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Flatirons

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Flatirons  


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Location: 39.9828, -105.289 View Map  Incorrect?
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Administrators: Ben Mottinger, Leo Paik, John McNamee, Frances Fierst, Monomaniac, Kristine Hoffman (sitewide)
Submitted By: John McNamee on Feb 16, 2006
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You & This Area
Best routes for YOU in this area
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Sunset over the Flatirons.

Climbing areas reopened after flood MORE INFO >>>

Description 

The Flatirons are synonymous with Boulder and the history of rock climbing in North America. It would be hard to find another location in the country where such an extensive variety, from scrambling to hard "Head Point" routes exist so close to a major metro area. They form the backdrop to Boulder and are the centerpiece of Boulder's Open Space system.

There are three main areas:

Flatirons North
This area includes classic rocks such as the First and Third Flatirons, and the Amphitheatre in Gregory Canyon. Climbs here range from short newer-age sport climbs to long trad routes, including some of the longer trad routes in the area, the whole face of the 3rd Flatiron, which is about 1300 feet and the Direct East Face of the 1st which is about 1400 feet. Hard conglomerate Fountain Formation sandstone is the medium for your rock craft.

Flatirons Central
There are many rocks to explore in this area. The "Central" zone spans Bear Canyon to the Ironing Boards (just South of the 3rd Flatiron). Slabmongers can have many field days exploring the numerous smaller Flatirons, and there's a good amount of trad and even sport among these rocks. Have fun in this scenic setting.

Flatirons South
This section of the Flatirons holds some of the best climbing in the Flatirons, but it seems to be less crowded. Great rocks such as the Maiden, Matron, Devil's Thumb, East Ridge, Nebel Horn, Seal Rock, and The Goose offer slabs for beginner trad leaders and also more challenging trad lines. Excellent sport routes also can be found, some several pitches in length. The longest climb in the area is here. There is plenty to explore here.

Access: Various of the Flatirons are closed for falcon nesting from Feb. 1 up to July 31 and for bat nesting Apr. 1 to Aug. 31. Historically, some of these have included The Matron, Towers of the Moon, Jam Crack Spire, Devil's Thumb, Nebel Horn, Jaws, The Fin, Sphinx, Medusa, Fern Canyon, The Goose, The Goose Eggs, Bear Creek Spire, Harmon Cave (bats), East Face of The Hand (bats), East Face of The Finger Flatiron (bats), East Face of Der Zerkle (bats), Dreadnaught, Achean Pronoucement, Skunk Canyon Ridge 2 & west, Sacred Cliffs, East & West Ironing Boards, The Third Flatiron, Queen Anne's Head, occasionally Gregory Amphitheatre, and possibly others.

Please check with city of Boulder Open Space & Mountain Parks at 303-441-3440 before heading up there. Also, 303.441.4060 ext 420 & x 416 can provide information.

Getting There 

Look west of Boulder, if you can't see them you shouldn't go climbing...although, it can be amazingly beautiful with liquid or solid precipitation falling. Seriously, there are numerous trails and parking lots depending on which crag you are visiting, so please refer to these descriptions.

A word of warning though; the first time climbing in the Flatirons can be a confusing experience, with lots of trails, crags and rocks that look very similar so allow plenty of time for exploring and pick a major feature to climb.

Map of Boulder most of the green stuff down & left of the arrow is Flatirons.

Resources 

If it is your first time climbing in the Flatirons try to remember to take a guidebook and a map, or better yet, go with a local. Also, a headlamp can come in handy as well on the journey home, but that's a story for another day!

Rock Climbing the Flatirons by Richard Rossiter is probably the best source of information. Gerry Roach's Flatirons guide, Richard Rossiter's older Boulder Climbs North, and even Stewart Green's Colorado guidebooks can provide alternative sources for information. Allegedly, there is a new guidebook in the works.

