Saturday, July 14, 2007

Flatiron Scramble

Matt and I took a trip up to Boulder for a day of scrambling. Our goal was to climb Angel's Way which Gerry Roach's Flatiron Classics book describes as mostly F3 with a few F4 cruxes. F4 translates to a 5.0-5.2 climb, but we were going to see if we could make it over the cruxes without ropes.

We approached Angel's Way via the Skunk Canyon Trail as I understood from the book. I was glad we took this route for the adventure, but it is not the most direct approach to Angel's Way. Instead you should just go to NCAR and take that trail.

As it turns out the whole area around Angel's Way is blocked until July 31st for raptor nesting. So Matt and I decided to just head over to the Shanahan crags.

I was a bit disappointed because I thought I had thoroughly explored the Shanahans, but I was in for a pleasant surprise. Last year I had tried to climb the northern most Shanny, but it proved to difficult. This time we started farther north on the rock, just passed the Slab.

The scrambling on the second Shanahan is very similar to it's brother, but a little more intense. You can make it as hard as you want; well up to 5.1 I would say. The route is punctuated by a vertical cliff that looks climbable, but with ropes (see picture). Instead we traversed south for 100 yards and then back across polished rock to bypass the cliff. Matt went on up, but we weren't sure of a walk-off from the absolute top, so we decided to descend near the area of the cliff. We found an escape off the south side of the rock by passing under a chock stone (picture without people).

We then walked up and around this rock and found another piece of scrambling rock above the Shanahan. This proved to be fun easy scrambling to a nice summit. We planted a dead stump in the pothole at the top as our flag.

Walking off we found a very nice hidden cave on the south side of the Shanahan rock. It looks like a great place for a guy to bring his girl ;-)

We will be back in late August to attempt Angel's Way again. Stay tuned.

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