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The Flatirons post-flood
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By brenta
From Boulder, CO
Oct 5, 2013
Cima Margherita and Cima Tosa in the Dolomiti di Brenta.  October 1977.

Patrick McHeyser wrote:
Ten people to manage 150 miles of trail is actually a fairly small crew- especially for a network that sees heavy use and is severely damaged. Have you ever worked on a trail crew? If you have, you know that even a mile of damaged trail can take considerable time to survey and assess.

It depends. If you are trying to determine what segments are not damaged and can be promptly reopened, it's a quick process.

Patrick McHeyser wrote:
The people who work these trails are under pressure not just from climbers, but from several different use groups.

Few things have been clearer to me for the last several years: see my first post in this thread. Consider moreover that the heavily damaged trails near Chautauqua were among the first to be reopened.

Patrick McHeyser wrote:
Taking this in to consideration- among other issues faced by OSMP that we are probably not aware of- this time frame should not seem so unreasonable.

Let me offer a paraphrase. Taking into consideration issues like synchronization with the election calendar, this time frame was easily predictable.


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By Merlin
From Grand Junction
Oct 5, 2013

Something tells me Brenta's math is a wee bit superior to most people's. OSMP is very rapidly becoming anti access. 1 mile per day is slow. I'd guess they will use this as an excuse to close more trails.


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By Ryan Watts
From Bishop, CA
Oct 5, 2013
Flatirons

Flatirons Climbing Council wrote:
The East Face of the Third Flatiron is open from the East Bench upward. (East Bench is the start for the Standard E Face Route.) The north and west faces are also open. The south side of the Third, including the climbing and hiking terrain, remains closed. Royal Arch Trail remains closed.


What about the satellite boulders?


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By CJC
Oct 5, 2013

brenta wrote:
Let me offer a paraphrase. Taking into consideration issues like synchronization with the election calendar, this time frame was easily predictable.


If you are privy to some nefarious conspiracy why not just come out with it? Quit dancing around the issue and start making some sense.

I'd imagine the satellites are open, all trails up to and around them are open. It's weird that the second flat hasn't explicitly been reopened though. Maybe something to do with the election calendar?


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By Flatirons Climbing Council
Oct 5, 2013

Lower Satellites are open. Upper Satellites remain closed.

Third Flatiron soloists downclimbing the SW Chimney must climb the ramp back up to the West Bench and descend via the north side of the Third.


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By B immele
From Louisville, Colorado
Oct 5, 2013

Drainage that starts near the 2nd Flatiron south side.  This is the trail leading to the 3rd and 2nd just after you go by the Blue Bell shelter.  The damage is big.  Very wet and muddy on the lower trails. <br />
Drainage that starts near the 2nd Flatiron south side. This is the trail leading to the 3rd and 2nd just after you go by the Blue Bell shelter. The damage is big. Very wet and muddy on the lower trails.


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By B immele
From Louisville, Colorado
Oct 5, 2013

A better photo of the small drainage from the 2nd Flatiron very destructive.  One of the reasons trails are slow to open.
A better photo of the small drainage from the 2nd Flatiron very destructive. One of the reasons trails are slow to open.


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By Animal Chin
Oct 5, 2013

So let me get this straight...OSMP has their panties all in a bunch over hikers/climbers creating a bit of trail damage when one week of rain did more damage than 50+ years of hiking ever could? I don't get it.

Safety: If one were to hike up there and determine the washed out trail is too difficult for you to use...ok go home. Climbers are used to bushwacking and can deal with a few rocks and mud.

And still not a single MTB descent on the ENTIRE east face of the mountains from Eldo all the way to Sanitas (and further in both directions really). PATHETIC!!!

Sorry I love the open space and it is a huge reason I live in Boulder, but I'm voting NO in future tax requests until OSMP and the old money bags that run the show either chill out a bit, move out of town, or eventually die off. Makes me want to go up and grid bolt the Flatirons or ride my bike down the Mesa trail every Sat. in protest.

