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Zig Zag T 

Zig Zag 

YDS: 5.7 French: 5a Ewbanks: 15 UIAA: V+ ZA: 13 British: MVS 4b

   
Type:  Trad, 5 pitches
Consensus:  YDS: 5.7 French: 5a Ewbanks: 15 UIAA: V+ ZA: 13 British: MVS 4b [details]
FA: Unknown
Page Views: 5,121
Submitted By: George Bell on Aug 23, 2001

You & This Route  |  Other Opinions (42)
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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 

This is a fun route on the First that is open year round. Approach via the First Flatiron Trail, follow this trail past the start of the East Face Direct route. The trail then heads south, away from the First Flatiron, but keep going, it will come back. When it does return under the First, at one point the trail passes within 10' of the base of the rock, and above is a huge, left-facing corner which curves into a series of roofs about 120' up. The route begins up a slab about 30' left of this big dihedral (to the right of the dihedral is the start of Baker's Way). This big dihedral goes all the way to the summit ridge and is visible in the photo left of the "2a".

Charge up the easy slab. Above in the overhang you should see a mass of slings hanging from a block. This is the first belay (about 120' out). You can belay here, or continue (recommended if you have a 60m rope). Traverse almost straight right (east) on big footholds, then grab some big face holds and crank right over the final overhang. Then head up a slab towards the big left facing corner and belay anywhere you can find a good anchor (the tree up to your left with slings is not on route).

From here, the route follows the big, left-facing dihedral (or the face to its left), all the way to the summit ridge. At the end of the 2nd pitch (60m ropes) is a second roof which I thought was the crux. On the third pitch, you head up an easy slab with a huge flake to your right that can be used for stemming or chimneying.

The third pitch (with 60m ropes) ends atop the false summit (may be 4 pitches depending on where you belay and how long your rope is). From here, you can unrope and scramble to the top or do one more pitch. From the summit eye bolts, rap 100' west to the ground. If you don't have a 60m rope, rap south to a ramp where you will find another eye bolt for a second rap to the ground (you can also downclimb this route (SW Face), easy but very exposed).


Protection 

Light rack to 2-3", long slings.



Photos of Zig Zag Slideshow Add Photo
This was a great day climbing.
This was a great day climbing.
Climbing the slab to the first belay on P1.
Climbing the slab to the first belay on P1.
The traverse.
The traverse.
The first belay (hidden from view at start of the route).
The first belay (hidden from view at start of the ...
Start of the route.
Start of the route.
Looking down the second overlap.
Looking down the second overlap.
Another costumed day in the Flatirons.
Another costumed day in the Flatirons.
Comments on Zig Zag Add Comment
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Comments displayed oldest to newestSkip Ahead to the Most Recent Dated May 25, 2013
By goatboywonder
May 28, 2002

This is a good route. The only bummer is the fact that it faces east so check the weather before you get started and carry some rain gear. I felt that the crux was the traverse on the first pitch (with a 60m rope), but it may of just been mental. I would advise climbing the full 60m before setting a belay. I set ours about 10' past the traverse and we ended up having to simul-climb about 10' to get to the belay below the roof. I also feel that gear up to 4" is helpful.

By Warren Teissier
May 28, 2002

Goatboy, I agree with you on the crux thing.

I felt the traverse was scarier and thought it to be the crux (I followed this pitch). The roof at the end of the second pitch felt more technical but really safe since the gear is bomber and at face level as you set up to crank the roof.(I lead this pitch)

The funny thing is: I climbed this with George and he felt exactly the opposite... He lead the first and followed the second...

Great route....

WT

By Ernie Port
From: Boulder, Colorado
Aug 14, 2002

I lead this awhile back and feel it should be "s" rated if you have 60m rope and run P1 to the ledge next to the dihedral, which most folks do. I didn't see any way to protect the pitch past the slings on the block, and a slip here would be a hellish pendulum.

By pete cogan
Oct 26, 2002

Terrific route despite some minor icefall! I found pink/blue/brown tricams were helpful.

By Mark Kocourek
Sep 12, 2003

Excellent route on the 1st. The crux roof and the traverse add some spice to a classic Flatiron slab climb. I agree with Warren that the moves on the latter roof were more technical in nature but felt less psychologically committing due to bomber gear and clean fall potential. The traverse wasn't as technical but definitely felt much more committing and I couldn't find a decent placement until wellbthis section. I would think the second should be as competent as the leader, since a fall on the traverse might be a nasty pendulum. Good gear overall though and fun climbing. The upper section of the route eats stoppers. Great climb!