Flatirons Climbing Council is a non-profit, climber organization dedicated to the limited expansion of new fixed hardware and replacement of decaying fixed hardware in addition to other climbing related issues for the Flatirons. It is a partnership between the Access Fund, American Alpine Club, Colorado Mountain Club and the Action Committee for Eldorado created to preserve climbing access in the Flatirons, conserve climbing resources and the environment, and to work cooperatively with the land manager, City of Boulder Open Space and Mountain Parks (OSMP), to resolve climbing issues.

Fixed Hardware 

Note, from the 1980s to the early 2000s, there was moratorium on new fixed hardware in the Flatirons. With great efforts, there is a new, application-based, limited new fixed hardware process in place. Please check with the Flatirons Climbing Council.

Standard Rack 

So, many, many route descriptions include "standard rack" verbiage. What is a standard rack? Good question. Here's my thoughts: Probably a set of wires, a set of cams from smallest Alien/TCU to a #4 Friend or #4 Camalot, a couple larger hexes, and probably a dozen 24" slings with biners to match. Certainly, there are those who will travel lighter or heavier, but this gets you up most routes...with a bit of skill, courage, and coolheadedness. LP

Flora & Fauna 

Note, there are a few things that live in the area that may warrant some attention. On the smaller side, there is plenty of poison ivy in places for the sensitive. Also, there are mountain lions & black bear that are known to wander these parts. Watch your kids, if you're climbing with little ones.

Dogs. 

According to Boulder Mountain Parks website, 90% of the trails are okay for dogs. In general, dogs in the Flatirons should be on leashes. There is a special program where on dogs may be in voice and sight control, which requires a fee ($15 for residents, $18.75 for non-residents, $5 for additional tags) and watching a video. There are fines associated with violations of the rules.

Please check out their website for more details.

Climbing Season



Weather station 3.4 miles from here

1,000 Total Routes

['4 Stars',71],['3 Stars',257],['2 Stars',405],['1 Star',238],['Bomb',26]
['<=5.6',292],['5.7',74],['5.8',73],['5.9',60],['5.10',114],['5.11',85],['5.12',52],['5.13',24],['>=5.14',3],['',0],['<=V1',34],['V2-3',73],['V4-5',51],['V6-7',31],['V8-9',21],['V10-11',0],['V12-13',4],['>=V14',0]

The Classics

Mountain Project's determination of some of the classic, most popular, highest rated routes for Flatirons:
Freeway   5.0 2- 4 I 6 MM 1c     Trad, 6 pitches   North : Second Flatiron
Angel's Way   5.2 3 8 II 8 D 2c     Trad, 8 pitches, 1200'   Skunk Canyon : Ridge 3 aka Angel's Way
East Face (Standard)   5.4 4a 12 IV 10 VD 3c     Trad, 8 pitches   North : Third Flatiron
East Face North Side/Seal Rock   5.4 4a 12 IV 10 VD 3c     Trad, 4 pitches, 800'   South : Seal Rock
East Face Left   5.5 4b 13 IV+ 11 MS 4a     Trad, 9 pitches, 1300'   North : Third Flatiron
Fandango   5.5 4b 13 IV+ 11 MS 4a     Trad, 4 pitches   North : First Flatiron
Direct Route   5.6 4c 14 V 12 S 4b R     Trad, 10 pitches   North : First Flatiron
North Face   5.6 4c 14 V 12 S 4b R     Trad, 5 pitches   South : The Maiden
West Overhang   5.11a 6c 22 VII+ 22 E3 5c     Trad, 2 pitches   South : The Maiden
Death and Transfiguration   5.11b 6c 23 VIII- 23 E3 5c     Trad, 1 pitch, 75'   North : Green Mountain Pinnacle
The Shaft   5.12b 7b 26 VIII+ 26 E5 6b     Sport, TR, 1 pitch, 90'   Central : Dinosaur Rock
Hasta La Hueco   5.12d 7c 28 IX 28 E6 6b     Trad, Sport, 2 pitches, 150'   South : The Maiden
Snake Watching   5.13a 7c+ 29 IX+ 29 E6 6c     Sport, 1 pitch, 150'   South : Overhang Rock
Ultrasaurus (aka Uber-Pwnage)   5.13a 7c+ 29 IX+ 29 E6 6c     Sport, 1 pitch, 115'   Central : Dinosaur Rock
Honey Badger   5.13a 7c+ 29 IX+ 29 E6 6c     Sport, 1 pitch, 140'   South : Overhang Rock
Milk Bone   5.13a 7c+ 29 IX+ 29 E6 6c     Sport, 1 pitch, 100'   Central : Dinosaur Rock
$00pr kr33m   5.13- 7c+ 29 IX+ 29 E7 6c     Sport, 1 pitch, 115'   South : The Slab
Jurassic Park   5.13 8a 29 X- 30 E7 6c     Sport, 5 pitches   Central : Dinosaur Rock
Choose Life   5.13d 8b 31 X 32 E8 7a     Sport, TR, 1 pitch, 100'   South : Seal Rock
Thunder Muscle   5.14a 8b+ 32 X+ 32 E8 7a     Sport, 1 pitch, 90'   South : Seal Rock
Browse More Classics in Flatirons

