This route was one of the first that I did in the Flatirons. It was the first that I did unroped. I've climbed it more than any other route in the Flatirons. It hardly ever sees traffic, you step off a trail onto the route, you step off the top of the route onto another trail, and the climbing is easy and sometimes unique. For all of these reasons, this route is one of my favorites in the Flatirons. Difficulty snobs will want to stay away.
The approach to the 2nd is described on its Rock page. At the bottom of the 2nd, step off the trail and onto the rock. The first crux is negotiating a slight bulge with a crack. From there, the easiest way trends right a bit, then back left aiming for the gully. Follow the holds... Step right onto the rib, and head for an obvious tree. Keep heading up and slightly right over easier rock. The obvious Pulman Car will be looming above you to the left. Soon, you will be on a small summit, with a notch between you and the rest of the route. Jump! It's not as hard as it looks.
Continue treading up and right. You will intersect the north edge of the 2nd. The route finding crux of the route is here where you need to find the spot to step around onto to the north to reach the final slab up to the top of the route. Negotiate the final slab, and step off onto the trail between the 1st and 2nd Flatirons.
(5.5 Sectors) Just walk up and climb. Can you lead 5.10 sport?? If so, then you can have a blast free-soloing this Flat. No prior climbing here is needed. You have the ability to hike up along the right side, so traversing to safty is always easy. Me and my buddy ChrisT have been running it a bunch and we're starting to lable the face in sectors starting from right to left. The first time we climbed about 10-20' off the ground which eliminated the fear factor (Sector A). About half way up Sector A you'll hit a nice pillar that'll have no foot holds but underclings on both sides of it. Really fun! Everywhere you look theres different ramps to take. Running from sector to sector eventually hitting the last pitch, what we're calling the "Final Sector", which is accessed by crossing the gully, cruizing though the "Trees of Love", and taking the final pitch of crack to the tree/trail. It fully fulfills me. heheMy friend ChrisT said to me while we were climbing it, "These holds are too big.", and I said, "Its not that they're to big, they're to Good! Have fun on the Sectors.
This was my very first rock climb (did it a few years ago). went up with a friend who wanted to go "hiking", who had done this climb before and we freesoloed it in tennis shoes (you definitely do not need rock shoes---but i guess you could bring them on your first trip if noone knows the route). it was a totally awesome experience which got me hooked to climbing. i run up this thing with non-climbing friends at least once a year. pure fun, pound down some water at the trail head, and bring nothing with you like a back pack to annoy you...you can run up this thing in 15 minutes when you know the way---note you will not summit, you exit off a tree to the left (not the exposed tree on the right, keep climbing up) some ways above the exciting jump. hike up to the trail to get to the last 25 feet of climbing to the summit (also easy, but exposed).....downcliming it and go home and BBQ
There is really only one place to finish this climb, which from the trail is a notch with a large tree in it. You will be tempted to exit to the trail when you first reach the north edge, but this is not easy due to a 10' overhang right over a dead-end offshoot of the trail (which can be downclimbed, but is the hardest move on the entire climb). Alternatively, keep going up the edge of the N Arete and you will find the easy spot to get to the trail. It's the highest possible place to exit (below the summit block).
I'd estimate this climb is 5-6 pitches long with a 60m rope. There isn't a whole lot of gear. A rack to 2 inches would be fine. Might not be a great first lead as you have to run it out 50' a lot.
This is a good climb to introduce kids to climbing, because you walk off the back down a trail (no rappelling required). The "jump" in the middle, however, may not be easy for kids. We belayed my daughter from both ends and Tyroleaned her across the gap!
By John M Brooks From: Niwot, CO Nov 18, 2007 rating: 5.02-4I6MM 1c
Rope-soloed first three 60m pitches to the gully. Pro available but after long runouts. Free-soloed remainder of route up gully, trees, jump, and summits. The Jump was a bit much given carrying gear, pack, & rope. The Trees of Love (refer to another pic) was the toughest move of the route, and the last 20 ft. up the crack corner/dihedral were harder than the avg rating. Lots of rock to grab!
John, that must have been you I met about half way up -- I was soloing. What a great climb! An infinite number of variations, all excellent for the grade. The wind really picked up near the top, making a solo adventure a bit more exciting.
By Jimn Seiler From: North Platte, NE Jan 27, 2008 rating: 5.02-4I6MM 1c
You can bail off this route (if need) be in a matter of 40 seconds from almost any given spot which makes this a great place for shaky first timers.
Overall a very fun climb...rated at a 5.4 in a few guidebooks I've seen. Climbed this on 6/22/08. In my opinion the hardest pitches were the first and last pitches. Once on the ridge it's pretty much a class 4 scramble up to the leap. After that we climbed a few mini pitches to the walk off point to reduce rope drag. I though the last pitch was harder than a 5.0, but lots of cracks and good pro.
A real fun after work work-out is to solo this route and then move over to Atalanta on the First, downclimb off the back of the first and than down to your car. Such a fun tour. How lucky to have this kind of stuff so available.
An hour ago I was sitting here drinking coffee and looking at MP, as I usually do... After reading Mitchell's challenge, I decided what the hell. I got a good time and maybe a heat stroke. Felt like an idiot sprinting past tourists on the trail. Now I'm back for my 2nd cup like nothing ever happened. Except for the sore legs and sweaty clothes...