By James Garnett
From: Bellingham, WA
Jun 23, 2004

It's possible to go straight up from the first belay and follow Kamikaze Roofs, rejoining at the second belay. This will avoid the traverse directly off the first belay, and the climbing is fun (but easy). If you do this, the crux is definitely the roof---but it probably goes at about 5.6 if you undercling left to surmount it. I've been up this route a couple of times now and feel it to be a bit soft for the grade, at least in comparison to Boulder Canyon or Eldo (but perhaps the Flatirons are just like that). Regardless, this is a much finer route than the Direct Route, imho.

By Scott Kozub
Aug 9, 2004
rating: 5.7 5a 15 V+ 13 MVS 4b

Wasn't too sure about how this route went after reading Rossiter's book, but looks like we followed James advice a bit. We set the first belay at the slings below the overhang. Lead the second off slightly to the right and pulled the roof (same as Kamikaze Overhangs would go) with a nice lean back, then cut right and climbed over some thin flakes ad straight up to the big tree on Kamikaze Overhangs. From there we headed right again and got back on the route. The second overhang has bomber protection around it and makes for a nice addition to the route (I don't believe Rossiter mentions this in his book). All of the guessing as to what, the 'big flake' is are quickly resolved as it becomes very apparent once over this little section. The final run is a stroll, but the flake is a very interesting part of the climb that most folks on the Flatiron don't ever get to see. Overall, a great route. Recommended. Take a 60 m rope with you!

By Anonymous Coward
May 4, 2005

Climbed this route for the first time today and really enjoyed it! On approach, don't leave the trail the first time it runs up next to the rock. Stay on the trail until you can see the slings on the block and the tree, and you can belay right at that switchback. I agree with the above comments about the cruxes: the traverse is mental and runout, and the roof is technical with good pro (2"-3", make sure you plug something in before factor 2'ing onto the anchor). Definitely run the first pitch as high as you can to enable the second pitch to reach the base of the roof (with a 60m rope). It's an uncomfortable seat, but you can get a few pieces in for an anchor just above a rock horn in the corner. See how far in and up you can get under the "big flake" (packs make this difficult)! If you set a belay on the ridge just below the false summit (on the nice huge ledge), it is one more 60m pitch to the summit bolts. The bendy old rap bolt is really looking flacid (and flexes quite a bit), but the glued bolt still looks good.-s

By Tony B
From: Around Boulder, CO
May 5, 2005
rating: 5.7 5a 15 V+ 13 MVS 4b

Funny as it is, I too climbed this for the first time on Weds. I was doing laps on routes ont he first when I decided that I wanted to climb this, although I was not sure what I was getting on. I suspected the Kamikaze roofs. The left way though the roof looked like junky wet rock and on-sight free-solo just didn't feel right for that, so I went right below the roof. Somewhat by chance, ended up taking this good, natural line. The second roof was not only the crux, it was the best part of the climb. I went out left into a tight stem box cutting through a roof and passed it with perfect, sinker fingerlocks. Fun!

By Jason Kaplan
From: Glenwood ,Co
Jul 1, 2006

I am curious is going straight up under the tree in the pic the Kamikaze Roofs? Just curious, because this is how I always end up doing this, for some reason it seems more alluring than trying to climb out of the dihedral on the right. Although the gear is freaking scary, I have done this route like 3 times, and it is probably my favorite on the First so far. I really love the crux on the overhang on the third pitch as there is great pro, and if you try to pull up and right through the roof, I have found it can be slabby fun..
I am stoked for you on-sight soloing this Tony, good job, I would like to try it sometime not in the near future. I need to work my way up to it, I need to solo Fandango and the Direct East Face first.

By Larry M Shaw
Aug 19, 2006

Great route. I've done this one twice, and both times went straight up past the first belay slings to a tree. It felt like .6 or .7 with some loose blocks. From the tree, it's good to just blast straight up to the top, but better climbing is found by cutting right to the diheral and finishing the true route.

By Mike McMahon
From: Vernal, Utah
Jun 17, 2007

I inadvertently soloed [what I thought to be] this route this evening. I had yet to climb a route on the first, so I was pretty unfamiliar with the terrain. I originally wanted to solo Baker's Way and climb to hiking territory via the North Arete. I thought Baker's Way began underneath a roof directly off of the 1st Flatiron Trail [apparently it does, just another switchback higher?]. Needless to say, being new to climbing, I quickly found myself in some pretty scary terrain. At the first mess of slings, I hugged the overhang, traversed left for a few holds, managed to overcome the overhang, and found myself at a slung tree [which apparently is off route?]. I then found what I believed to be the Baker's Way trees slightly to the left. I climbed straight up the face from there in a small gully, overcoming one small roof. The route topped out on the North Arete two 'notches' from the summit. Any suggestions on what this route was? Anyway, hopefully this will scare me away from soloing for a while.

