This route follows the left arete of the Third Flatiron.
Start as for East Face Left. The start of the route is marked by a rounded rib of rock that angles north below the main east face. Head up this rib, then start straight up the east face towards an overhang which extends across the entire left side of the east face. Do not go all the way to the overhang. Instead after ~100 feet start angling left towards the edge of the face. Belay when you run out of rope on or near the arete.
Follow the arete passing several dihedrals and exciting runout slab sections to the top of the Dog's Head. Stay far left for the best exposure. Occasionally the climbing looks harder than it is, but rest assured the holds always appear when you need them and the grade stays moderate. At the Dog's Head, scramble across the gully and continue for another pitch to the summit, joining the standard East Face route or perhaps try Greenman's Crack as an alternate finish to this less traveled route.
The main difficulties are well-protected, but huge runouts exist on easier terrain. A 60m rope will get you up in 6-8 pitches depending on where you build your belays. If you stretch each pitch to the max, be prepared to simul climb to reach suitable belay spots, especially as you approach the Dog's Head. If you don't wish to simul climb, perhaps it's best not to pass up suitable belay options during the middle pitches.
Leave the Royal Arch Trail about a hundred yards past the Bluebell Creek crossing, thrash down into the creek and cross it, heading up a hill to the base of the face. You can also leave the trail before the creek crossing, but I find this bushwhack worse, and it is harder to navigate to the face. Make sure you do not end up under the Third Flatironette, which is a separate, small Flatiron before you get to the main face.
Descent: There are three rappels from fixed eye-bolts. A single 50m rope is sufficient; on the last rappel, you may either use a double-rope for the 140ft. mostly free-rappel or traverse right on a ledge for 10 feet and rap 72 feet on a single rope to the West Bench. With a 60m or 70m rope you can skip the 1st intermediate rappel station and make only 2 rappels. Knot your rope ends as this makes the first rap nearly 100 feet.
Standard Flatiron rack, slings and large cams (2-4 inch) are useful.
Hiking up the Royal Arch trail a couple minutes be...
|By Chris Plesko|
From: Westminster, CO
Jul 28, 2010
rating: 5.4 4a 12 IV VD 3c R
Fine climb away from the crowds. A little flaky rock/lichen at the very bottom but most of it is really clean for a rarely done line. Stay as far left as possible for the coolest line/exposure. Gear is no worse than most Flatirons slab routes and having the big pieces (#3 & #4) can be useful.
We finished on Greenman's Crack for a nice obscure tour to the summit. It goes to the summit in 6p with a 60m rope though you will have to be creative with belays (std Flatirons issues) if you stretch the rope every pitch. It's nice to be able to simul with your partner to reach better belay locations but not necessary.
For a fun game, see how many 1/4" Star dryves you can find!