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North Fin
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Gladiator T 
Hai Karate T,TR 
Histoplasmosis T 
Killer Whale S,TR 
Nang S 
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Rocket Science S 
Skin Bracer T 
Slippery When Wet T 
Thumbs Up S 
Tree Monsters S 
Writer's Cramp T 

Slippery When Wet 

YDS: 5.7 French: 5a Ewbanks: 15 UIAA: V+ ZA: 13 British: MVS 4b

   
Type:  Trad, 2 pitches, 130'
Consensus:  YDS: 5.7 French: 5a Ewbanks: 15 UIAA: V+ ZA: 13 British: MVS 4b [details]
FA: Merle Wheeler, Mark Axen
Page Views: 9,618
Submitted By: James DeRoussel on Sep 2, 2002

You & This Route  |  Other Opinions (74)
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Looking up from the base of SWW. Climbers are jus...

Description 

'Slippery When Wet' starts up a series intermittent flaring cracks near the south end of north fin. It is down the slope from 'Agatha Christie' and Nancy's Thumb.

Pitch 1: Climb delicate crux moves up starting cracks and through hanging blocks. From big chopper flake, continue up face just left of arete and clip one bolt. From bolt, step up around corner to the right. Traverse right on scant protection, up to reach another large ledge with two bolt belay.

Pitch 2: Exit belay ledge up and right to prominent corner. Climb the obvious corner to easier finish. Top out near large pine. Bring either gear or long slings to construct a belay on top.

To walk off, scramble north through brush toward Nancy's Thumb. Take care not to fall to your death on the talus to the west.

Protection 

60m rope, Standard rack. Bring single and double length runners for extensions and possible tree-belay.


Photos of Slippery When Wet Slideshow Add Photo
Start to route.
Start to route.
Rev. Robert Mcleod topping out on the 2nd pitch,with the Chessman and the Pumphouse in the back ground.
Rev. Robert Mcleod topping out on the 2nd pitch,wi...
Finishing the route
Finishing the route
Eric Peterson leads P1
Eric Peterson leads P1
Getting ready for the crux of P2
Getting ready for the crux of P2
On top the nice belay ledge.
On top the nice belay ledge.
View from highway below. Climber at belay ledge, follower on 1st pitch
BETA PHOTO: View from highway below. Climber at belay ledge, f...
Second pitch!
Second pitch!
Starting P2 - Kevin's first trad lead.
Starting P2 - Kevin's first trad lead.

Comments on Slippery When Wet Add Comment
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Comments displayed oldest to newestSkip Ahead to the Most Recent Dated Jan 11, 2014
By Almonzo
From: Flagstaff, Arizona
Jan 28, 2003

This is a great climb! We combined the first and second pitches (at least, as they are described above - other sources only call this a 2 pitch climb) and used a 50m rope, which worked just fine. The crux is down near the bottom of the first pitch and is an awkward chimney sort of move. This can be bypassed by walking around and up to the the left of the climb, which allows you to start at the first belay described above.
By Wes Turner
From: az
May 16, 2004
rating: 5.9 5c 17 VI 17 HVS 5a

slippery when wet is a 2 PITCH CLIMBP1: climb delicate face moves up through hanging blocks ..up buttress and right to solid chain anchors.P2: climb up crack system to top to a belay from solid tree.yes you could combine the 2 pitches for sure with a 60M ( 50M seems too short) rope but the line for P1 and the line for P2 are far apart and the drag would be horrendous. plus on top of P1 you have an incredible belay ledge where you can 2nd up your follower and check out Tucson from one of the best belays on the mountain.
By Wes Turner
From: az
Aug 10, 2004
rating: 5.9 5c 17 VI 17 HVS 5a

I'm gonna do this again.....where are you from and what are you thinkning giving this route 1 star!!?? Anyone climbing on mt. lemmon and interested in a classic climb do this...3 stars all the way...
By Wes Turner
From: az
Aug 10, 2004
rating: 5.9 5c 17 VI 17 HVS 5a

the 5.9 rating is obviously a typo.7
By Steve Pulver
From: Williston, ND
Aug 11, 2004
rating: 5.9- 5c 17 VI 16 HVS 4c