Featured Route For Flatirons
Slightly obscured by the branches, Chip tries to r...

Gully Diver V5-6 6C+  CO : Flatirons : ... : Satellite Boulders
Pass the Sputnik Boulder like you are going up to the Lower Satellites. When you get to the fork, instead of going left up the climbers trail next to the huge wall known as The Wave, go up the right fork of the trail to the base of The Second Flatiron.Where the trail meets the base of the Second Flatiron, a cube-like boulder reminiscent of a Borg Cube on Star Trek is on your left. Go left up a steep social trail parallelling the Second Flatiron and this problem is on the rounded northwest corner...[more]   Browse More Classics in CO

Local Information for Flatirons
Photos of Flatirons Slideshow Add Photo
Flowers are a bloomin' on the way to Bear Canyon. ...
Flowers are a bloomin' on the way to Bear Canyon. ...
Springtime flowers and Green Mountain.  From right...
Springtime flowers and Green Mountain. From right...
Memorial Day Eve 2013. Sun setting behind the Flat...
Memorial Day Eve 2013. Sun setting behind the Flat...
My cool father in law Jack Carey (though for some ...
My cool father in law Jack Carey (though for some ...
The secret Princess Bivy.
The secret Princess Bivy.
The Flatirons above Boulder offer some spectacular...
The Flatirons above Boulder offer some spectacular...
The Flatirons of Boulder, Colorado, photo: Bob Hor...
The Flatirons of Boulder, Colorado, photo: Bob Hor...
Clouds at sunset above the Flatirons.  Devil's Thu...
Clouds at sunset above the Flatirons. Devil's Thu...
Pretty neat frozen spiderweb, in the Flatirons, Oc...
Pretty neat frozen spiderweb, in the Flatirons, Oc...
Jay and Steve on the hike up to the Third.  Foggy ...
Jay and Steve on the hike up to the Third. Foggy ...
The Flatirons of Boulder.
The Flatirons of Boulder.
View of the Flatirons coming in on Highway 36.
View of the Flatirons coming in on Highway 36.
Flatirons in Winter (Thanksgiving, 2007).
Flatirons in Winter (Thanksgiving, 2007).
Wild irises in the Flatirons.
Wild irises in the Flatirons.
The incredible Maiden formation of the Flatiron's ...
The incredible Maiden formation of the Flatiron's ...
Sunrise on the Flatirons, from Doudy Draw.  © 2013...
Sunrise on the Flatirons, from Doudy Draw. © 2013...
Watch out for even the pretty leaves in the back-c...
Watch out for even the pretty leaves in the back-c...
Summit shot.
Summit shot.
Welcome to Chatauqua.
Welcome to Chatauqua.
FLATIRONS!
FLATIRONS!
Pretty Flatirons.
Pretty Flatirons.
More praying mantis.
More praying mantis.
Flatirons. Photo by Blitzo.
Flatirons. Photo by Blitzo.
Looking towards Boulder from Royal Arch.
Looking towards Boulder from Royal Arch.

Show All 46 Photos

Only the first 24 are shown above.

