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First Flatiron

Routes Sorted
L to R R to L Alpha
Atalanta T 
Baker's Way T 
Butterfly T 
Direct Route T 
Dumais Direct T 
East Face Gully T 
East Face North Side/1st Flatiron T 
Fandango T 
Fandango Variation T 
First in Flight T 
Hubris T 
Kamikaze Overhangs T 
Massugu T 
North Arete T 
Red Slab Variation T 
Southwest Face T 
Way of the Ancients T 
Yellow Brick Road T 
Zig Zag T 

First Flatiron  


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Location: 39.9908, -105.2928 View Map  Incorrect?
Page Views: 339,527
Administrators: Ben Mottinger, Leo Paik, John McNamee, Frances Fierst, Monomaniac, Kristine Hoffman (sitewide)
Submitted By: Ben Mottinger on Jan 1, 2001
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BETA PHOTO: 0 Far Right, 2. 1 Direct E Face, 6R. 1a Butterfly,...

Climbing areas reopened after flood MORE INFO >>>

Description 

The First is a huge Flatiron with many good face routes starting from the bottom to the top of the East side. It's probably the 2nd largest Flatiron overall. The climbing is longer and more varied than the Third with huge flakes, dihedrals, and the rollercoaster ridge. Climbs range from about 4-10 pitches. Virtually every climb is a quality line. There is adventure and there are crowds. A 60m rope is nice for these routes, especially for the rappel.

On a rare winter, you can even find an ice climb here....

Getting There 

From Chautauqua Park (W on Baseline, near 9th, off US 36), take the diagonalling "Chautauqua Trail" from the parking lot. At the trail intersection once in the trees, go briefly south (L), then follow signs (R) for the 1st Flatiron to the base. Depending on which route you're going to do, either take the wooden bridge to the base (routes starting near the nadir) or stay on the trail and keep hiking up the hill to the left to another trail that leads to access for climbs that start higher on the East face (e.g. Fandango). Approaches range from 20-40 minutes for the casual walker.

Climbing Season



Weather station 2.3 miles from here

19 Total Routes

['4 Stars',1],['3 Stars',10],['2 Stars',8],['1 Star',0],['Bomb',0]
['<=5.6',13],['5.7',2],['5.8',3],['5.9',0],['5.10',0],['5.11',1],['5.12',0],['5.13',0],['>=5.14',0],['',0],['<=V1',0],['V2-3',0],['V4-5',0],['V6-7',0],['V8-9',0],['V10-11',0],['V12-13',0],['>=V14',0]

The Classics

Mountain Project's determination of some of the classic, most popular, highest rated routes for First Flatiron:
Southwest Face   5.0 2- 4 I 6 MM 1c     Trad   
East Face North Side/1st Flatiron   5.2 3 8 II 8 D 2c R     Trad, 5 pitches   
Atalanta   5.3 3+ 10 III 9 VD 3a     Trad, Grade II   
Baker's Way   5.3 3+ 10 III 9 VD 3a     Trad   
North Arete   5.4 4a 12 IV 10 VD 3c     Trad, 5 pitches   
Fandango   5.5 4b 13 IV+ 11 MS 4a     Trad, 4 pitches   
Way of the Ancients   5.5 4b 13 IV+ 11 MS 4a R     Trad, 3 pitches, 500'   
Fandango Variation   5.6 4c 14 V 12 S 4b     Trad, 6 pitches   
Direct Route   5.6 4c 14 V 12 S 4b R     Trad, 10 pitches   
Butterfly   5.6 4c 14 V 12 S 4b R     Trad   
Zig Zag   5.7 5a 15 V+ 13 MVS 4b     Trad, 5 pitches   
Yellow Brick Road   5.7 5a 15 V+ 13 MVS 4b R     Trad, 6 pitches, 1000'   
Dumais Direct   5.8 5b 16 VI- 15 HVS 4c R     Trad, 6 pitches, 1000'   
Red Slab Variation   5.8 5b 16 VI- 15 HVS 4c R     Trad, 7 pitches, 1000'   
Kamikaze Overhangs   5.8 5b 16 VI- 15 HVS 4c     Trad, Grade II   
Browse More Classics in First Flatiron

Featured Route For First Flatiron
Francis on Fandango's 1st pitch.

