Saturday, July 01, 2006

Shannahan Crags & The Slab

After the fun we had at the Harmon Cave, Matt and I couldn't wait to do more scrambling in the Flatirons. We researched the Flatiron Classics book by Gerry Roach and decided to try the Shannahan Crags. These crags provide over 600 feet of consistent scrambling.

How to get there: Don't park at the end of Hardscrabble Road as this book suggests, there is no longer public parking here. Instead continue past Hardscrabble and either park on Lehigh Street or Lafayette Drive. Take Broadway to Greenbriar. Greenbriar turns into Lehigh in Boulder.

Approach: Follow the South Shannahan Trail until it reaches the Mesa Trail. Make a right on the Mesa Trail for a couple hundred yards and turn left when you reach a nice park. If you follow this walk in the park you will avoid the steep canyons and scree and come out at the base of the crags. (We learned this the hard way, by going south on the Mesa Trail, then cutting up to the Sphinx. This forced a bush-whack over a steep canyon.)

The South Shannahan crag is a fun and exhilirating scramble. The small cliffs near the top are the crux, but aren't as hard as they look. The holds are fairly consistent and frequent. Lot's of fun.

The North Shannahan crag is a little more challenging. When Matt and I first approached it, we weren't sure it was it because of the difficulty. We continued on
to the Slab. We didn't know it was the Slab, but the climbing looked easier. Turns out the routes on the South end are rated 5.0. Matt went to the right on a route called Syzygy and I think I took Up and Left. A fall from here would be scary, but not fatal. The rock isn't too steep. We escaped from the top and took a long hike around the north end of the slab. The vegetation is thick on the front side of the slab and it took us a while to reach our staging area (and the water!)

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