I got 39:43 Shawn. and I feel like someone ran me over. The entire time I was sure I was half an hour behind you so I was hauling. I did the entire thing in La Sportiva tennis shoes. I'm sure I looked real sketch when I tried to run up the first 15 feet and had to fall back to the ground and start over.
By Shawn Mitchell From: Broomfield Aug 15, 2009 rating: 5.238II8D 2c R
The Empire Strikes Back, young SkyLauffen: 38:09.
It looks like I'm fudging now or wasn't trying before. But that's the true time and I always felt like I was trying. It saved several minutes to run straight through without changing shoes at bottom and top. Beyond that, I guess you inspired me!
This is one of my favorite rock climbs ever! I usually solo it a handful of times each year and if you want to rope up it is great for practice placing gear. I have found hexes very useful. The "steep" crack on the final pitch is amazing (I would rate it at 5.6) - the rest of the climb seems to be right around 5th class.
By Benten From: Denver Oct 8, 2010 rating: 5.238II8D 2c
Just follow the trees in general, and you will have a great time without a rope. The rock is super rough and makes for very positive feet the whole way.
This is the first climb I did in the Flatirons. Roach rates it as 4th class, so I left the rope behind for my first free solo. Maybe it was because I was sans rope, but this didn't feel like 4th class climbing. I'm not sure how ratings go in the Flatirons, but as a 5.10-11 leader, while still very easy, this felt more like 5.4. Not to be a buzzkill, but I would caution anyone bringing their "non-climbing friends" up this to remember that a fall would still be extremely serious. That said this is a fun climb, I highly recommend climbing the west face to the summit, even though it's awkward, great views.
By Eric Carlos From: Boulder, CO Apr 13, 2012 rating: 5.44a12IV10VD 3c
Did the solo for the first time two weeks ago. What an amazing climb. Last Friday, Apr 6th, was inspired to do a car to car time - 47:24. Today, 41:52. Goal is sub-40 minutes, but I lose about three minutes total in changeover at top and bottom with climbing shoes. I need approach shoes to compete with the big boys.
Did this for my first solo on Wednesday! Great route with some fun moves. I ended getting a bit off route in a few sections and had to make some 5.5/5.6 ish moves which I wasn't too proud of for a first solo. For first timers, my suggestion is to fight the tendency to want to move right. Ended up missing the jump and came out just right of it. Watch out for false summits, and make sure to be more to the left towards the summit or you will get stuck in a corner about 10-15 feet above the trail that you will have to downclimb to get back on track. The last slabby crack section to get to the top was the jewel of the whole route! This section will bring me back!
Just to clarify a bit regarding the approach, there's a trail junction where one can go either left or right to hike the 1st-2nd Flatiron trail. To get the the bottom of the 2nd, to do say, the Freeway, take the left hand fork. I.e. hike the 1st-2nd Flatiron in a clockwise direction. If one goes right, there is also a spot where it's possible to "step off the trail and onto the rock" and it looks quite like the posted pics. FYI.
Knowing others is intelligence; knowing yourself is true wisdom. Mastering others is strength mastering yourself is true power.
- Lao Tzu
By Greg Nidy From: Westminster, CO Aug 23, 2013 rating: 5.126II7MD 2a
This was my second climbing outing and first full "summit". Climbing with an experienced friend, we decided to turn this into a full morning "training exercise".
First, this is great rock. Not too polished, certainly lots of holds, and plenty of space for a "newbie" to learn - either soloing or roping.
We roped this course, my partner in the lead. This was a 3-pitch climb for us. The first pitch was by far the most difficult (5.3-5.4?). After reaching a good spot, we moved onto some additional lessons in the belay process. After completing our second pitch (much more enjoyable views and rock), we decided to simul-climb. This rock face was by far the most fun I have had on any climb (so far). While plenty of people passed by soloing, I found every climber to be courteous, interested, conversational, and friendly. Any climber should spend an hour or two on this rock.
An easy hike in, simple climb up, lots of space - great reminder of why climb!
Just a fun, speed scrambling update on this route for anyone who cares about this stuff - probably not many. The new FKT (fastest known time) is now just a hair under 33 minutes by Dave Mackey on Nov. 2, 2013. This was running in via Bluebell Rd. and 3rd Flatiron trail, then running out the 1st Flatiron / Chautauqua trail for a fantastic scramble loop. I was about 4 seconds back... :-)
One of my favorite climbs in the Flatirons this far. I have never done it roped and have never seen the need to. Don't worry about starting in the right place. Pick a place and go, it's all good, easy climbing. If you stumble across a more difficult looking section, there always seems to be a way around it. I've found it usually takes about 20 minutes or so to climb solo if doing so carefully. It's great fun, and I've found that it's a nice way to start the day before work. Almost anywhere at the base funnels you to the jump unless you do something retarded. As long as you are going up, you're good. It's hard to grade easy climbing, so let's put it this way: the holds are ALWAYS there, albeit a little thin at times. Such a good time though. The first time I did it solo it felt a little spicy. Since then it has just become a nice, fun form of meditation requiring some focus but nothing too serious. There are nice big ledges every couple hundred feet which are comforting to be climbing above. Roping up would be fine too, just slower, but a great place to take beginners! If you are going to solo it, as with anything solo, this is an exercise in commitment. If you feel uncertain beyond reasonable comfort about your capacities here (either physical or mental), rope up for the first time, bailing isn't always so easy. Expect to make new friends if doing during "normal" hours!