I can't think of any 5.7's on Mt Lemmon that really deserve 3 stars (well maybe George's Buttress does). Slippery When Wet is one of the most overrated routes on the mountain (Black Quacker is another, probably an even more overrated 5.7). )
By Wes Turner
From: az
Aug 11, 2004
rating: 5.9 5c 17 VI 17 HVS 5a

Some of you guys really don't have a clue...
By Forest Hill
From: Denver, CO
Aug 11, 2004
rating: 5.7 5a 15 V+ 13 MVS 4b

It's got a great belay ledge, a beautiful dihedral, and if you go left instead of right when you finish the chimney at the top, the last belay is all gear with a fantastic view. This has got to be one of the best climbs I know to take someone on their first multipitch climb. What more could you want?
By kBobby
From: Spokane, WA
Jan 2, 2005
rating: 5.7+ 5a 15 V+ 13 MVS 4b

The direct start is pretty stiff 5.7 -- of course, it was wet when I did it. This route is definitely three stars!
By Jim Thompson
From: Logan, UT
Jan 31, 2006
rating: 5.7+ 5a 15 V+ 13 MVS 4b PG13

I've lead this route twice, and both times my second (two different individuals) had trouble with the traverse over to the first belay anchors. A large cam (equiv to a #3 or #4 camalot) can protect the traverse. Otherwise a scary pendulum fall is possible for a second climbing at their ability level.
By jbak
Feb 13, 2006
rating: 5.6 4c 14 V 12 S 4b

This climb is a classic due to AGE and position. For a 5.6 (that's what it was rated when I first did it in 1980) it is a nice little adventure.
By A.P.T.
From: Truckee,Ca
Apr 19, 2006

Squeezing The Lemmon has it right,three star's all the way!
By Braxtron
From: ...
Mar 23, 2007
rating: 5.7 5a 15 V+ 13 MVS 4b

I think the view from the end of P1 is great/picturesque, but I don't see how it's a 4 STAR CLASSIC AAAA+++!!!1!!1. P2 is really fun, but too damn short! I used a .25 cam to protect the traverse, which is on pretty easy territory if I remember correctly. If this route is PG13, then the Standard Route @ Chimney rock is, too (neither are PG13, IMO).
By Jimbo
Mar 29, 2007

Braxton, you are a hard man to please. Slippery is most definitely a 3 star route for Mt. Lemmon.
Is it as good as Mr. Clean on Devils Tower, or The Grand Wall in Squamish, or the Salathe on El Cap, no. But it's a 3 star route for the area.
By Christian
From: Casa do Cacete
Dec 27, 2007
rating: 5.9 5c 17 VI 17 HVS 5a PG13

On the first pitch, past the blocks, the line is up the arete on the far left, then a short step-across traverse and then up to the far left end of the belay ledge, then walk across belay ledge to the chains on the far right. There's a fairly large knob that would probably catch the rope and prevent a pendulum if the second fell, but it's easy ground anyway.

The direct start doesn't feel like 5.7+ anymore, there's some polished rock and balancy moves down there. The bypass start from the left side comes in just above the blocky stuff and below the arete and there's a tree to set a belay.
By Rhett Burroughs
From: Valdosta, GA
Feb 8, 2008

It is a great climb and I think the first one I did out west! A great intro!
By Jon Ruland
From: Tucson, AZ
Mar 27, 2008
rating: 5.8 5b 16 VI- 15 HVS 4c PG13

do the 2nd pitch in the dark for a unique experience. the climbing isn't hard and it's near impossible to get off route, but the blackness around you creates a sense of mystery (what are you climbing into?) while the expanse of tucson glows far below you. classic!

i'd like to add to christian's comment though; there's a single move at the bottom that i believe could go as hard as 5.9 (very tenuous--my second fell here), though the rest of the climb is 5.7 at the hardest.
By John Hayes
From: Bend, OR
Jan 11, 2010
rating: 5.6 4c 14 V 12 S 4b

In my opinion, Slippery is one of the 3 (or 4) classics of it's grade on Mt Lemon. I don't know when it became a 5.7--I've always thought of it as one of the routes that defines Tucson 5.6 trad climbing. However you want to rate it, the great pro', fun moves, spectacular views, and the perfect wine and cheese belay ledge halfway up make it one of the best for new (or even old) trad climbers (IMHO.)
By Dwook
Mar 1, 2010
rating: 5.8- 5b 16 VI- 14 VS 4c