Fandango 5.5 4b 13 IV+ 11 MS 4a  CO : Flatirons : ... : First Flatiron
Start about 1/3 of the way up the east face to the left of the huge left-facing dihedral that arcs up the face. To get there, continue up the trail past the bridge at the base of the First Flatiron. About 60 yards up the trail, there is a faint trail running straight up, marked by a small cairn 10 yards above the trail. Scramble up this trail about 200 hundred feet. Look for a junction (there are several) that you can get over the rock to your right, so that you are traveling at the base of the...[more]   Browse More Classics in CO

Local Information for First Flatiron
Photos of First Flatiron Slideshow Add Photo
The first and second from the top of the Third.  O...
The first and second from the top of the Third. O...
The "FIRST" and a junk car?
The "FIRST" and a junk car?
From the summit, 9/5/10, shortly after the fires b...
From the summit, 9/5/10, shortly after the fires b...
On the last "false summit" tower.
On the last "false summit" tower.
Rapping off the summit.
BETA PHOTO: Rapping off the summit.
Solo down-climbing off the summit.
BETA PHOTO: Solo down-climbing off the summit.
This is my impression of the Dumas Direct (5.8R), ...
BETA PHOTO: This is my impression of the Dumas Direct (5.8R), ...
First Flatiron. Photo by Blitzo.
First Flatiron. Photo by Blitzo.
First from the Third.
BETA PHOTO: First from the Third.
Mike on False Summit of 1st Flatiron Direct East R...
Mike on False Summit of 1st Flatiron Direct East R...
The Third Flatiron from Fandango.
The Third Flatiron from Fandango.
Start of the downclimb.
Start of the downclimb.
My dad six pitches later.
My dad six pitches later.
The ridgeline somewhere off of First Direct/Baker'...
The ridgeline somewhere off of First Direct/Baker'...
6 in the morning and a sweet day of climbing ahead...
6 in the morning and a sweet day of climbing ahead...
First & sunset.
First & sunset.

Comments on First Flatiron Add Comment
Show which comments
Comments displayed oldest to newestSkip Ahead to the Most Recent Dated Oct 26, 2014
By J. Thompson
From: denver, co
Feb 10, 2002
If you solo this route in winter, TAKE A ROPE! I once had to down climb the east face when I found 3 foot ice sickles and snow all over the final summit block! I couldn't climb up to get to the down climb. What an adventure, f... I love climbing!
By Aaron Shupp
Feb 14, 2002
A few summers ago there was a severe bee problem on the summit block. It is possible to avoid the nests by climbing straight up and to the left instead of circling up the ramp to the right. This requires a few slightly more difficult and committing moves than the standard top out.
By Bryson Slothower
Apr 24, 2002
As of 04/19/02 there was a bee nest on the first pitch with lots of unhappy looking bees.
By Anonymous Coward
Jun 1, 2002
While roping up to climb the East Face yesterday a very big lion was checking us out from the top of the Macbeth boulder. We started the climb and watched park rangers try to chase it away, to no avail. The approach and descent trails from the First Flatiron were all closed. We had to bushwack down the boulderfield to the descent trail for the Third. $1000 fee if you are caught on a closed trail. The cat did not bother us but it did make the rangers very nervous and they yelled at us multiple times not not come back to the base. Also, a cloud of bees at least the size of an SUV was roaming over the bottom pitches of the East Face. It got very close to us and the sound was pretty incredible. Lots of fun.
By Luu
Jul 23, 2002
What an amazing climb, I just did the 1st flatiron direct route! First pitch was my favourite, definitely a waker-upper. Back at work now, can't believe that as I type this, 24 hours ago I was up on the big headwall. *sigh* Reality beckons!

