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Solar Slab - Lower Tier
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Solar Flare 

YDS: 5.10- French: 6a Ewbanks: 18 UIAA: VI+ British: E1 5a

Type:  Trad, 5 pitches, 500', Grade II
Consensus:  YDS: 5.10a/b French: 6a+ Ewbanks: 19 UIAA: VI+ British: E2 5b [details]
FA: Tom Cecil, Mark Miner
New Route: Yes
Page Views: 3,055
Submitted By: rockratrei on Jun 27, 2006
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You & This Route  |  Other Opinions (26)
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Solar Flare pitches 1 & 2 combined - climbing the ...


This is a good quality line. The rock is mostly solid and the climbing is mostly moderate. However, it does "flare" up at two distinct cruxes. The second and succeeding belays have bolted anchors that would allow retreat with a single 60-meter rope. It MIGHT be possible to rappel from the pitch-2 anchors slightly right to reach a bolted station at the top of Corona, and go from there to the ground.

Pitch 1: A pleasant crack leads up 100' to a small stance beneath an overhang.
Pitch 2: Traverse right to a break in the roof and move up past a bolt (5.10) to easier climbing and a bolted belay station.
Pitch 3: Easy climbing up the corner above takes you to another bolted belay station.
Pitch 4: Continue up, passing a protection bolt (5.9) on the bulge above, to reach another bolted station.
Pitch 5: Moderate climbing goes up the cracks and face to the Lower Shoulder. There is an optional bolted belay/rap station a short distance below the shoulder.

Descend by rappeling the route. All the upper pitches can be rapped with one rope (which is probably advisable because there are a lot of snaggy horns). There is not a bolted station at the top of pitch one, so it easiest to do a 2-rope rappel from the P2 anchors.


Start in the obvious corner about 10 yards to the right of the brushy alcove at the bottom of Sunspot Ridge.


standard rack

Photos of Solar Flare Slideshow Add Photo
At the top of P1 is a tiny belay stance beneath the roof.
At the top of P1 is a tiny belay stance beneath th...
A bolt protects the 5.9 bulge on the fourth pitch.
A bolt protects the 5.9 bulge on the fourth pitch.
P2 roof after the scrunchy part
P2 roof after the scrunchy part
The straight up variation takes wires well.
BETA PHOTO: The straight up variation takes wires well.
Jascha admiring the ground
Jascha admiring the ground
starting pitch three
starting pitch three
Solar Flare
BETA PHOTO: Solar Flare
Chris Taylor pulling through the roof on pitch 2
Chris Taylor pulling through the roof on pitch 2
Jascha on the fun varnished dihedral that ends P2
Jascha on the fun varnished dihedral that ends P2
Solar Flare with belays highlighted. #1 is for the direct start. The original route P1 belay is slightly left.
BETA PHOTO: Solar Flare with belays highlighted. #1 is f...
at the P4 roof
at the P4 roof
another view of the direct and original starts
BETA PHOTO: another view of the direct and original starts
the Lower Shoulder and junction with Sunspot Ridge
BETA PHOTO: the Lower Shoulder and junction with Sunspot Ridge
Jascha following the P1 direct start
Jascha following the P1 direct start
Solar Flare pitches 3 & 4.
Solar Flare pitches 3 & 4.
Comments on Solar Flare Add Comment
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Comments displayed oldest to newestSkip Ahead to the Most Recent Dated Nov 18, 2013
By Carrie B.
From: Las Vegas, NV
Oct 1, 2007
rating: 5.10- 6a 18 VI+ E1 5a

This is a super fun line! Definitely seems 5.6/5.7 except for the 2 cruxes which are bolt protected!

By Greg Barnes
Feb 12, 2008
rating: 5.10c 6b 20 VII E2 5b

The protection bolt on the 5.10 roof is super sketchy. It's a stainless stud bolt that sticks out over 2" and is only 3" long, and placed at a downward angle. This bolt, even though new, needs to be replaced immediately.

The roof is pretty dang hard if you're a tall, weak trad climber like me - it's very crunched up and powerful.

By John Wilder
From: Las Vegas, NV
Mar 31, 2008
rating: 5.10 6b 20 VII- E2 5b

interestingly, the first ascent of Sunspot Ridge was done by doing Corona into Solar Flare, and then up to the ridge- the difficulties on the Solar Flare portion, though, made us look for a more moderate line as a start for Sunspot- more in line with the upper pitches. I think the new start is perfect for that, although Solar Flare is an excellent start if you're game for the roof!

By L. Hamilton
Sep 27, 2009

One of the beta photos above notes that a "direct variation takes wires well." Anybody got other info about this variation, like its difficulty, quality, PG or R feeling, whatever? How's the rope drag if you link all the way through P2, as the photo suggests?

By rockratrei
Sep 28, 2009

Haven't done the variation but I did link P1 and P2 with doubles and
long runners without too much drag. There is also a great place for
a black (or purple) alien just under the roof, if you don't like the bolt.

