opening in a groove.
The second rappel off the first creek slabs.  This is a natural formation that allows for a cool threaded rappel station.
The second rappel off the first creek slabs. This is a natural formation that allows for a cool threaded rappel station.


From the bottom of this rappel it is easy 3rd and 4th down to the rappel near the top of rising moons. (one double-rope rap or two single rope raps)

By Dirty Gri Gri, or is it GiGi?
From: Vegas
Mar 26, 2008

Thanks for the rap stations, Karsten; Great job!

Info: We got down with a single 60 meter, with some fun, easy scrambling, and short sections of manageable downclimbing in between raps.

By David Stowe
Mar 29, 2008

If I remember correctly, those orange slings appear to be where there previously was some exciting down climbing. Getting down was harder than anything on Hot Flash.

By George Bell
From: Boulder, CO
Apr 22, 2009

Thanks for the anchors and description, Karsten. The downclimbing is exposed but pretty easy - however I think we did a few extra raps that Karsten downclimbs. We did 7 raps total with a single 60m rope. After the 2 that Karsten mentions, we downclimbed quite a ways and then rapped off a piece of perlon pinched under a large block, then moved east for a short rap off three small trees. This brings you down to the "large" tree which begins the Rising Moons descent (2 long plus one very short rap from trees).

If a lot of people start using this descent, the trees may suffer. Some of them are not very big!

By John Hegyes
From: Las Vegas, NV
Sep 24, 2010

Yes, Gigi and I were up there in May, and we were surprised to see bolts on the standard First Creek Slabs descent. I don't remember how many.

By kurthicks
Oct 4, 2010

I did this descent yesterday. As noted, there are new bolts that appeared sometime since April. Anyways, here's how it goes.

1. Rap 30m from bolts just below the spindly pine tree. Tie knots. Ends at bolts on left wall.
2. Rap 60' to the cool thread.
3. Rap 100' down gully, then downclimb class 3 to more bolts. Can skip thread if you have two ropes.
4. Rap from bolts another 30m to an alcove, then down climb skiers right (cairn, low 5th class past a bush) to the big ledge. Alternately a double rope rap gets you to the ledge and bolts near the pine tree.
5. Two more raps with one rope (tie knots) or one with two ropes leads to the base.

By Karl K
From: Phoenix, AZ
Mar 19, 2011

Someone has replaced and added many rappel stations:
The first rappel (that was on the pine tree) is now 10' to skier's left with two nice bolts(no chains on any of these - may need slings). Still single 60m rope.
They also added a couple of unnecessary stations that bypass cl.3 downclimbing.
I did it the old way - 2nd rappel from the slung 'handle' and lots of scrambling down the gullies. But it looks like you could do a 2-rope rap from the new station (about 30' above the old slung handle). There are several more new stations below this - I'm guessing these are double rope raps - but I did the cl.3 down climbs. Anybody used the new stations?
Near the bottom, there is also a new station just below the tree that is the standard descent from Rising Moons. (This gets rid of the ugly tat that usually surrounded that tree and makes it easier/safer to get to the midway tree for those doing single rope raps)

By John Wilder
From: Las Vegas, NV
Mar 20, 2011

as nice and easy as those bolts may be, they were placed illegally and may jeopardize climbers ability to bolt in red rock in the future- please be respectful of the bolting ban here!

By John Wilder
From: Las Vegas, NV
Sep 23, 2011

Dave- it depends on the situation. Probably the biggest reason locals don't remove the bolts is that starting a bolting war (so to speak) is not in anyone's interest. There's also the question of the effort/equipment to go up there and chop 'em- that's 1000' of climbing and quite a bit of weight both up and down. And time- folks are busy here- some with work, some with FA's, and these bolts are pretty new. Will they survive the fall season here? Dunno. Maybe. Maybe not. Who's to say?

Is it legal to remove bolts- as far as I know, yes. IMHO, it comes down to the local tribe's feeling about such bolts.

By Zappatista
Nov 25, 2011

Tribe. Bolt war. Silly words.

The bolted stations aren't strictly necessary on a lot of the gully terrain, for sure. If you're going down this in the dark, they will be appreciated for sure.

I didn't see anything wrong with the bolting job done, and I've seen a LOT of bad Red Rock bolts over the last few years. The hardware's out of the water flow line, the bolts and hangers are both non-stainless, which means galvanic corrosion won't be an issue-as to the lack of chain, I think chain's uglier by a mile than the slings that are in place, and would probably get jacked anyway.

Those not familiar with low-strength "aid tape" sling material might want to bring a few feet of 9/16" webbing to replace the black webbing at the last bolted station before the Rising Moons raps-aid tape is 500 lbs strength when brand new, it's gotten a sunburn at this point, and needs replacement.

By Karl K
From: Phoenix, AZ
Mar 17, 2012

Due to several inquiries: here is my best descent beta:
The big gully (between the slabs & upper tier) is straightforward - a few cairns.
At the big pine tree (@ a low point in the gully) scramble down 20' until you find rap anchors. Single rope rap - 100'.
At this point you have a choice - if you have two ropes, I would do a double rope rap from the new anchors (right where the first rap ends); or - with a single rope- you scramble down about 50' (skiers left) to the old rap station which is a sling through a rock slot.
At the end of either of these raps ignore the bolts/rap station and just scramble down the gully. Cross over to the (skier's) right gully about 40 feet below this ridiculous station (at a tree) and continue down (class 2, at worst).
Keep scrambling more or less straight down past an open section until you see another rap station. Again - you have a choice: I have never used this station - but it is clearly a 2 rope rap. I have always crossed to the gully on the (skier's) left just above the rap bolts - it is an awkward step to get established. Then more downclimbing/scrambling including a slither past a tree. Never hard.
Coming out of this gully - trend skier's right to the tree. There is a rap station about 10' below this tree (this is the Rising Moons descent).
Either a double rope rap to the bottom, or two single rope raps using the second (not the first!) tree as the second station.
Then straight downhill to the ledge system you start from.
Out of curiosity, I timed it: 40 & 45 minutes from the top of Lady Luck/Sunset Slab to the ledge for two relatively scaredy cat scramblers (using the one rope; 4 rap version).

By Dan Mathews
May 4, 2012

Descent description by Karl K is right on in terms of locations, and it was a huge help in locating/following the descent. Thanks Karl!

We didn't scramble everywhere he did so it took us about 1:20 from the top of Sunset Slab.

At one point about halfway down he describes traversing to a gully on skiers left to avoid a double rope rappel. It is a fairly exposed move to enter the gully, but it can be easily protected by placing a #2 camalot in a crack, attaching it to a cows tail/daisy, and then reaching back to remove it once you're in the gully.

In general I'd say the scrambles are easier than they look from above, and they do save time over rappelling. Given the low angle, the ropes tend to bunch up and get stuck on the pull. We made the first 3 rappels and the last double rope rappel. In hind sight we should of scrambled the 3rd rappel as it is really quite sloping.

By Karl K
From: Phoenix, AZ
Mar 15, 2014

One new addition to the descent: As of 3/11/14 - the 'old' second rap (the threaded rap) has no slings.
Because I had only one rope, using the 'new' bolted rap station - I sent the weaker members of the party down on a single line (200') rap to avoid some downclimbing before I doubled the rope and did a 100' rap.
From the top, this looked like it would be nasty, slick downclimbing, but it was really not too bad.
Even without the lower (threaded) station I would still only bring one rope and downclimb most of the middle (see my comments 2 posts up)