East Face Left
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Warren Teissier cranking the 5.7 roof, East Face ...
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This is the longest route on the Third Flatiron, and one of the best. The climbing is similar to the Standard Route, although it is nearly twice as long and there are no fixed eye bolts, and no crowds. Due to a general lack of protection and fixed belays, this is not a good route for beginners. Once my wife and I were climbing and a thunderstorm hit us near the roof, and we endured a pounding while hunting for rappel anchors (we were able to get off by leaving only 2 slings).
Leave the Royal Arch Trail about a hundred yards past the Bluebell Creek crossing, thrash down into the creek and cross it, heading up a hill to the base of the face. You can also leave the trail before the creek crossing, but I find this bushwhack worse, and it is harder to navigate to the face. Make sure you do not end up under the Third Flatironette, which is a separate, small Flatiron before you get to the main face.
The start of the route is marked by a rounded rib of rock that angles north below the main east face. Head up this rib, then start straight up the east face towards an overhang which extends across the entire left side of the east face (visible in the lower left corner of the photo below).
You will reach the overhang in about 2 pitches. You can either run around the overhang on the left (south) 5.5, or tackle it directly at 5.7. There are several cracks visible in the overhang, take whichever one looks best to you (we took the left one). There is an ancient bolt with an aluminum hangar about 40' below the right hand roof crack (we didn't climb near it).
Continue upwards near the left edge of the east face for about 500 feet. This section is easier (maybe 5.2), but there is very little pro available. Expect to get in one 2 or 3 pieces a pitch, and choose your belays carefully. Eventually you will reach a rounded summit, the Dog's Head. This point is only about 50' south of the standard route and you will likely hear and see other climbers on this route.
From the Dog's Head, step across onto the next piece of the Third Flatiron, and climb up 120' or so to join the regular route where it crosses the Gash to Kiddy Kar ledge. The last pitch is the same as for the regular route.
Warren Teissier just before reaching the Dog's Hea...
BETA PHOTO: Runout in the middle of the climb
Looking north from top of fifth pitch, the standar...
Tony Bubb starts up the steep section at the botto...
Tony Bubb higher up on the endless slabs of the Ea...
A shot of the back side of the Third Flatiron. Th...
Showing the approach to the 5.7 roof.
From the top of the 3rd, did the east face left. A...
Looking East from the top. Well worth the effort!
TJ at the top, after a great fall climb.
Nothin' like a little rain/wind/thunder to spice u...
|Comments on East Face Left
|By Warren Teissier|
Jan 10, 2002
The route George and I followed (Roach's description) runs left of the route shown in the scanned picture. We were 3 to 20 feet from the left arete for most of the way.
Also, there are a couple of ways of climbing the roof directly. The bolt mentioned in the 3rd picture (I thought it was a piton) protected the weakness on the right side of the roof. We went for the crack on the left (no piton but good pro). Of course, you can by-pass the roof to the left thus dropping the rating from 5.7 to 5.5.
|By shad O'Neel|
Aug 11, 2002
What a grand scramble. We did the right of two cracks, didnt see a bolt here, but did belay from an old funky thing about 160' off the ground. The slab before the roof seemed trickier than thre roof itself which had a horizontal splitter that took good gear. We simul-climbed a lot since there wasn't a good belay very often, and that was nice. Such good views of Willy B and The Thing. The best pitch required running it out about 150' on a stellar hueco ladder. I thought the left crack looked way harder than the right, but to each their own.
From: Boulder, co
Aug 18, 2006
The route is 7 pitches with 60-m rope. I agree with Warren, the route goes near the left edge of the face. The edge has some good gear and exciting exposure. Half-way up, the edge has the bolted top anchor of a sport-climb (Shoyu State). There are adequate belays (at least 2 bomber pieces) on every pitch, just don't use up all cams of the same size during the pitch... We used a lot of Aliens and a few nuts, and we wished we had a #2 Cam several times (only brought up to #1). To overcome the overhang, the right crack is easier. The worst runout is in the middle of the climb.
|By Andrew May|
From: Sandy, UT
Aug 29, 2007
Fun climb if you're willing to run it out. Great views of Boulder. Beware of the afternoon storms!
|By Joey Wolfe|
Oct 25, 2007
This was my first big free solo, and a on-sight. I followed a friend who took a shot of me totally gripped on the last bit were it ease off but turns into a total friction climb. I'll never forget it.
|By TJ Quirk|
From: Parker, CO
Nov 29, 2009
Marc and I hiked to the 'traditional route'. But there were four parties on the bolted route, another party 40 feet left, and two more waiting to depart. So we headed for the East Left Face. We rappelled (full 30 meters) off the dead tree to the gully (right of the 3rd Flatiron), and hiked to the lowest part of the east face. It's slightly around the corner (left) from any human activity. For the first 700 feet of the left face, didn't see any of the crowd. The crux of the 5.5 is traversing left around the roof. But there is decent cam placement in the under cling. The rappel down might have the best signage in the country! We're going back to do the 5.7 roof next time!
|By Scott McMahon|
From: Boulder, CO
Feb 14, 2010
In response to Warren's comment, I believe there is a ring piton when you hit the roof, then if you traverse right there is a bolt about 1/2 way. It's been a while, so don't rely on that beta, but I remember being happy clipping both.
Aug 18, 2011
Hey guys, I was planning on free soloing it tomorrow, never done it before, but two questions,
1. do I need a rope for raping off or is there a walk off/chill downclimb to where I don't have to downclimb the whole thing if I don't bring a rope?
2. anyone wanna go? I'll be headed out that way around noonish, just moved back to the Front Range and lookin' for some chill people to climb with.
|By George Bell|
From: Boulder, CO
Aug 19, 2011
You can downclimb the SW chimney, see the description under that route. I've done it, but I prefer to bring a rope and rap because there is one spot that is a little slippery and holdless. I don't free solo any route except the Standard Route any more.
|By Bosier Parsons|
From: Colorado Springs, CO
Nov 26, 2011
I climbed this on Tuesday, 11/22/11, with Jason King. It was my first time on the Third, and I can't believe it took me so long to get on it. We climbed the 5.7 roof, which has an old bolt right below it. I recommend this variation. Just pull up on some good edges and get your left foot up high and out left. We simul-climbed the whole route in one long pitch in about 45 minutes, and then down-climbed off the side/back to get off. Super fun and highly recommended as a traditional belayed route, simul-climb, or free-solo. Enjoy!
|By Kyle Judson|
Dec 25, 2011
Made an attempt on the east face left Dec. 16th. We post-holed through knee deep to get there. Started our climb with small ice falling on us (nothing too dangerous, so we went for it). There was a serious amount of ice on the route. After leading the first pitch on 4 pieces of gear, I set a belay under the 5.7 roof. The second pitch we traversed right to the Standard Route and bailed off to the East Side Beach due to the amount of ice on the route. This route is already run-out, but when the cracks you want to protect are filled with ice, you can imagine how it was. All in all, it was a good "mini epic".
|By matt matera|
Oct 10, 2012
I am curious to know if any one has any idea how long the pitches are after the roof but before the gash. I am not concerned about the runout or lack of gear but would prefer not to simul-climb and would like to know how and where the belay stations are.