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Challenger
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East Face/Challenger T 
S.C.R.U.B. T 

East Face/Challenger 

YDS: 5.4 French: 4a Ewbanks: 12 UIAA: IV ZA: 10 British: VD 3c R

   
Type:  Trad, 2 pitches
Consensus:  YDS: 5.4 French: 4a Ewbanks: 12 UIAA: IV ZA: 10 British: VD 3c [details]
FA: Gerry and Barb Roach, 1969
Page Views: 1,813
Submitted By: George Bell on Jul 19, 2001

You & This Route  |  Other Opinions (14)
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The final unprotected section from a belay at the ...

Climbing areas reopened after flood MORE INFO >>>

Description 

This is one of my favorite Flatiron routes, although the approach is substantial. Consider combining this with a route on the Fourth Flatiron, Green Mountain Pinnacle or Willie B. This is a great route to free solo if you are solid; there is very little pro in any case and even a roped fall would be serious.

P1. Start in the saddle between Green Mountain Pinnacle and Challenger, and follow the East Face to the top of the Spaceship. You can belay at a tree in the middle after crossing a smooth slab.

P2. Above this, climb for the most part just left of the arete formed by the east and northeast faces (often you can use the arete as a handhold). The position is spectacular and exposed, and the climbing is sustained. There is a crack for pro 60' below the top, but after that you will have to run it out. The hardest and most exposed moves are right below the summit.

Drink in the summit view. To descend, continue west along an arete until you reach a saddle where you can scramble down either side of the formation.

Protection 

Light rack to 2".


Photos of East Face/Challenger Slideshow Add Photo
Warren climbing above the highest tree, with the chimney splitting Green Mtn Pinnacle obvious below.
Warren climbing above the highest tree, with the c...
Looking down the ridge from the summit as Buzz sprints up the final section.
Looking down the ridge from the summit as Buzz spr...
Tony Bubb nearing the top.
Tony Bubb nearing the top.
P2.
P2.
Looking down the fun splitter crack on the left side of the east face.  The little tree down and to the left of the crack marks the point at which you need to make a couple thin face moves to stem into the base of the crack.
BETA PHOTO: Looking down the fun splitter crack on the left si...
Jason Antin heads solo up the East Face of Challenger.  Wade Morris and Sam not far behind.  Nice link up of 5 Flatirons before 8am.
Jason Antin heads solo up the East Face of Challen...

Comments on East Face/Challenger Add Comment
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By Tom Hanson
Oct 5, 2001

I was up there several years ago and I agree, this is a fun outing. I recall seeing what appeared to be, at that time, an unfinished sport route on its' west face. It is a huecoed wall, which I did, but found it very run out above the last bolt. This led me to believe that it was a work in progress. I don't think I have seen it in any guidebooks. Any feedback on this would be greatly appreciated.
By Andrew Klein
Jan 2, 2002

I mistakenly soloed this route which I thought was the third tier of the 4th Flatiron a few years ago. I've soloed a lot of the easier flatiron routes (5.4 or below) and this one is certainly the scariest of the bunch, as the last moves before the summit are somewhat licheny and flaky and the steepest on the route. Exhilarating summit and view!
By Leo Paik
Administrator
From: Westminster, Colorado
Mar 31, 2002

A 60m rope is nice cause there ain't much pro on top to belay so I downclimbed a bit to find pro. Stretched it out 60m on P2.
By Leo Paik
Administrator
From: Westminster, Colorado
Oct 1, 2002

Two stars is probably more accurate. The climbing quality is okay. The position is quite good. It does not measure up to mega classics in the Flatirons like the Direct East Face/1st Flatiron, Standard East Face/3rd Flatiron, East Ridge/Maiden, Velvet Elvis/Ironing Boards. It is more of the quality of the NE Ridge/5th Flatiron, East Face Right/Seal Rock, Dinosaur Tracks/Dinosaur Rock, Beserker/Red Devil.
By XOG
Mar 15, 2004

I think it's one of the cooler flatirons, especially when combined with various ways to climb to the summit ridge of g. mtn. from the mesa trail (regency slab to royal arch to the 1st and 2nd pieces of the 4th to G. Mtn pinnacle to Challenger), or from the royal arch trail (yodeling moves to rhs variation to 1st piece of the 4th, then as above). Once at the summit ridge, it's nice to head north and connect to the h.l. greenman trail as it descends from the summit. I think this skirts an access closure area though so be careful. I think the key is to stay to the west so as not to stray into the ironing boards closure. Any additional detail on this would be appreciated. As far as I know though challenger and all the pieces of the 4th are definitely open.
By George Bell
From: Boulder, CO
Apr 16, 2004

We roped up for this route today using a 100' rope and discovered it is exactly 110' from the horizontal crack to the summit (and another 10-20' to a belay anchor). There is no gear in this section, so if you take a rope take a longer one! A #3 Camalot works well in the horizontal crack, but a #2 fits farther left, this also makes a good belay ledge. I believe its about 150' from the ground to this horizontal crack. (it is about 30' above the highest tree)
By Warren Teissier
Apr 16, 2004

To complement George's comment above: the crux of the climb comes at exactly 100 ft above the horizontal crack anchor... no pro in between...

This one has a high pucker factor, Pheeew!

Very nice though.

WT
By Paul Kemp
From: Boulder, CO
Oct 1, 2008

Intimidating to do w/out protection as Andrew noted above. Given the exposure at the very top, I found it to be a headier free-solo than many east face routes in the 5.6 range (i.e. The Back Porch, The Tiny Tower, The Thing, The First Flatiron, etc.).
By Aaron Martinuzzi
Aug 15, 2009

A fun variation to the start of the route follows a wide-ish groove with a couple trees in it on the left side of the east face to start, and at about 90' makes a delicate move left on a couple pebbles to a great splitter finger crack that opens to hands and lasts about 25 feet. The crack is easy, maybe 5.4, but the couple moves into it are very thin, 5.7/8-? They scared me a bit, but are likely easier. At the end of the crack, follow a rising horizontal break to the right side of the face and climb up the ridge as for the normal route.
By Julius Beres
From: Boulder, CO
Apr 18, 2010
rating: 5.5 4b 13 IV+ 11 MS 4a R

I went the way Aaron describes. The move left into the splitter crack is definitely delicate, but it isn't 5.7/8. I didn't bother placing pro until the crack, and I wouldn't make a 5.8 move without gear ;) I would say 5.6 at most, if that. No worse than some of the moves on the first pitch of East Face Direct of the 1st.

We belayed by the tree to the right of the end of the crack. I recommend not going all the way right to the tree. There is a little ledge at the top of the splitter crack with space for good gear... much more comfortable than by the tree.

From the tree, I went to the top and had a bit of rope left over with a 70m rope after going down the back side a few feet to sling a horn for an anchor. It would be a stretcher with a 60m. I placed regular gear until the horizontal crack, from which point it was 100' or so to the top. I thought the crux was about 10-15' below the top, and then it got easier again as you got to the top.

It is definitely psychological. It isn't climbed much, so there is a lot of lichen and you are way above your protection. That being said, I think the holds on the arete were often very good and so I did not think the difficulty was as high as East Face Direct of the 1st.

We did this and there was still some snow and lots of fallen trees on the ground today. The approach was less than obvious and took significantly longer than the 15-20 minutes from the Royal Arch trail to reach the pinnacle that is written in the description here. From the top, we decided not to go down, but instead continued up to the summit of Green Mountain and then took the trail down from there.... A long day for two pitches of very nice climbing.