Comments on Flatirons Add Comment
Show which comments
Comments displayed oldest to newestSkip Ahead to the Most Recent Dated Aug 4, 2014
By Guy H.
From: Fort Collins CO
Jan 24, 2007
Here is a current web cam of the Flatirons:

colorado.edu/webcam/index.html
By Dan Mottinger
Aug 12, 2008
Gerry Roach's guidebook to the area, Flatiron Classics is now back in print from the CMC press, the newer version includes more photos than the hard to find original from the late '80s. This book is geared towards scrambling and slabmongering--the grades top out at 5.8, thus it is not comprehensive as a Flatirons guidebook.
By Asymptote
From: Lawrenceville, GA
Nov 1, 2008
Anyone lose a pair of Mammut shoes off the 1st around 10/25? Rapped off and was hiking around the side when I saw one laying next to the little overlook. Found the other a few feet from it. Looked kinda like someone was doing a scramble down the side of the Flatiron and lost them??
By dyingdream
Apr 8, 2009
Found rope on second single bolt rappel station on backside of First Flatiron on the optional downclimb. If it is yours, please describe the rope and give me your information, so I can return it.
By Monomaniac
Administrator
From: Morrison, CO
May 14, 2009
Seasonal Closures for the Flatirons are as follows:

North:

The following crags are closed 1 February to 31 July:
First Pinnacle (Gregory Canyon Amphitheatre)
Second Pinnacle (Gregory Canyon Amphitheatre)
Third Pinnacle (Gregory Canyon)
Third Flatiron
Queen Anne's Head
WC Fields Pinnacle
The Ghetto
East Ironing Board
West Ironing Board
The Fin
Green Thumb
Jaws

Central:

The following crags are closed 1 February to 31 July:
Ridge Two
Ridge Three
Ridge Four
Achean Prnouncement
Argonaut
Dreadnought
North Ridge
Bear Creek Spire

All East Face routes on the following formations are closed 1 April to 1 October (routes on the North, South & West Faces remain open):
The Hand
Mallory Flatironette
Shark's Fin
Finger Flatiron

The following routes on Der Zerkle are closed from 1 April to 1 September:
Sunnyside One
East Face Left
East Face Right

South:

The following crags are closed 1 February to 31 July:
The Goose
Goose Eggs
East Ridge
Mars Block
Nebel Horn Ridge (including Onoclea & Pellaea)
Tower of the Moon
Jamcrack Spire
The Pyramid
Incognito Crag
Devil's Thumb
Shadow Fax
Isolation Rock
Sunset Wall
Devil's Wing (W. Face)
The Matron
Lost & Found
The Sibling
Toddler Rock

Details
By Pinklebear
Mar 29, 2010
March 2010 new-route application (on the Slab) through the Flatirons Climbing Council's Fixed Hardware Review Committee: flatironsclimbingcouncil.wordp...

Please click on the above link to submit comments on the proposed climb; and to have a vote in the process, come to the FHRC public meeting on April 28, 2010, at 6:30 p.m. at Movement Climbing + Fitness, Boulder, CO.
By Pinklebear
May 12, 2010
June 2010 new-route application through the Flatirons Climbing Council's Fixed Hardware Review Committee: flatironsclimbingcouncil.wordp...

Please click on the above link to submit comments on the proposed climb. The deadline closes June 15; this is the only route submitted this cycle. There will be a public meeting held June 23, Wednesday, at 7:30 p.m. at The Spot gym, Boulder.
By Pinklebear
Jul 24, 2010
Three applications were received for the autumn 2010 cycle of the Flatirons Fixed Hardware Review Committee. One is for a new route on the Hand, another is to add a bolt to an existing climb on Frankenstein's Castle, and the third is for a new climb on the Maiden.

Please go here to leave comments: flatironsclimbingcouncil.wordp...