Please City of Boulder officials save me from myself! Nature was so dangerous until you fixed it up for me. I'm so glad Open Space is totally protected...from actually doing anything with it. Thanks for posting those photos, because if I had gone up there this weekend I certainly would have been totally hosed and probably would have just died upon reaching that patch of scary dirt and rock.


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By Kirk Woerner
Oct 5, 2013

You know, I get frustrated at OSMP a lot. But the truth is, that even though I really dont personally need some of what they do, like perfect trails, or areas inspected for safety, there are always enough stupid people who view all the outdoors as a park that they have little choice. If they open places without checking them out and doing minimal cleanup, people will assume there is nothing to fear. They do that now. Evidence the woman in hiking boots asking where the first flatiron is because she wants to climb it in the moonlight... My point is that though I think I should be allowed to take my own chances and be responsible for myself, the reality is that others see these areas differently. They are viewed by some as big parks with everything but the swingsets and that perception needs to be taken into account. Be patient, and enjoy when everything reopens.


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By Steve Bond
Oct 5, 2013
Photo.

+1 Chin


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By mc kaiser
From Boulder, CO
Oct 6, 2013
Me

Brenta, if you feel that OSMP is only responsive during election years, could you provide some evidence? Ie. past instances in which OSMP has been unresponsive until an election? It would help the rest of us inform our debate.
Returning to trails, concern over safety for our particular user group does seem absurd. I see no reason why the satellites haven't reopened. That stinks of over caution.
With the broader picture in mind however, I think safety is less a concern and more exacerbating existing damage. Trails are not just about "safety" but about limiting harm to the surrounding landscape. In certain areas allowing access is going to create wide swaths of social trails as the masses try to keep their feet dry, step around obstacles, and generally follow the path of least resistance off the trail. This is not trivial, as these trails will begin to erode and widen further, making them more difficult to maintain. I prefer not to see small highways in the middle of the forest which will be there for the rest of that trails lifetime.
As to the time frame. Brenta, it is a simple process to see what can be opened immediately. OSMP has opened those trails, have they not? The rest are probably fine in some areas and not in others. Even one severely damaged section warrants closure of the whole thing. Sorry to those of you who would prefer immediate access to long term preservation.
A final thought. I'm not totally on the side of OSMP. They clearly could manage this better. But yelling about conspiracy and how not everything is open is getting nowhere. We just had a giant fucking flood. Things are going to take some time to reopen.


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By B immele
From Louisville, Colorado
Oct 6, 2013

This is interesting: The 2nd Flatiron is not open because it is not an open "trail" per the ranger cottage desk person. But there is no trail on the 2nd nor he 1st or 3rd Flatirons and they are open. The 2nd has a trail to the start and at the finish. I also saw a note at the ranger cottage that said the 3 rd was closed, but at the Bluebell shelter trailhead ther was a big sign with pics saying the 3rd flatiron was open with limits on access. One would assume the 2nd would be open as well. Climbing is inherently dangerous so let us climb and we can figure out how to get there safely.


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By Peter Beal
From Boulder Colorado
Oct 6, 2013

Regarding the Satellites, I was told that by OSMP that they are not open, but it appears via Twitter that has changed. It would be great if there was clearer official notice about climbing access at this page.

https://bouldercolorado.gov/pages/osmp-trails9-21

None of the (confusing) news about the Third is here or anything separating out bouldering areas.


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By Animal Chin
Oct 6, 2013

Ok in some sections "social" trails to avoid flood damaged areas of trail will be created. Eventually the real trail will be fixed or rerouted. OSMP can put some sticks to close off the social trail that developed and grass, plants, etc. will eventually cover it back up. There is absolutely no reason not to have all the trails open right now. Government just assumes the world can stop, since they are still getting their paychecks. OSMP closes the trails to everyone, Boulder County issues a 45 day moratorium on building permits, the federal gov't just closes shop? WTF?

