Saturday, August 07, 2010

Flatiron Fun 2010

El Camino Royale
 Went climbing in the Flatirons for the first time this summer on July 18, 2010.  Here's my favorite combination: El Camino Royale, Royal Arch, Hammerhead, Last Flatironette, and Fern Alley.  I thought I had the approach to El Camino Royale memorized from NCAR to the Mesa Trail, but I missed the start. 
Royal Arch Scrambler
Looking down Yodeling Moves
I was a little rusty on Yodeling Moves and got more confident on the Last Flatironette.  I also missed Fern Alley on this go.  I forgot that it is below the top of the Last.  I decided to descend the Tangen Tunnel Route.  I tip-toed around the poison ivy, and found my way down through the tunnel, but didn't find the wedding ring I lost last year.

Tangen Towers Problem
The next weekend I couldn't break free of work long enough to make it to Aspen, so back again to the Flatirons.  This time I didn't miss El Camino Royale and I even remembered not to stray too far left where I got in a pickle last year.

Last Flatironette

The start of the scramble up the royal arch is a bit of a puzzle, but it gets easier.  Next came the Hammerhead.  Their are two crux moves on yodeling moves. The one just below the arch is a bit too smooth.

To start the Last Flatiron look to the left of the tree at the base and go up the ledge.  You can climb the tree, but the ledge is more fun.  Let the exposure on the top exhilarate you.


The start of Fern Alley is just below the Last Flatironette.  Fern alley's lemon squeezers are not for the portly climber, but are quite fun.
Fern Alley

Ali-Ali and the Raven Ridge

Matt Holy Cross
Matt and I biked some new trails at the lunch loop in Grand Junction: ali-ali and the raven ridge.  Larry caught up to us after descending the Ribbon.
A quick scramble

We then took on the Holy Cross trail once again.  Larry has mastered this most difficult trail, but I crashed twice.  I was also a bit timid after rolling my ATV last month.  I'm just now healing up.
Larry cleans the cross

Matt did an excellent job on Larry's old but sweet Marin.  It is cool that every time I head to GJ they have built more trails out there.  Next time, maybe Miramonte.
Ledge to big?

Castle and Conundrum

Dalton below Castle

Dalton and I left town on Friday afternoon and camped on the Aspen side of Independence Pass.  A cop came by and told us we weren't supposed to camp along the road, but as long as we were gone by early morning we could stay.

glissade from ridge to lake
We crossed the creek and parked at a nice camp site below the two water falls.  We started the tedious hike up the road.  The creek was flowing down the road at one point.  Just past the end of the road we engaged a fun snow climb.  Crampons weren't needed, but we had to kick steps a couple of times.
Dalton Class 4

As you enter the basin we encountered the nasty switchbacks up to ridge.  The rock is loose and the way a bit steep.  Once on the ridge it was a more enjoyable with Class 2+ goings.  We strayed of the ridge proper, so Dalton found a Class 4 arete and I went up a nasty loose gully.  We gained the summit and had it to ourselves for quite awhile.
We decided to bag Conundrum too, so we started to cross the connecting ridge.  The ridge turned out to be very windy and cold.  After hopping rocks to get to the Conundrum summit, we turned back to get to the large snowfield on the Gary Roach approach.
Dalton on lower glissade

The glissade started off a bit through the rocks.  We tried to keep enough snow under us to surf over the rock field.  The glissade below was a swift slope of fun.  This mountain has more glissade available after you cross the lake basin.  Very fun glissading down to the road.  There were people sliding without ice axe or even poles, but luckily nobody got hurt.  Of course after my Sherman encounter, I always take an axe.

After slogging back down the road, we took a nap at our nice camp.  That night I won the hot dog eating contest.  We didn't want to leave any food out, since there were bears in the area. 

Obligatory Maroon Bell Shot
Sunday we took a trip up to Marble then took a nice long soak in the Penny Hot Springs.  Dalton had a great time trying to get his rock wall just right to get the hotness dialed in.  That night Dalton got sick on a mushroom burger at Little Annies.  The next morning we had planned to climb Pyramid, but decided to just go to Maroon Lake to take a look at the Bells after he had a long night of puking.