By tallmark515
From: San Francisco
Nov 30, 2009
rating: 5.10- 6a 18 VI+ E1 5a

To avoid rope drag on P2, link the first two pitches, but use long runners. The first pitch is REALLY easy and you won't need much gear (I used one cam) the traverse feels like very easy 5th class.

The bolt is strange, but how do the above posters know that it is only a 3" bolt? For all we know it could be a 6" bolt. Either way I don't think it's really necessary.

The roof crux didn't feel hard, at Yosemite or Joshua Tree this roof would probably go at 5.9. The jugs are huge and the feet are great, I'll settle for .10- though.

As far as I'm concerned, the only redeeming quality of this route is the exposure when pulling the roof.

By John Wilder
From: Las Vegas, NV
Nov 30, 2009
rating: 5.10 6b 20 VII- E2 5b

tallmark- the letter stamped into the end of the bolt indicates the length. I believe that it is an 'E' bolt up there, which translates to a 3" bolt.

By jpvandever
From: San Francisco, CA
Mar 30, 2010
rating: 5.10- 6a 18 VI+ E1 5a

climbed this route on march 28, 2010. pretty fun. the two roof sections are really the only hard moves on the entire route. there is a second bomber bolt at the roof on the second pitch. it is about two feet down and to the left of the old bolt, which does stick out about 2" from the rock. the new bolt seemed solid and provides a clean fall. the bolt on the second roof is solid and well positioned too. we rapped from the top of P5 using single rope rappels down to the top of P2. from there we did a single strand full length rappel to the ground and another party dropped the rope for us.

By fossana
From: Boulder, CO
Jan 24, 2011

re: direct start
~5.8; Takes smallish nuts including micros if you choose to belay directly below the P2 crux and want to back up the single bolt. There is a bolt out left near the top of the pitch which protects the traverse from the P1 anchor on the regular route, which I skipped.

By sqwirll
From: Las Vegas
Mar 8, 2011

That crappy bolt should be chopped. I don't know why whoever put in the other two bolts didn't take care of it. I would've chopped it myself, but didn't have anything with me.

By Tim Wolfe
From: Salt Lake City, UT
Nov 13, 2011
rating: 5.10- 6a 18 VI+ E1 5a

This route would be 4 stars if it either was more sustained or it didn't have the two cruxes and was an easier grade. Regardless the rock is beautiful black varnish for a few pitches with great moves, then very interesting though less solid rock through the 5.9 roof. I guess the crappy bolt is gone since I never clipped it. The crux is short and fun - couple quick boulder moves that I guess might be 5.10. I would not belay at the "first" belay - just step right from the initial crack out on the face far below and easily climb 5.5 face past a bolt to another bolt below the crux and put as many wires or small cams in as you like in the plated face.

By Andy Hansen
From: Longmont, Colorado
Mar 1, 2012
rating: 5.10- 6a 18 VI+ E1 5a

Climbed this today to the top of P4. The crappy bolt on P2 is gone. All that remains is a good condition bolt w/MadRock hanger. The climbing on this route is cruiser, the cruxes brief and very fun.

I climbed the normal start to P1 but it looks as if the "direct" version (straight below the crux roof on P2) has at least one bolt on it. To reduce rope drag on P2 it is advisable to just lead directly up to the roof and belay at the bolt (and bomber small nut placement) below the roof. The leader pulling the crux moves will be in your face unless you direct the belayer to the right (away from the leader's ass in case of a fall).

Pitch 5 did not look appealing and therefore I did not climb it. From the top of P4 we rapped with a 70m rope to the top of P3. From there we rapped to the anchors of Corona (5.10a) and then to the ground- but not without getting the rope stuck on the tree ledge. I had to lead back up to the anchors of P2, free the rope and bring up my second. Then we rapped back to the anchor of Corona and then to the ground.

So for rapping: (P5 to P4) P4 to P3, P3 to P2, short rap to the right to the anchors of Corona, Corona to Ground. Sounds like a lot of work but so is having two ropes.

By Brian
From: North Kingstown, RI
Apr 11, 2012
rating: 5.10- 6a 18 VI+ E1 5a

You can almost guarantee stuck ropes on this when rapping especially if you go to the top of the fifth pitch. I had to re-lead three times to get a stuck rope and I was rapping with a single. The route in is not worth climbing beyond the fourth pitch.

By Weston L
From: Summerlin, NV
Mar 11, 2013
rating: 5.10 6b 20 VII- E2 5b

Very fun climb, nice for those who want to cruise but get a few tougher moves interspersed.

Regarding the rappel, be prepared for stuck ropes. Cannot emphasize that enough...you have a low angle climb with lots of features and crack system punctuated by a few steep roof cruxes. Next time I do this thing, I'll probably run up Sunspot Ridge for a longer day.

By Tom Cecil
Mar 26, 2013

I put this route up in the late eighties with Mark Miner--We called it "The Girlfriend Route", --i like the name it ended up with better..

By SexPanther aka Kiedis
Nov 18, 2013

I replaced the bad bolts on pitch 1 and chopped the old ones more than a year ago. Careful rapping with a 70 can be done without snags but not the easiest route to rap in the dark. Use care. Route is fun and probably better than the general flavor from the comments would suggest.