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Tony Bubb leading North Crack on 2nd Flatiron
To find the route:
The meat of this route lies in an obvious left-leaning, bulging crack and flake system about 70' up from the bottom of the North-facing side of the Pullman car. You may see one of the 6-8 fixed pins that are in this section from below.
Approach the Pullman car from below via any route such as Freeway. From as low as 100' below the Pullman car you can either climb directly up to the car and just right of it, or go right substantially below it, climb up to the right and go up maybe 50' up the slab somewhat below it to a belay.
There is a comfortable belay with a single good pin (and some potential for gear) on the right of the car in a rising crack out of the gully towards the route. This will be hard to find in the non-descript sea of rock around you. I am including the detail so that you know it is there. I suspect that this was the original route, as it has a pin of similar vintage to that which is on the crack itself.
Arange a belay within sight of the North Carcks of the Pullman Car. Lead upto the crac, place a piece or two and launch upward. The rock here is questionable in a few places. The grade and nature of the climb are old-school. Although the gear is reasonable and safe (pretty good, PLUS 6 or more fixed pins) the route might scare and massively pump aspiring 5.9 leaders. Best to be solid at the grade on this one. Clip pin afer pin and place gear as you like while climbing the overhanging system, which is steeper and harder than it looks from below. (looks 5.7-ish) Pull onto the slab up above after 30' of this crack (perhaps 70 feet in all from the belay). You can run up about 20 additional feet to a fun, easy, interesting, and well-protected finger crack, perhaps 15' left of the north edge of the East-facing slab of the Pullman Car. Even on a 70M rope you will have to stop and belay at some point, or simul climb... so belay here on good stoppers. This will also help to avoid thrashing your rope. For the second pitch, keep running for the top, belaying up in the "bowl" up top.
To descend, downclimb to the West then South or to the Northwest.
There are 6 to 10 fixed pins on this route, depending on how it is done. Perhaps 6 of them are diectly in the crux crack pitch, with a few otehrs below. The original bolts are sheared off. The climb certainly would take adequate protection regardless, and only the ease of protection and position of the belay are affected by the presence or absence of the pins. Some are not so hot, so you'll want to place some supplimental protection if this climb is at your limit. Strong 5.9 leaders will likely be able to climb this section with nothing but slings.
Rack: a set of nuts and cams from 1" to 3.5" and a handful of 2-foot slings. The gear for crack and flake system weaves through bulges and will require significant extension to avoid drag and zipping your pro. The drag comment applies particularly to the pins. I had to skip some due to my lack of long runners.
By Brian Schoep
Sep 1, 2003
Just an additional comment on what was said about the need for long runners. This is extremely important on the last pin before pulling onto the slab. Long story, but I didn't have much of a runner on this one, an the rope drag was deadly. What should have been an couple easy moves felt like I was doing squats at the gym just to get my rope to give a couple of inches. It made for a rather strenuous belay as well. It was a momentary lack of foresight that probably shouldn't have happened, but I feel I should give the warning to anyone heading up this line. Cheers.
By R. Wilson
Jun 12, 2011
I got some good photos of whoever was leading this two days ago while I was on Freeway. Let me know if you want them.
By Tim Schumacher
From: Boulder, CO
Jun 15, 2011
Hey that was me, send me a message and I'll give you my email. Thanks!