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Chris Parks tries to get a ride up the Mohling Are...
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Looking for Angel's Way, I stumbled across this prime choice. Remoteness, length of climb, beauty of the route path, and great rock make this a classic for me. It follows the ridge of this rock for as long as you dare.
Start about 50 feet up and right from the roof that caps the base of the east face. Once there you can see a clearly defined crack/flake system running directly for the crest. From there, just stay on the crest, following whatever line of weakness you like.
About 500 feet up, you'll come to a gap that you need to creatively solve. If this freaks you out, don't continue.
Another 300 feet leads to a wild 5 foot gap with about 60 feet of exposure. You can go down and left 5 feet to a tree, then do a VERY airy and somewhat tenuous traverse. Or, you can jump (my partner did) to the round boulder on the other side. I didn't dare to watch.
From here go up a chimney, around another gap, then a creative slot left and a ramp around a steeper headwall. From here you get to even a wider gap with even more of the daily amount of air. Make 3 moves up that headwall right next to the gap (5.5, don't pull that loose flake off).... stand up, gulp, wait, gulp again, then jump to the other side.
Of course you're going to make it, and gain the beautiful sloping ramp that you see ahead of you. Summit fever is approaching, but it's false! Another gap, this time too wide to jump, is ahead of you. Thankfully, you can downclimb down and right, then left to the base of the gap. You can go up the crack in the headwall, or scramble right. Finish!
We did this free solo in running shoes, not anticipating the spicy moves and airy gaps.... but I'm not really sure a rope or climbing shoes would help you much. Regardless, a beautiful climb with solid rock for a long long time...
Typical Flatirons slab climbing..... you won't be able to get much in at all. Especially the spicy gaps - don't fall there!
BETA PHOTO: This is a google path of my best memory of the rou...
BETA PHOTO: 1st gap, taken from Angel's Way.
BETA PHOTO: Gaps 2 & 3, taken from Angel's Way.
BETA PHOTO: Gaps galore, taken from Angel's Way summit.
|Comments on Mohling Arete
|By George Bell|
From: Boulder, CO
Oct 17, 2002
Don't follow Myke's footsteps, this rib is much scarier to free solo than Angel's Way. It is safer with a rope, because you can rap into some of the gaps (I remember going off a tree to get past either the first or second gap you mention). As Myke says, at the top this climb degenerates into a series of frustrating summits separated by tricky gaps. You can stop when you've had enough. I don't remember any clear point where the climb "is over".
I don't know if I'd give it 3 stars, but the climb does feel amazingly remote considering it is a few miles from downtown Boulder.
|By Michael Komarnitsky|
From: Seattle, WA
Oct 17, 2002
Warren mentioned you rapped.... but does rapping into those gaps really help you? It seemed like you'd be WAY down, have to go to the edge of the gap, then do a long scramble to get back up... safer (for sure), but it probably breaks up the continuity of the route.
PS you can click on the "advanced" form and then choose your own stars for this route! It's a new feature...
|By George Bell|
From: Boulder, CO
Oct 18, 2002
I can't remember if you can rap directly into the gap from that tree, I thought you could. But if not you can swing over and only have to climb 10' back up to the ridge, I don't remember any significant climbing to regain the ridge.
Nov 21, 2005
On the FA attribution - Someone correct me if I'm wrong but I believe it was named in honor of Franz Mohling after he died in a mountainerring accident, but he was not the first ascentionist (if, as with many of the Flatirons routes, there actually was a first ascentionist in any meaningful sense of the word).
|By Chris Zeller|
From: Boulder, CO
Aug 17, 2007
I agree with the posters above: This is a beautiful climb on excellent rock interrupted only by some strange routefinding and unusual moves to get past the gaps. We climbed this more traditionally, downclimbing a few feet then stemming across the void to cross the gaps. Didn't quite do it in running shoes but we did walk some of the class 4-5.easy sections.
The key beta for this climb is the cedar tree. At the second gap it looks impassible. Head left into a cleft to a cedar tree. After an awkward (but no more than 5.5) downclimb to a boulder you can climb up again to rejoin the route.
Check out the Google Earth KMZ file for this route at:
Jan 19, 2009
rating: 5.5 R
Gorgeous location, annoying gaps. This climbs like a mountaineering ridge traverse. Whether you jump the gaps or downclimb into them, they define this route more than the actual climbing. Heads up if you are soloing: you will have to downclimb and/or traverse some questionable rock negotiating the gaps and falling into them would be ugly.
2 stars for scenic beauty.
|By Phil Lauffen|
Jan 19, 2009
While free soloing this I was thinking of analogies. It's kinda like a rock highway broken up by large holes and mounds. The majority of the climb was flat enough for me to stand up and simply walk. However, the trickery came and slapped me in the face a couple of times. I'll let you figure it out. In terms of rock quality, it was mostly good but very lichen-encrusted and loose flakes abound. This route could use some cleaning, but it does add to the character. At the hardest gap (the second I think) I was distinctly aware of rock crumbling around my feet while in a crouching position trying to lean around an arete on exfoliating hand holds above a 50 foot drop. Fun stuff. If you like a little adventure, do this climb!
|By Joe Brannan|
From: Erie, CO
Sep 13, 2009
rating: 5.6 R
Definitely has more of a mountaineering feel than a pure rock route. The approach has tons of poison ivy so those who are sensitive beware. The first pitch is the only run-out really and I thought if felt like 5.6 on the face above the overhang. If the Third Flatiron right side is a 5.7, this first pitch is at least a 5.6. A fun squeeze chimney to get back out of the 3rd(?) notch. The 4th and 5th notches required some back and forth route finding. In the fog and rain, the soaked lichen made things interesting.
|By George Bracksieck|
Mar 3, 2012
In the interest of exposing sandbags, I agree that this climb is harder than 5.5. I soloed this about three years ago. The initial slab seemed harder than 5.5. I backed off of the downclimb into the first notch (sans rope), because I wouldn't commit to the unreachable reach across a bulge above a deadly fall into the gully on the west side of the notch. Unless you rap into the notch, the move would be difficult for anyone of my height (5' 9"). So, I found a way down slabs to the east.
After returning solo with a rope and gear, I climbed up into the notch from the east. Near the top of the notch (on north side of notch), I encountered what I think is the route crux, up somewhat flaky, crumbly, holdless rock. (Phil Lauffen described it well in his comment, above.) I placed something like a #2 Friend at the base of this short steep headwall/arete. A roped leader fall from this crux could be hard on the ankles. Felt like 5.7.
I continued up the ridge. Because I had a rope, I rapped into a higher notch, leaving two biners on a white sling.