What a beaut!!! This line is stellar...Definitely one of the best trad routes Ive climbed on Lemmon. The second pitch is far easier than it looks but is so rad. Watch out for loose block on second pitch...Rock fall potential for those walking below.
By Johnny Ice
From: Tucson, AZ
Mar 30, 2011
rating: 5.7 5a 15 V+ 13 MVS 4b

I have visited this climb 3 times in the past 6 months. It was pretty fun and I'll probably come back again. The first time I found a blue TCU stuck on the second pitch. The second time I found the same TCU and just above it a red camalot. I'm wondering what I'll find next! I don't see gear placements on this climb as hard but that's just me. And just in case someone wants to collect this TCU, I'd just leave it. It has definitely been there a while and good luck trying to remove it.
By Christian
From: Casa do Cacete
Oct 27, 2011
rating: 5.9 5c 17 VI 17 HVS 5a PG13

Mr Ruland said:

"i'd like to add to christian's comment though; there's a single move at the bottom that i believe could go as hard as 5.9 (very tenuous--my second fell here), though the rest of the climb is 5.7 at the hardest."

exactly..I didn't tick routes back then, but due to the social pressure to agree w established grades when you're starting out on trad climbing, I probably would have said 5.8, when to me it also felt like 5.9

PS I'm talking about the direct start, not the traverse in from left that bypasses the hard section at the bottom
By Micah Kurtz
Mar 5, 2012
rating: 5.7+ 5a 15 V+ 13 MVS 4b PG13

Just got in this route 3/3/12 for my 7th trad lead. The traverse from the bolt was a little intimidating and it took me a while to figure out the moves but once I did it went pretty easy. I couldnt find any solid gear in the section past the bolt until the very end which is maybe a 10 ft run out. Great route!
By Robbie Mackley
From: Tucson, AZ
May 18, 2012

I followed the "direct start" about a year ago (then bailed due to heat and time), and found the moves to be delicate, yet doable, and the pro is all there. My partner (a solid .8 leader) got 2 solid nuts and 2 bomber cams, + a girth hitched tunnel at the top, all before reaching the "safe zone" before the bolt anchor. I havn't finished the route but if the start is the crux, the rating goes at 5.7 at best (Wheeler/Axen, 5.6, circa '71). Maybe we should all pay more attention to WHO put up the route and WHEN, rather than spending time talking about how "hard/scary" the start is. [Insert RR quote here.] There are guide books for a reason, (remember that MP, as great as it is, is a wikipedia of sorts). If you cant afford a guidebook I will gladly buy some cams off of your rack so you can! Climb safe and smart out there my friends!
-Mackley
ps, if youre from out of town and dont own, or purchase, a book the Steiger and Kerry books are avalible (free) at climbaz.com, and SQ1 &2 ( & most other local books) are available at the main (downtown)library in Tucson.
By Jon Ruland
From: Tucson, AZ
May 29, 2012
rating: 5.8 5b 16 VI- 15 HVS 4c PG13

reviving a (very) old debate from the comments above, i think most people who are disappointed in this climb are giving it the wrong comparisons. don't compare this route to epinephrine, east buttress of el cap, or even what's my line in our friendly backyard playground of cochise stronghold.

would you compare a single-pitch overhanging 5.12 sport route to those climbs? of course not. so why compare an easy 2-pitch route to epic multipitch, or anything else that isn't an easy 1-3 pitch trad rotue? as far as easy 2-pitch trad routes are concerned this one is easily 3 stars, maybe 4. i think the current consensus of 3.2 stars is pretty much dead on.

so don't approach this climb thinking you're undertaking a big adventure. be reasonable and see it for what it is: an easy 2-pitch route with fun climbing and spectacular views that's damn good compared to other easy 1-3 pitch routes in the area.
By Geir
From: Tucson, AZ
May 29, 2012

I agree Jon!
By BAd
Jan 11, 2014
rating: 5.9 5c 17 VI 17 HVS 5a

I rated this 5.9, but that's because I'm pretty sure I did a wrong finish to the first pitch, although the start seemed hard for a 5.7. I finished the first pitch by coming up almost directly to the bolts up a very steep little headwall. There were cracks/corners to either side, but this looked cool and had excellent pro--a fat cam right at face level. From what I read above, I should have finished on the far left side of the ledge and had to traverse to the bolts. Doh! Still, was bitchin' good climbing. Position, views, quality of rock all make this a classic. Go do it.