Slabadabadoo! AD, 5.7, 350m, Drinnan Slabs

on Aug 21, 2016

Slabadabadoo is a very fun slab climb on good rock in a beautiful alpine setting. It is located in the center of the Drinnan Slab at the headwaters of Hoder Creek in the Southwest corner of Valhalla Provincial Park. The Southwest facing slab can easily be accessed via the Drinnan Pass trail. The route is a mixed bolt/trad protected climb composed of 8 x 50m pitches with bolted anchors.

Getting here

Turn off Highway 6 at either Passmore or Slocan City. Follow signs on gravel road for about 44 kilometres (27 mi). The final 2km of road may be rough. Fires and pets are not allowed. The Drinnan Pass trailhead elevation is at 1,615 metres (5,329 ft). It is approximately 2 hrs from Nelson or 1hr from Slocan City.

The Rock & Gear

Like most other Valhalla climbing venues, the rock in this area is a form of Gneiss. It is very compact and reminiscent of Granite however; it is well featured. The shallow angle of this slab route is in the 50 to 70-degree range. There are some thin and incipient crack features along the way providing protection.

The pitches are long and require route finding skills to read the route and anticipate the bolt locations. Good traditional gear can be found between bolts with skills and previous experience. Take one set of cams to 3” and doubles in the 0.1 to 0.4 range. A few small nuts are useful. Also bring 10 draws (including 5 extendible), 1 to 2 x 60m ropes, a helmet, personal carabiners, cords and slings.

Weather & Season

This route is located in the alpine environment so temperatures will be much cooler than in Nelson and sometimes the wind will make things even colder. Also, the surrounding ridges & peaks are good targets in the event of thunderstorms. Dress accordingly and adapt to the changing weather conditions.

The optimal season for this route is from mid July to late September. If you are planning to climb here outside of the suggested season, expect colder temperatures, wet rock and some snow at the base and/or on the descent.

Approach

From the trailhead, follow the Drinnan Pass trail for about 1.5km. After walking up for 30-35minutes the trail will emerge into a large open talus field. Continue along the trail and cross the talus field below Drinnan Slab. At the far side of the talus field, the trail crosses a seasonal stream directly below the lowest part of Drinnan Slab. From here, scramble up and left for 20m. The route starts from a wide sloping ledge 10m above the bottom of the slab. It is a 30-35-minute approach.

Descent options

It is possible to rappel the route with 2 rope however, the walk off is straightforward and recommended. From the flat grassy bench above Drinnan Slab, walk in a Northerly direction towards Drinnan Lake. From the northern edge of the bench, there are two parallel gullies leading steeply towards Drinnan Lake. The left (West) gully cliffs out partially down and is not recommended. Take the narrower right hand gully (East of the 1st one) and head down in a Northerly direction toward the right hand side of a large talus field. Cross the talus field and follow open glades towards the mount of Drinnan Lake. From Drinnan Lake, follow the Drinnan Pass trail downhill back to the Trailhead. 1 to 1.5hrs.

Overview Photo


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Route Description

Slabadabadoo, AD, 5.7, 350m (8 x 50m pitches), bolts & gear to 3”
FA: D. Lussier & Dave Tracz, August 2016

Starts from a wide slopping ledge 10m above the bottom of the slab. The route follows a vertical line in the center of Drinnan Slab just above the regular Drinnan Pass trail. The general climbing line goes straight up clean slabs just left (parallel) to a dark water streak spanning the entire slab.

  • P1. 55m, 5.5, 1 bolt & gear. Start from the right hand side of the wide sloping ledge near the bottom of the slab. Climb up trending right following diagonal flakes towards a small sloping left facing corner about 45m up from the belay. From the top of the small corner, clip a bolt and climb up and left across a smooth slab. Belay at a two bolt anchor in a gentle dish above the smooth slab.
  • P2. 50m, 5.6, 3 bolts & gear. Climb left across a slab and gain a shallow right facing corner/flake system. Climb this and continue up via a beautiful double orange dike past 3 bolts to some overlaps. Climb over the first overlap and belay at a two bolt anchor below a second one.
  • P3. 50m, 5.6, 3 bolts & gear. Climb past the overlap above the belay to a bolt. Continue up trending right passing another bolt to the right side of another overlap. Once above this, climb up trending left passing another bolt to a two bolt belay below a larger overlap.
  • P4. 50m, 5.7, 4 bolts & gear. Traverse right around the overlap then climb a vertical line on steeper featured slab passing four bolts. The last 15m of this pitch trend a little bit more to the right towards a descent stance and a two bolt anchor.
  • P5. 50m, 5.6, 3 bolts & gear. Climb past a small overlap above the belay and continue up trending right along featured slabs passing three bolts towards a left facing corner above a small tree. Climb the corner to a nice ledge and two bolt anchor above.
  • P6. 55m, 5.7, 3 bolts & gear. Climb the slab directly up above the belay passing a bolt trending left towards a slabby arête. Climb the beautiful arête passing 2 bolts to easier ground. Climb up and right via left facing cracks & flakes towards a dark overlap above. Traverse left under the dark overlap to the base of a dark right facing corner. From the base of this corner, step left on a nice clean wall and climb vertical crack features up and left to a good ledge and two bolt belay.
  • P7. 50m, 5.6, 2 bolts & gear. Climb up trending right on lower angle slabs passing one bolt to the right hand side of a large overlap below a treed area. From the right hand side of the overlap, climb up and left passing one bolt to the base of a vertical right facing corner system. Weave your way up the corner system passing a nice hand crack to a two bolt belay below a steep wall on a sloping ledge just right of the corner system.
  • P8. 50m, 5.6, 1 bolt & gear. Step left from the belay and continue up along the corner system just left of an arête to easier ground above. Climb easy slabs & cracks straight up and just right of a loose gully and the treed area. Belay at a two bolt anchor on a slopping ledge below an overhanging wall just right of the upper loose gully system.

Description & access info

Overview photo

From the last anchor, traverse left across the upper gully and scramble up trending left for 70m to a large flat grassy meadow area above Drinnan Slab. From here follow the descent route down to Drinnan Lake.

Of note, beware of loose blocks on the last few pitches. If dislodged these blocks could be a real hazard to folks walking along the trail below.

 

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