How are the trails any less safe than during winter conditions? They aren't. My point was that the flood rendered total obsession over trail conditions and damage futile, as one week of rain did more damage than 50-100 years of foot and bike traffic. I'm not saying we should just let everyone hike all over everywhere, but most hikers will be able to navigate these areas. The obsessive level of control and oversight in Boulder is so over the top.

Will there be some fool who goes up there and gets hurt in as a result of "unsafe" trail conditions? Probably. How is that any different than any week on the first Flatiron? How many ridiculous rescues have their been? I got lost in the Flatirons and activated a Spot beacon...how can you get lost up there? I went to climb the first in a thunderstorm and need a rescue FROM THE TOP OF THE FIRST PITCH...seriously? I hiked to the top of Bear Peak and now it is dark and I can't get down...HELP!

If you are worried about this type of behavior then you should just close the entire range 24/7 365.

I get that it was closed for a while so that it could be evaluated and broken bridges and other really dangerous stuff could be taped off. We don't need to wait until it is all fixed again. Just lets us recreate and put up a "Pardon the dust while we are under construction" sign on the trail.

Personally I don't think it is about trail damage, liability (well it might be that), or rebuilding. I think it is someone at the top who likes CONTROL. OSMP could have closed for a few days or a week to evaluate and then just issued the warning RMNP has up now:

"Backcountry travelers will encounter different conditions than they have experienced in the past... Hikers should be prepared to take responsibility for their own actions; search and rescue may be delayed... Expect missing foot bridges, uneven trail surfaces, unstable slopes, falling trees due to soil moisture, rutted trails, damaged water bars and steps, standing water, difficult water crossings, and missing directional signs. Be prepared; hike at your own risk."

www.dailycamera.com/letters/ci_24189738/peter-bakwin-let-use>>>


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By CJC
Oct 6, 2013

3rds open to routes climbing off the e bench, n face and west bench. anything that doesn't require you to hike south off the access trail below the e bench. so the the lower satellites are open too. my guess as to why the 2nd may be closed is damage to the trail on the south side thru the upper satellites. haven't been up there personally. the north side descent is fine though.

there is some crazy arroyo cutting up there, and streams where I've never seen them before.


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By brenta
From Boulder, CO
Oct 6, 2013
Cima Margherita and Cima Tosa in the Dolomiti di Brenta.  October 1977.

Report from the Third. They cut the tree that had fallen at the end of July across the trail to the East Bench. The rest looks more or less like it did a month ago.

The damage to the left of the Second does not affect Freeway and Free for All, but the "trail" used to reach the start of the Kor route, Dodge Block, and South Sneak could be a mess.


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By Peter Beal
From Boulder Colorado
Oct 6, 2013

I hiked up to the satellites today and saw no damage at all on 95 percent of the actual trail. I am betting that most of the other trails have similar percentages of unaffected terrain.


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By CJC
Oct 6, 2013

In general, the trails that follow drainages got hammered, especially lower down. The ones that traverse between drainages are in pretty decent shape except where they cross watercourses. The trail to the 3rd/satellites is a good example...you have to cross a huge washed out gully with a good sized creek that wasn't there before. It's pretty obvious that section had to be repaired before the trail was reopened. I think this is the drainage the trail to the upper satellites follows...if so, there probably won't be anything left of it.

I've been up in the Flatirons quite a bit and most of the area fared pretty well, especially compared to the plains.


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By brenta
From Boulder, CO
Oct 7, 2013
Cima Margherita and Cima Tosa in the Dolomiti di Brenta.  October 1977.

The only sections with any significant damage are those that were reopened first. Not the trail to the East Bench that departs from the so-called 1st and 2nd Flatiron Loop.


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By CJC
Oct 7, 2013

The trail up to the 3rd has significant damage and no, it wasn't one of the first to be reopened.

Quit making shit up. Weirdo.

You're looking for a conspiracy and it's just not here.


