A practice cliff near and dear to my heart.
Every time I head Jasper way, north up the 93, I get a easy wave of nostalgia pass through me when my family and I pass this slab in a blink of an eye twenty-some kilometers south of town.
I had lived on-site at Becker’s Chalets just north up the road for a few years and when I could not make it out to the Rock Gardens or Hidden Valley with a partner, I would hop on my bike and pedal south with a rucksack of climbing gear – especially my prized Shunt device – to solo top rope the smooth slab above the highway.
Toss the bike in the ditch, hike around the side of the road cut and make a suspect downclimb to a very suspect bush that was the closest anchor to the slab. It was rooted around a lot of sand but itself never budged back then, not sure how it would be as it still is there as of 2015. It looked very dodgey as a top anchor back then, but when you are starting out in your younger naive years of rock climbing, your sense of acceptable safety may be in serious question!
I have no idea when this slab was very played on, likely in the 60s or 70s judging from the super rusted out rivets that were once here and had since vanished even as early as 1992. What was left of each rivet I crimped across back then was like a rusted nail, yet coming out of rock., and barely visible from the road. Did they shear off in a fall, get chopped and hangers stolen(albeit bad homemade hangers as the rivets were 1/4″‘ers not 3/8″).
There was never top anchors or if there was they did a good job concealing them. So they too must have used this scary, ugly bush, or maybe I am the only fool, and they dragged their ropes up to the far trees with a sling?
I can’t really condone climbing in this day and age at Wabasso Slab, I mention it only as a piece of history that I sure wish I knew more about, would like to know who installed those rivet bolts, I have a feeling it would be a fun talk about a very obscure chunk of rock. Seriously there is some bad un-attentive drivers with wildlife and such that tossing Wabasso Slab into the mix. Well, its truly up to you.
Wabasso Slab is not super easy to climb on and all the holds are imaginative and you get to use mantling lots here and serious smearing technique. Boulder it at least and see how fun it is! I have done laps all over this slab and was a wonderful classroom for learning slab climbing in a controlled(well not the top anchor!) environment. I am cherished to put it on my resume! I introduced a few people to it and they found it challenging. Good memories.