Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Flatirons - Mohling Arete

The weather was warm and sunny on October 25, 2008 in the Boulder area, so Dalton and I took advantage by heading to the Flatirons for a scramble. The goal was to climb Angel's Way, a scramble with a couple of 5.0 cruxes in Skunk Canyon. You can approach Skunk Canyon by parking at NCAR and hiking North on the Mesa Trail about 100 yards past the bottom of the canyon.

Having never hiked in this canyon before, we weren't sure of the exact location of Angel's Way. It turns out that we had hiked past Angel's Way and climbed the Mohling Arete instead. Mohling Arete is described as mostly scrambling punctuated by a 5.5 crux by Gerry Roach.

We started the climb on the North face of the arete using small holds to gain the ridge (photo 1). Once on the ridge the scrambling gets easier, but the prospect of no easy escapes makes the climbing thrilling. After the first pitch you come to a small notch. It won't be the last. We decided to leap across this notch to the other side.

After some more Class 3 climbing (photo 2) you reach another notch. This one will test your route finding skills. Here's the hint: look to the left for a tree. The slings on this tree tell you this is the right way to go. The downclimb is rated 5.4 (photo 3).

We decided to end our climb here since at the time we weren't sure we would get another opportunity to escape. We downclimbed through a lemon squeezer (okay chimney - photo 4) and hiked back to the truck.

The Mohling Arete continues up with a couple more notches and a 5.5 headwall. I would love to return to this rock now that I know it's secrets. But first I think I will tackle Angel's Way. So many rocks and hopefully as many sunny weekends.