Sunday, July 09, 2006
The Second Flatiron
Yesterday Matt and I took a trip to the second flatiron. As our confidence grows, we have started scrambling on a few Class 4 rocks. We approached this flatiron from Chautauqua Park and like last time took the wrong trail initially. We took the West Side trail which cuts off most of the scramble.
We still managed to get in a couple hundred yards of climbing in a steady drizzle. By staying on the north west ridge you can escape to the north in many spots. It is a fun scramble and with fewer holds than El Camino Royale, it makes route finding a good mental drill.
After a second go at this ridge, Matt and I decided to find the true nadir of the face as Richard Rossiter describes in Rock Climbing the Flatirons. I didn't know the definition of nadir: the lowest point of anything. Well we found the nadir, but by then the drizzle had turned into full blown rain. Even the flatirons turn into slickrock in the rain. The other definition of nadir seemed appropriate in this case: an extreme state of adversity.
We decided to give it a try anyway, and started climbing. There were a couple of tricky spots and Matt's tennis shoes did not grip as well as my 5.10's. We made it up about half way on the climb called Freeway. There are no easy escape routes here, but Matt and I downclimbed a small gulley which ended in a nasty crack climb. Muddy and wet, we inched our way down to safer climbing. Quite fun.
With the rain steady on, we decided to not push our luck further and instead just hike on up to the Royal Arch. Matt climbed his west side under chimney again. Our climbing on the second was to the right and below the large block called the pullman car in this photo.