John Luu (Didn't feel like registering)
By Kevin Currigan
From: Lakewood
Aug 30, 2002
I was coming down the Saddle Rock Trail from the 1st today and about 200 yds. from the Gregory Canyon trailhead I met up with a bear. She was 30 yards away and looking down the trail. She didn't even know I was there until I spotted her; impressive animal. She took off down the trail and stopped about 15 yds. further down then turned and watched me. She apparently wasn't going anywhere. So, I chucked a couple of rocks grenade style into bush about ten yds. left of her. That sent her downhill into the bush. I was sure to make a lot of noise all the way to the trailhead. This is a nice alternative to the trail down the east side of the 1st.
By Tom Wilson
Oct 14, 2002
We were up there Saturday (10/12/02) and did the rap in two parts, using the standard second fixed rap point on the south side. This is a single old, large eyebolt.

We did not back up the eyebolt, but I watched it as Bryan rapped first... and THE TOP OF THE RAP ANCHOR MUST HAVE FLEXED 1/4 INCH!!

I do not know how deep these bolts are placed in the rock, or what the bolts are like. It's difficult to back this bolt up easily, but I recommend it. Backing up fixed anchors is always a good idea, and especially this one!
By James Garnett
From: Bellingham, WA
Jul 12, 2003
This is a popular rock now; get an early start on summer weekends unless you enjoy crowds on the summit ridge!
By flynn
Oct 14, 2003
Another descent option if you don't have a 60m rope is to downclimb the south face route. This is 5.1. It starts going down the west face right below the rappel bolt. Reach the monster ledge about 30 feet down, saunter around the corner to reach the south face, then diagonal - left as you're looking toward the ground - down the strata to step off the wall at an ancient snag. Establishing belay anchors, if you need them, could be a bit of an adventure, but should be manageable with springy things or TriCams.
By Kevin Coopman
Mar 16, 2004
Hello, I brought my 5 year old up the First Flatiron. We had a party of 4 so it took 1-1.5 hours between pitches. If you are going to climb the Flatiron, a smaller party (2 or 3) is much, much better.
By William McGehee
From: Choctaw, OK
Jul 20, 2005
Avoid this guy in the late afternoon. Right now there are millions of gnats congregating on high points along the ridge. I climbed the Direct Route this afternoon and felt like I was in Alaska in the spring when I got to the ridge. At least they weren't mosquitos. Be prepared to swat! Rock cools off a LOT after a short period of cloud cover, so don't be afraid to head up there if you see cumulus clouds in the sky. It might be cool enough to climb on.~Wm
By Chris Zeller
From: Boulder, CO
Aug 23, 2005
I noticed a cable rap station at the top of Baker's Way where the route intersects the ridge. The cable is threaded under a large block and looks like it would go with a 60 m rope (have not tried it). This would be a good escape from either the [Direct Route] or [Baker's Way]. The direct route crosses [Baker's Way] at the gully and its very easy climbing in this gully to the ridge.
By Peter Holcombe
Aug 25, 2005
I just climbed this route again today and noticed a 3rd bolt on the first pitch. It is a Leeper hanger and 1/4" rawl drive 10-20' above the 2nd big glue in bolt. It had been a while since I last did this climb but I had never noticed this before. Has anyone else noticed this? Is someone adding old bolts to routes? I thought this was strange.
By George Bell
From: Boulder, CO
Aug 29, 2005
Peter: The new bolt has been mentioned previously, see the comment by AC on 5/9/2005 under "Direct Route". I remember more discussion but it does not seem to be on this page any more. It seems that this is indeed a new bolt and all comments recommended removal.
By Jerry Cagle
From: Tucson, AZ
May 15, 2006
What route were David Roberts and Gabe Lee climbing when Lee fell to his death?
By George Bell
From: Boulder, CO
May 15, 2006
Jerry, that is a great question and I don't know the answer. David Roberts' new book talks about he and Jon Krakauer repeating this route a few years ago. However, there isn't enough detail given to pin it down exactly. I believe it was on the left-half of the east face, but it may not even be on one of the official routes.
By Matt Amory
From: Boulder CO
Oct 23, 2006
I'm planning on doing the direct route on the 1st with a friend from back east on Wednesday. Am I right in thinking that we're looking at about 4 hours car to car?