Date of the public meeting/vote to be announced shortly.
By Pinklebear
Oct 12, 2010
The Fixed Hardware Review Committee of the Flatirons Climbing Council will hold its public meeting Wednesday, October 20, at 6 p.m. at The Spot gym, Boulder, Colorado, to discuss and vote on applications for the autumn 2010 cycle. Anyone interested is invited to come participate and cast votes for the three proposals, which can be found here: flatironsclimbingcouncil.wordp...
By adam brink
From: Boulder, CO
Feb 16, 2011
Hi Danielle- As the Third can be seen from almost anywhere in Boulder, I think poaching it would be a very bad idea. Also, the more we can work with the land managers and not against them the better off the whole climbing community will be.
By Pinklebear
May 28, 2011
An application for a new lead climb on the North Face of Dinosaur Rock can be found here:

flatironsclimbingcouncil.wordp...

It has been submitted for the Flatirons Climbing Council FHRC cycle ending June 15. Any other new-route applications must be in by that date to be considered for this cycle. More info here: flatironsclimbingcouncil.wordp...

Time and date of the FHRC vote and public meeting to be announced.
By Pinklebear
Jun 10, 2011
The Fixed Hardware Review Committee of the Flatirons Climbing Council will hold its public meeting Wednesday, July 6, at 7 p.m. at The Spot Gym, Boulder, Colorado, to discuss and vote on applications for the June 2011 cycle. Anyone interested is invited to come participate and cast votes for the three proposals, which can be found here: flatironsclimbingcouncil.wordp....
You can also leave comments on the proposed applications at the above link.
By Pinklebear
Nov 7, 2011
Five applications have been submitted to the Fixed Hardware Review Committee (FHRC) of the Flatirons Climbing Council (FCC) for the September 2011 voting cycle:

•Two applications for new climbs, a 5.11 on the Slab and a 5.10 on Dinosaur Rock
•Two applications to add new, lower first bolts to the existing climbs Touch Monkey, a 5.11b on Der Zerkle, Dinosaur Mountain and to Short Attention Span, a 5.11d on Overhang Rock, Bear Canyon.
•One application to add an anchor to the existing climb Big Bob Cranks on Dinosaur Rock.

To view and comment on these four applications, please visit flatironsclimbingcouncil.wordp...

The vote and public meeting for this cycle will be held Tuesday, December 6 at 6:30 p.m. at The Spot gym, Boulder, Colorado. Anyone interested in voting on and discussing these applications is encouraged to attend.
By Pinklebear
Jan 2, 2012
Four applications have been submitted for the January 2012 cycle of the Flatirons Climbing Council's Fixed Hardware Review Committee. (The new deadline applications are January 1, April 1, and August 1). Two are for new climbs, one is to replace an existing (but chopped climb), and one is to replace a chopped bolt on an existing climb.

To see the applications and leave comments, please visit: flatironsclimbingcouncil.wordp...

It's probably best to leave comments on each individual route by sending them to us via email for now: fhrc@flatironsclimbing.org.

The public meeting and vote on these applications will be held Thursday, February 2 at 6:30 p.m. at The Spot gym, Boulder, Colorado. Anyone interested is welcome and encouraged to attend!
By Pinklebear
Mar 23, 2012
There is an application for a new lead climb on Seal Rock at: flatironsclimbingcouncil.wordp...

This route has been submitted as part of the Fixed Hardware Review Committee of the Flatirons Climbing's Council's spring 2012 cycle, which ends May 1. To submit applications, visit: flatironsclimbingcouncil.wordp... or bouldercolorado.gov/index.php?... for more information.

This (south) side of Seal Rock is pending opening to new-route activity as part of the 2012 Memorandum of Understanding between OSMP and the Flatirons Climbing Council. Other formations to be added include the Goose, Sacred Cliffs, and Fiddlehead. Stay tuned to flatironsclimbing.com for more information.
By Pinklebear
May 8, 2012
The Flatirons Climbing Council's FHRC's public meeting and vote for the May 2012 cycle will be held at The Spot gym, Boulder, CO, Wednesday May 30 at 6:30 p.m.

