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First Flatiron
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Southwest Face 

YDS: 5.0 French: 2- Ewbanks: 4 UIAA: I British: MM 1c

   
Type:  Trad
Consensus:  YDS: 5.1 French: 2 Ewbanks: 6 UIAA: II British: MD 2a [details]
FA: unknown
Page Views: 6,071
Submitted By: Stich 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 

My wife Marketa and I climb sport exclusively in Austin, so when we decided to try some trad routes in Colorado we were mighty modest about what grade we could chew. Our friends Gary and Eliza were doing the Direct East Face, which we originally intended to follow. However, after a bit of reflection we decided to do the easiest route in the book. At 5.0, we figured we couldn't lose. We were right, of course. The route we took started at the point where the East face of the First Flatiron juts above the ground near the summit. I got on the big ramp and found ridiculously easy climbing that went to a nice place for a belay. A handle of rock the size of a large squash invited a bomber thread. From there I managed to find cracks above to add nuts and micro cams. This being my second trad anchor ever, I spent forever testing it and equalizing the thing.

The next belay was at the huge eye bolt in the place the Falcon guide calls "a small bowl." It's more like a huge ledge. In any case, fears that the wall to the left would block talking with my belayer were unfounded. From the eye bolt, you may consider climbing up directly in front of you. If you are a wuss and want to stick with the easy stuff, you'll back track slightly to the East face and get back on it. From there, it's barely a stone's throw to the twin eye bolts on the summit proper.

One cool note. It only requires a single 60 meter rope to rappel off the back side, contrary to what we had been led to believe. Next trip in a year, we plan to do the Direct East Face and a bunch of other stuff. This place kicks ass! Beautiful. Oh well, back to the limestone.

-Tim Stich


Protection 

small cams, nuts, slings



Photos of Southwest Face Slideshow Add Photo
C. Johnson on the southwest face downclimb.
C. Johnson on the southwest face downclimb.
The Third Flatiron looms behind Marketa on the summit.
The Third Flatiron looms behind Marketa on the sum...
Allison Bell nearing the summit of the First Flatiron.
Allison Bell nearing the summit of the First Flati...
Gary Ellis downclimbs to us on the summit.
Gary Ellis downclimbs to us on the summit.
Tony Bubb on a morning scramble downclimbing the SW face.
Tony Bubb on a morning scramble downclimbing the S...
Comments on Southwest Face Add Comment
Show which comments
By Kevin Currigan
From: Lakewood
Aug 30, 2002
rating: 5.2 3 8 II D 2c

Don't let the 5.0 rating or the one star fool you. This is a 3 star climb. The approach is somewhat long and obvious pro is lacking but its there. However you climb it be sure to go up and left of the lower bolt to reach the west face. Step out to the jugs and 65' of air to the left then up and right to the summit. There are nice, big jugs every couple of feet to take you to the top. Yes!! Good climb for the aspiring soloist.

By Kevin Currigan
From: Lakewood
Dec 31, 2003
rating: 5.2 3 8 II D 2c

P.S. This is the standard downclimb for some of those soloing other routes. On some days you could be run over by soloist down climbing this route.

By Lance Cockwood
Sep 7, 2004
rating: 5.2 3 8 II D 2c

Took my sister up this route she isn't a climber and she loved it!!! Great route to guide flatlander relatives on. They can really appreciate the view!!!!

By Anonymous Coward
Sep 7, 2004

Nice photos Tim.

By Anonymous Coward
Mar 27, 2005

I climbed the first pitch of this route in perfect weather in the beginning of spring. If you are an experienced climber you will either be...

a.) downclimbing this route solo to get to another scenic jugfest.

b.) impressing flatlanders with your free-handing skills (climbing magazine I think.)

c.) timing yourself on this route solo with no hands.

however, I experienced none of the above. My partner (dad you sure are great lsarcasml) wimped out on a humungous bulge eighty feet out. Personally, if I wanted to complete the route, I would rather redline the route (i.e. a solo fall where one covers the slab with their blood) than take a life-threatening trad fall do to something I would like to call heinous rope drag. Also, some of the rock quility under shelves may not be as good as the slab might lead someone to believe, heh, find horns.

By Chris Plesko
From: Westminster, CO
Sep 24, 2011
rating: 5.2 3 8 II D 2c

If you're downclimbing this off the summit, the tree at the bottom is gone. You can still go the same way, but you'll have to make couple harder than 5.0 moves to get down the last 10 feet. It's not bad, but you can't chimney the tree and rock anymore.