Thanks Leo and Tony for your responses. We had a stellar morning on either Zig-Zag or Kamikaze Overhangs (I'd be glad to hear from anyone what exactly the difference is between these routes)
By jleining
Jul 3, 2007
Helpful tip, unless you would like to practice your rope management, My Climbing Co guide book said the descent from the top of the First Flatiron requires two ropes. Guess what it doesn't. I wasted my time scrambling this thing and dragging two ropes up while doing it. If you're gonna do the First, it is only 92 ft from the summit eybolts to the ground!
By Rhonda
Apr 1, 2008
Climbed the 1st Flatiron on Sat. March 29th and rappelled off an anchor before the ridge (wind was howling). After reaching the ground, I was unable to pull my rope. If anyone retrieved my rope, I would appreciate hearing from you. My email is rhonda.eimers@hotmail.com Thanks!
By Graham Rogers
May 11, 2009
Lost my left Vasque trailrunner shoe here on Saturday as it unclipped from my beltloop, probably on the downclimb. Any sightings? It was a great shoe.
By Squirming Coil
From: Morrison, CO
Jul 7, 2009
Does anyone know anything about this variation (in red)? Or is it the actual route? mountainproject.com/v/colorado...
By Larry Graham
From: Boulder, CO
Aug 21, 2010
For those of you who like to solo this: (a great outing by the way) as I was finishing the downclimb today I noticed that the old white dead tree that always provided a convenient way to get down the final 15-20 feet has suffered some damage. It seemed like it was further from the wall than before, but more disturbing is that one of the small broken off limbs that used to serve as a foot placement is now gone. This forces you to use holds on the wall--actually quite good--that I never had to bother with before. Overall, it makes this section of the downclimb just a bit more thought-provoking. Unfortunately, some day a big wind will probably fell the tree, but it will still be possible to get down those last few feet via rock.
By James Beissel
From: Boulder, CO
Nov 19, 2010
Hi-res panorama (372 MP) of the First, Second and Third Flatiron. Requires Adobe Flash to use the GigaPan viewer:

jamesbeissel.com/gigapan/flati...
By Dan Holz
From: Denver, CO
May 22, 2011
Just found a GO PRO camera at the base of the First Flatiron. If it's yours, send me a message detailing what kind of unique 'case' it was in and I'll get it back to ya!
By Chris Plesko
From: Westminster, CO
Sep 24, 2011
The tree is gone off the SW face downclimb. It still goes just fine though, but it's a little harder. Luckily, you're only 10-15 feet off the ground by that point. I'm sure you could find another easier way, but I didn't bother.
By Rodger Raubach
Oct 15, 2012
My favorite formation in the North Flatirons! I particularly recommend both Butterfly and East Face Direct. Both are runnout and exposed, but a competent leader should have lots of fun here!
By Samuel Cooper
Jul 31, 2014
Lost my harness including two ATCs, two slings, and three lockers on the back of the first Flatiron! Please give me a call (93six,twozero6,0onefour0) if they've been found! Thank you very much!
By jkglenn
From: Tabernash, CO
Oct 26, 2014
Hey guys and gals. Had butterfingers for a second today and dropped four or five nuts on the 5.6R direct route. I dropped them a couple pitches below the ridge and am pretty sure a few of them stopped on the ledge below. They're taped with red, green, and yellow tape. If someone finds them, could you please email me @ kgmohr@gmail.com. Thanks!