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Trip Report    

Basic Alpine Climb - Slippery Slab Tower/Northeast Face

Beware of bees on the Surprise Creek trail! Slab is slippery when wet and requires awkward bypass

  • Road suitable for all vehicles
  • Trail leading from Hope Lake trailhead to Trap Pass is muddy in places but has many blueberries and huckleberries.

    Trail from Trap Pass to Surprise Creek trailhead has many aggressively stinging bees.

Dropped a car at Surprise Creek trailhead and proceeded to Hope Lake trailhead. Trail is generally in good condition except for some muddy sections. Trail is not very steep anywhere. No snow.

From Trap Pass, the trail to Slippery Slab goes to the left and is obvious.  The trail goes through a boulder field below Slippery Slab (and continues beyond). Traverse the boulder field in any manner and aim for the side of the mountain where the grassy slope meets it about halfway up. When standing at the base, the gully is easily visible, but not before. The first move off the ground is class 3/4 and the rest is class 2/3 until the belay tree around which there are slings and rappel rings. We added another sling. We set a handline for the gully, but it doesn't seem necessary. There was a large loose rock near the top, but otherwise the gully was OK.

From here, the climbing route seems to go up the open book where there is no lichen (but we're not sure). It drizzled for most of the approach and was overcast until we were on route, so the slab was very slippery and unclimbable. We ended up climbing on the face and arête climber's right of it, which has lichen on it and was awkward and loose. A handhold broke off while doing so, and going this way led to an awkward downclimb back into the open book. This way was not fun, and what seemed to be the normal route is unclimbable if wet.

Belayed from the rappel station (boulder) and set a handline to the summit. The walk to the summit is class 2/3, but quite exposed.

From Trap Pass, we descended to Surprise Lake and returned via Surprise Creek to do a loop trip. On the way out, all but one of us got stung by bees at various points along the trail.

10.5 hours car-to-car