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Seal Rock
Routes Sorted
L to R R to L Alpha
Archaeopteryx T 
Choose Life S,TR 
East Face North Side/Seal Rock T 
East Face South Side T 
Jade Gate T 
Misbehaven T,TR 
Primate T,TR 
Sea of Joy S 
Shortcut (East Face) T 
Skin Flute T,TR 
Southwest Face T 
Supercell S 
Thunder Muscle S 

East Face South Side 

YDS: 5.4 French: 4a Ewbanks: 12 UIAA: IV ZA: 10 British: VD 3c

   
Type:  Trad, 4 pitches
Consensus:  YDS: 5.4 French: 4a Ewbanks: 12 UIAA: IV ZA: 10 British: VD 3c [details]
FA: ?
Page Views: 4,114
Submitted By: Mike Sofranko on Aug 25, 2001

You & This Route  |  Other Opinions (25)
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Topo for a chickenpoop variation: P1 goes to a slu...
Climbing areas reopened after flood MORE INFO >>>

Description 

Another amazing route on my new favorite Flatiron.

Begin just around to the right from the steep south face of Seal Rock. A small flatironette called the Pup leans up against Seal Rock here, and they are separated by a wide crack. Climb this crack for 30 feet or so, then cut left and head up the East Face, aiming for an obvious tree. This pitch is the crux of the route. There is a mossy shallow water trough below the tree - I climbed to the right of it.

From the tree, cut hard to the left (but still go up) on much easier terrain. After another rope length you will find a large chickehead that will make a great anchor. This isn't the mother of all chickenheads, but it's certainly your favorite chickenhead's big brother. From here, head up a few more rope lengths, picking back and forth as necessary to find the easiest way. Eventually you will be trending back to the right, and the summit is not much further.


Protection 

Standard Flatiron rack.



Photos of East Face South Side Slideshow Add Photo
Warren about to begin the runout section to the tree (pitch 1).
Warren about to begin the runout section to the tr...
Mark near the top of the first pitch, in the runout section (it is possible to place a #3 Camalot in the crack 10' right of his location).
Mark near the top of the first pitch, in the runou...
Jeff Gunter starting the indistinct rib variation on P3. Felt 5.6 or so at the L-pointing handle bit onto the rib at the yellow Alien/TCU-sized crack.
Jeff Gunter starting the indistinct rib variation ...
Jeff Gunter enjoying one version of P2.
Jeff Gunter enjoying one version of P2.
Lasso that Chicken Head!
BETA PHOTO: Lasso that Chicken Head!
Comments on East Face South Side Add Comment
Show which comments
By Guy H.
From: Fort Collins CO
Feb 26, 2002

There is an exciting runout after you leave the wide crack on the first pitch. You can get some gear about 20 feet after leaving the crack and a few feet below the 1st belay.

By George Bell
From: Boulder, CO
Nov 18, 2002

If you stay far enough left on the upper part of this route, you can climb up a cool indistinct rib on the far left side of the face which leads directly to the summit. If you stray rightward you will intersect the North Side route and can finish on the crack on that route. I never have found that chickenhead!

By Kreighton Bieger
May 14, 2003

What a great route! It is noticeably harder in a few spots than the E. face North Side, but overall did not feel as sustained to me.

An alternate start is to do only the first move or two in the crack described (and pictured) and pull left onto the face for excellent slab climbing in the 5.3-5.4 range. These moves are unprotected, but the difficulty eases off quickly.

If one chooses to climb straight up from the tree for a piece before cutting left, there is a fairly large band of slippery sandstone to traverse in order to regain the north edge. While probably not more than 5.4, this would be hard to protect. It felt somewhat spicy to me, and in retrospect going left earlier would have been better.

A stunning view and excellent marine life (and vexing questions as to how it got there) in the pools on top of Seal Rock make this a worthy undertaking!

By Zittydog
Oct 25, 2003

I think I found the chicken head or maybe it should be called the buffalo head. Climb about 30 ft up from the tree and then traverse across to the south. You should bump into it before you hit the ridge.

By James Garnett
From: Bellingham, WA
Mar 28, 2004

The belay that I typically use at the top of the second pitch on this one could be the mythical chickenhead: it's a smallish flake above a large one, and it leans back at an angle parallel to the main rock. It looks more chickenheadish than flakish, though. I sling it and then slot a couple of nuts above the sling with a large cam below for opposition. From the second belay I tend to go straight up, in order to avoid the slick dark-red rock, but it gets a bit runout thataways; if you go right from the second belay, you hit the 100' finger crack pretty fast. (Does anyone go farther left, onto the red rock? If so, what is that like?) With a 60m rope it is a total of four pitches from the ground to the rap anchors; a nice variation is to use the third pitch to traverse directly right to the base of the finger crack, which then results in a total of five pitches.

By Jo Holloway
Oct 9, 2006

Beautiful climb! We wound up combining this route with the North Side after the first pine tree. This certainly didn't detract from climbing the east face. There are a couple of rappel stations. We used the recently placed rainbow slings for what was a fairly civilized rappel... much nicer than I was led to believe :-)

By EMT
Oct 26, 2008

Just a note about rapping off this thing!

We rapped the Sea of Joy. (You come to the anchor 50' east of the summit) this is about 150' rap to the ground. If you don't have 2 ropes, you can rap 60' to a hangin' bolted anchor but... this anchor is an American triangle w/ 2 pieces of old spectra and one 8mm rope threw one of the bolts w/ no rap rings! We cleaned someone's 8mm rope that they had fixed to this station, but couldn't redo the anchor.

It'd be great if someone brought some links and chain to make this a little better.... If I find my self up there again, I'll try to remember.

By Tony B
From: Around Boulder, CO
Jun 10, 2010
rating: 5.4 4a 12 IV 10 VD 3c

The raps down the notch are big beefy chain now with 3/8" links.
You know, the finger crack at the top of this route is great in one way but a travesty in another. It's a joy to climb, but too bad it's not vertical. It would be one of the best pitches around Boulder if it were vertical or overhung!

By Matt Schroer
From: Logan, Utah
Jul 10, 2014

My favorite climb in the Flatirons, so far. This is not your standard, east-face romp - the climbing is surprisingly steep (and good!) for the overall angle of the east face, and gear placements border on the unique to insane. IMO, the first and third pitches are the best, although the second pitch, which traverses left (south) to a giant chickenhead belay, is interesting in its own right (bring a giant sling or tie several together and lasso that chickenhead, cowboy!). The first pitch offers some interesting slab climbing and gear placements with a nice runout to the tree belay. The third pitch, starting at the giant chickenhead, is the steepest and most runout - I remember going far left to hit the red rock and loving it. Sounds like you could go more right and hit a finger crack, which, obviously, would offer more protection. I stretched the entire 60 or 70m rope out on this pitch to a creative belay (hooray for tricams!) with only 2 pieces along the entire pitch. I am pretty sure I missed the standard belay on this pitch, but, hey, that's trad climbing. A neat summit and a freaking awesome rappel finish off this east-face Flatiron classic.