Classic Climb: East Slab of the Dome

As you head into Boulder Canyon, the first series of rocks you pass on the right includes the Elephant Buttresses and the Dome. The Dome is one of the most popular formations in Boulder, with excellent moderate climbs on smooth granite. On the right side of the formation is one of the best beginner routes in the Boulder area, the East Slab (5.6).

East Slab includes a little of everything, from a tricky start in a corner to crack climbing to some friction moves to a small roof at the top. The climb can be done in one or two pitches, and from the top, you walk off to the right and hike back down to the start. It is also possible to setup a toprope on the route.

To start, cross the stream and hike up to the right side of the base of The Dome. The climb is above you, a series of shallow cracks in the main face. Start up the tricky dihedral that goes at 5.6 using hand jams and stem moves, or move up a little and climb in from the right at 5.5. From the end of the crack, move up and left, and pull onto the face, following a hand and fist crack until it peters out in the middle of the face. Step right and do some friction moves until you pick up a series of bucket holds that take you to the shallow overhang. Pull up using hand jams going out to the right, and belay at a huge tree. Walk off from there.

Be aware that The Dome faces due south, and in the middle of summer can get scorching hot. I remember trying to do a route there in mid-afternoon in July and finding it too hot to climb. However, the southern exposure makes it a great climb to do on warmer spring and fall days, or as an early morning warmup or early evening after-work climb in summer.

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