Choose Life, on the South Face of Seal Rock, is the sole application for this cycle:
flatironsclimbingcouncil.wordp...
By Pinklebear
Jul 24, 2012
As of today, July 24, the fire-closure boundaries have been moved west from the Mesa Trail, allowing access to many of the formations formerly affected by the Flagstaff Fire closure. More info here from OSMP: bouldercolorado.gov/index.php?...

A reminder to everyone to stay well clear of the closure and burn areas as you head back in to climb. Enjoy!
By Pinklebear
Aug 6, 2012
There is an application for a new climb on the south side of the Maiden, our only application for the August 2012 cycle of the Fixed Hardware Review Committee of the Flatirons Climbing Council. Details can be found at the link below; the public meeting and vote will be held Wednesday, September 5 at 6:30 p.m. at The Spot gym (thespotgym.com), Boulder, Colorado. The deadline for the next cycle is January 1, 2013, though applications should be submitted in advance if possible.

flatironsclimbingcouncil.wordp...
By Pinklebear
Aug 19, 2012
Please note that the application for the Hueco Wall, south face of the Maiden, has been updated to include a possible third pitch, which would have been brought up at the public meeting in any case. You can still view and comment on the application at flatironsclimbingcouncil.wordp...

The public vote and meeting is September 5, 6:30 p.m. at The Spot gym in Boulder, Colorado.
By Pinklebear
Sep 10, 2012
There is an application for a new climb on the south face of Seal Rock, the first application for the autumn 2012 cycle of the Fixed Hardware Review Committee of the Flatirons Climbing Council (www.flatironsclimbing.com). Details can be found at the link below; the public meeting and vote will be held some time early next year, details to be announced. This cycle closes January 1, 2013, though applications should be submitted well in advance.

The application can be found at:
flatironsclimbingcouncil.wordp...
By Pinklebear
Nov 23, 2012
A second application has been submitted for the Autumn 2012 cycle of the Flatirons Climbing Council's Fixed Hardware Review Committee, this one for the west face of Overhang Rock. Please visit flatironsclimbingcouncil.wordp... to view the application in full, as well as comment on it. The public meeting and vote will be held 6:30 p.m. Wednesday January 16 at The Spot gym, Boulder, Colorado.
By Pinklebear
Dec 12, 2012
There is an application for a second proposed new climb on the south face of Seal Rock, the final application for the autumn 2012 cycle of the Fixed Hardware Review Committee of the Flatirons Climbing Council (www.flatironsclimbing.com), which closes January 1, 2013. Details can be found at the link below. The public meeting and vote will be held 6:30 p.m. Wednesday January 16 at The Spot gym, Boulder, Colorado.

The application for this route, American Nouveau, can be found at:
flatironsclimbingcouncil.wordp...
By Flatirons Climbing Council
Aug 19, 2013
One application has been submitted for the current cycle of the Flatirons Climbing Council's Fixed Hardware Review Committee application process: on the west face of Overhang Rock.

You can visit flatironsclimbingcouncil.wordp... to view it; please post comments below the application or submit them via email to fhrc@flatironsclimbing.org. The public meeting and vote will be held Wednesday, September 18, 6:30 p.m., at The Spot gym in Boulder, Colorado.
By Flatirons Climbing Council
Jan 7, 2014
One application has been submitted for the current (January 2014) cycle of the Flatirons Climbing Council's Fixed Hardware Review Committee application process: on the west face of the Goose.

You can visit flatironsclimbingcouncil.wordp... to view it; please post comments below the application or submit them via email to fhrc@flatironsclimbing.org. The public vote and meeting will be held Wednesday, February 5, at 6:30 p.m. at The Spot gym, Boulder, Colorado.
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 Flatirons Climbing Council
Aug 4, 2014
There are a handful of new-route applications for the Autumn 2014 cycle of the Flatirons Climbing Committee's Fixed Hardware Review Committee, for the Matron, the Goose, Pebble Beach, and Dinosaur Rock. We will be holding a public meeting and vote on these climbs on Wednesday, September 3, 6:30 p.m. at The Spot gym in Boulder. Please visit flatironsclimbingcouncil.wordp...
to review and leave comments on the applications.