This is a great route. If it weren't for the grubby start, it'd get 3 stars easily.
The route starts to the right of the rock gully that leads into the Mallory Cave. Because of this, it is subject to bat closures, so make sure you check this before you hike all the way there. The gully / chimney part of the route has lots of [loose] rock and a large-sized "death block" as christened by Roach. Watch were you step, there is definitely enough stuff there to hurt someone.
We did this route in three pitches with a 60m rope. Portions of the route have sizeable runouts but the difficulty in those sections is mild....
P1. Start some ten feet up and right of the Mallory Cave gully. Climb a notch covered with lichen and followed immediately by another notch. This feels a bit stiff for the grade and is somehow protectable. From here, work your way to the trees in a gully up and left and move left of the gully once you reach the tree. Run up the face until you reach the top part of the gully and belay when you run out of rope.
P2. Continue up the gully/chimney until you reach a bulge with two cracks (alternatively you can traverse right out of the gully for some neat face climbing and then back to the chimney under the cracks (unprotected for some 40 feet)). Put in a piece in the crack, and crank the bulge using perfect hand jams. Step around the death block and belay past it in the notch.
P3. Traverse up and left for a few feet and them climb straight up until you reach the top.
Rappel 50-70 feet North from slings located on the North side of the summit.
Standard Flatiron rack.
BETA PHOTO: Margaret climbing up last pitch (P3) to summit.
BETA PHOTO: View from SE on the trail.
BETA PHOTO: Bulge crux - easiest to pass on left.
BETA PHOTO: Climb left to Mallory Cave, right & up P1 of FF.
BETA PHOTO: Rappel on N side of W end.
|By Joe Keyser|
From: Scottsdale, AZ
Feb 22, 2002
We did this a while ago, and had difficulty figuring out where to start using the rossiter guide. So, we just started from the bottom just as you go up the rocky path to the cave. There were a few difficult, or maybe just confusing, moves on poor rock, I ran it out a ways, and belayed behind a big bush. That said, it would appear that there are many different ways you could start the climb.However, IMO, the last pitch was excellent, easy slab climbing in a beautiful setting... My partner and I had just been laid off a couple days prior to the climb, and we choose it so that we could give the (big) finger to our ex-employer...:)
|By John M Brooks|
From: Niwot, CO
Oct 24, 2009
rating: 5.4 4a 12 IV 10 VD 3c
Nice trail to base & along descent. Enjoyable route and belay areas. Great summit top. Total rope length ~140m bottom to top.
|By Michael R|
From: Vail Valley, CO
Nov 12, 2009
The first pitch had a lot of loose rocks and pine cones/sticks. Seeing as the route is directly above a hiking trail to Mallory Cave, you have to climb carefully and watch the rope drag. Call out all debris you knock loose as the unsuspecting day hikers are probably not going to expect it (especially true for the follower!). When I was belaying my partner rope drag knocked several pine cones on unsuspecting hikers.
|By James Hicks|
From: Denver, CO
Nov 6, 2013
"It's only 5.4 right?"...beware the Roach 5.4, it is not always as it seems ;)
In all seriousness, it's a really fun climb but seemed tougher than most if not all the 5.4s I have climbed in the Flatirons. We did it in 2 long pitches and one short pitch (with a 60m rope). The Finger Flatiron contains quite a bit more loose/crumbly rock than I have seen on most Flatirons as well. You definitely need to exercise care as to not bean the hikers below.
P1 - Another guidebook calls the start 5.6 if you go straight up to the left of the tree and through the notch from the base (which you should, it's a fun move). It protects well with a yellow, boat anchor sized tricam. I think that was the only piece of gear I got in on the first pitch besides slinging a couple trees. Ran straight up the slab to the left of the bushes and trees until almost the end of the rope (50 foot or so run out to where I built the anchor).
P2 - Climb the crappy gully or unprotected face climb for a short distance, really it's just getting you set up at the great belay ledge/cave below the crux moves on the 3rd pitch.
P3 - Climb/stem up the wide crack to the hand crack crux. There are gear options here, but everything is a bit grungy and loose in places. Solid hand jam with decent feet, and after a couple moves you're back on the slab with a pretty poorly protected (2-3 pieces total for the rest of the pitch) rope stretcher to the summit. The decent is a straight forward rappel off the north side, a single 60m rope easily gets you down.