By Mike McMahon
From: Vernal, Utah
Jun 21, 2007

This is a correction to my last comment... So, apparently Baker's Way actually begins slightly below and right of Zig Zag. If so, after the first pitch of Zig Zag, if I went farther south (left), would that put me in the 'Atlanta' area? Judging by the route overlays on the First Flatiron picture, I'm guessing I popped into the upper pitches of Atlanta.

By George Bell
From: Boulder, CO
Jun 22, 2007

Mike, that slung tree you mention is left of Zig-Zag on the route Kamikazee Overhangs. If you went a bit left from there, you would hit Atalanta, which also has an even larger tree on it one pitch below the summit ridge. These trees are both visible on the beta Photo (Copy).

David Roberts has told a story back in the 60s where he was climbing in this area, and the rope became stuck. His partner untied from the rope and then soloed down to unsnag it, where he slipped and fell to his death. David Roberts and John Krakauer recently found and repeated this route, and there is a chapter about this in David Robert's latest book "On the Ridge Between Life and Death". However David is still rather vague about where the route is, but it is somewhere on the left side of this face.

By Mike McMahon
From: Vernal, Utah
Jun 29, 2007

Thanks for the Beta George. I read the chapters of Robert's book regarding the First...his friend's death sounded terrible.

By denise 911
From: fort collins, co
Jun 15, 2009

First climb on the Flatirons - fun route! We climbed the first pitch of Kamikaze and belayed at the tree. Really fun overhangs, but made for almost a full 70m pitch with serious rope drag to the belay below the roof on Zig Zag (but then with the name Zig Zag I guess rope drag shouldn't be a surprise).
Full set of nuts and cams up to a BD #1 will get it done. I placed a couple bigger pieces, but the small placements were more predominant. (This might be different if you go in under the big flake - my partner had a pack so I stayed out on the face moves)

By Bill Mansfield
Aug 22, 2009

Excellent route. Beautiful and unusual bowl at the start. I climbed a little too high on the traverse on the first pitch after the slings, and had to downclimb from the roof to good feet down near the lower edge of the flake. The red rock got really hot on the fingers today, the shadow from the big flake felt like industrial air conditioning. While dismantling an anchor, I let an opposition brown tri-cam fall about 30 feet down to a ledge below the big flake. You won't even have to work, it's just sitting there waiting for the next climber.

By Dave Swink
From: Boulder, Co
May 31, 2010
rating: 5.7 5a 15 V+ 13 MVS 4b PG13

This route was a lot of fun although I think we got off route a bit. We went straight up from the block with slings to several trees (Kamikaze Roofs?) and belayed from a big tree. There was a challenging roof at the end of the second pitch, so I thought we were back on route, but just a few moves above that roof there was a 25 foot traverse to the dihedral. The route-finding was a bit confusing but the rock was clean and the climbing was a little more challenging than the East Face Direct route.

By Rick Casey
From: Lafayette, Colorado
Jul 23, 2010

I added a new sling and a rappel ring to the mess of slings at the first belay today, as they were looking kind of worn (and because we rapped off). Also managed to get a #1.5 rigid stem Friend stuck about 20' up and left from the slings (which I could not get out on rappel); so if anyone gets this out, I'll be glad to buy you a beer for its return! (Overcammed pretty good though....) Doubt many people want such ancient gear as booty anyway, but it's been with me a long time....

By Brian Scoggins
From: Eugene, OR
Aug 20, 2012

Despite being a bit off route, you can get to a massive tree above the dying slung tree if you have a 70m rope. This provides one of the few really comfortable belay stances on the entire route.

I found protection difficult to find, and not exactly confidence inspiring between the cruxes (e.g. the overhang with the slung block, and the second overhang with the offwidth splitting it) but well protected at the cruxes.

Despite being the easiest, I found the 3rd pitch to be the best in terms of available protection, and also quality of movement.

By Bill Olszewski
From: Colorado Springs, CO
May 25, 2013
rating: 5.7 5a 15 V+ 13 MVS 4b R

Great climb. I thought P2 was the best - loved the knife-edge, left-facing flake, just wish it went all the way up the pitch! As stated previously, the cruxes are protected well enough; giving this an R for the long runouts elsewhere, sometimes as much as 50'.