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For the Tick-List: Slab Alley 5.9, Six Pitches, in Squamish

We'll be highlighting classic routes across Canada for you to add to your tick-list in 2022

Slab Alley was first climbed Jim Baldwin and Tony Cousins in 1961 as the first route up the Apron and it’s become a must-climb Apron route, which many climbers skip over for the more classic Diedre or Banana Peel. However, this should be on your Squamish tick-list.

Why? The climbing is engaging, the protection is spaced, there’s a fun traverse, it keeps you on your toes and there are a number of funky runnel-style groove sections. One of those groove sections is called The Elephant Steps because of their step-like rounded shapes.

The grade has shifted upwards over the years from the original 5.6 to 5.8R and 5.9. It seems most agree that the climbing is equal to hard 5.8 or 5.9 slab.

You can begin under the far right side of the Apron or start as for Banana Peel and continue along the traverse ledge to a two-bolt belay near the walk-off forest. From here, you climb slab bulges passing three bolts on technical 5.9 terrain. Then you head left past a bolt and into the runnels.

From a tree belay, you continue up slabs and more runnels clipping the spaced hardware and following the obvious cleaner-than-the-rest-of-the-slab foot and hand “holds.”

The last pitch climbs past a bolt to a tricky crux before ending at Broadway Ledge. The original finish of the route climbed Boomstick Crack.

Either walk off Broadway Ledge down the Apron descent or continue to the upper Buttress. A full description can be found in one of the many Squamish climbing guidebooks that you can find at the new Climb On store in town.

If you’re heading for the Apron and there are lineups on the often-climbed routes, just keep heading right and jump on this classic Canadian slab climb.

The Elephant Steps Photo Brandon Pullan