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By fossana
From Bishop, CA
Oct 7, 2013
downclimb off the First Flatiron <br />photo by TooTallTim

Eli Helmuth wrote:
The latest from OSMP: ...The Open Space Board of Trustees will discuss off-trail use and night time closures at the next meeting on October 9th at the Council Chambers located at 1777 Broadway beginning at 6 pm. Any of you are certainly welcome to attend the meeting and address the Board with any comments or concerns...

Thanks to Eli for posting.


The trail running community (e.g. Peter B, Buzz B) has been vocal at the OSMP Board meetings. It would be nice to have some climbing community representation if people have time to attend this Wednesday's meeting. Unfortunately, I have volunteer training at this time.


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By brenta
From Boulder, CO
Oct 7, 2013
Cima Margherita and Cima Tosa in the Dolomiti di Brenta.  October 1977.

CJC, I was there today and I saw with my eyes. Everybody can go there and verify that you are a liar.

There is no appreciable damage from the point where you leave the loop all the way to the East Bench. One crosses the drainage you keep babbling about at the base of the Second or right after the Bluebell Shelter, depending on the approach, and no more.

The trail that goes by the base of the Second is among those that were opened first, right after the initial installment of Sept 21. The most damaged trails encountered in the whole journey are actually the ones immediately adjacent to Chautauqua, and those were the very first to be reopened. All this is easily verifiable. Unless you have no idea how to reach the East Bench by the standard trail, that is.

Incidentally, I did the whole loop counterclockwise to check conditions. There are two short stretches that were affected by the runoff of that drainage in the two points where it intersects the loop. They were certainly damaged, and some preliminary repair may have taken place there, but that's it.

There is no conspiracy. Only facts and words that are there for all to see. But those without arguments resort to insults.


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By brenta
From Boulder, CO
Oct 7, 2013
Cima Margherita and Cima Tosa in the Dolomiti di Brenta.  October 1977.

Patrick McHeyser wrote:
Brenta, if you feel that OSMP is only responsive during election years, could you provide some evidence? Ie. past instances in which OSMP has been unresponsive until an election? It would help the rest of us inform our debate.

Where did I say that OSMP is only responsive during election years?

Patrick McHeyser wrote:
Returning to trails, concern over safety for our particular user group does seem absurd. I see no reason why the satellites haven't reopened. That stinks of over caution. With the broader picture in mind however, I think safety is less a concern and more exacerbating existing damage. Trails are not just about "safety" but about limiting harm to the surrounding landscape. In certain areas allowing access is going to create wide swaths of social trails as the masses try to keep their feet dry, step around obstacles, and generally follow the path of least resistance off the trail. This is not trivial, as these trails will begin to erode and widen further, making them more difficult to maintain. I prefer not to see small highways in the middle of the forest which will be there for the rest of that trails lifetime.

I have no objection to this. Then, it's interesting to observe that damaged, muddy trails were reopened in a hurry and Freeway remains closed.

Patrick McHeyser wrote:
As to the time frame. Brenta, it is a simple process to see what can be opened immediately. OSMP has opened those trails, have they not?

No, they have not. Which trails/formations are you talking about and when?

Patrick McHeyser wrote:
The rest are probably fine in some areas and not in others. Even one severely damaged section warrants closure of the whole thing. Sorry to those of you who would prefer immediate access to long term preservation.

And who would be those? Please, quote; no paraphrase.

Patrick McHeyser wrote:
A final thought. I'm not totally on the side of OSMP. They clearly could manage this better. But yelling about conspiracy and how not everything is open is getting nowhere. We just had a giant fucking flood. Things are going to take some time to reopen.

You entirely missed my point. Congratulations. In the meanwhile, BC is opening ahead of schedule.


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By Flatirons Climbing Council
Oct 7, 2013

Here's a graphic of the open and closed areas involving the First, Second and Third Flatirons.


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By Tim C
From Lakewood, CO
Oct 7, 2013
Grahh! There be a human in my Throne!

Now that is an informative map. Good to know.


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