Red Slab Variation
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This route will be described as we did it/found it, which is not in some cases the original line, but is very nearly so. By way of example, we "added" a pitch at the bottom. No doubt, all of this territory has been previously climbed and so the FA is listed as "uncertain/various."
For the first pitch, you can do the first pitch of the direct route, [battling] for position for the first 100' or so, to the second bolt then continue straight up on the line, or better yet...
P1, (5.7, VS, 68 meters): Walk up and right (north) from the start of the direct route to a smooth red slab at the base. Start pasting hands and feet up this pitch. You will follow this line directly up past very little gear, 30 to 50' North of the bolts on the Direct East Face. Continue for 60m to the left hand side of a decaying flake and then up and over it 8m more to belay on a small ledge at the top of it with reasonable gear. I believe I got 3 [pieces] of gear in this pitch.
P2, (5.8, S, 70m): Go up from the belay perhaps 30m, tending slightly left to reach a large bulge in the wall. This is not as steep at it appears from below. At the bulge, protect and climb a 6 meter section of left-leaning finger crack (grungy crux, but protected well enough) then continuing up and slightly left to an excellent ledge at 70m. Belay there.
P3, (5.6, 70m): Go up and right on easy [terrain] to the right side of the huge tower that leans against the First Flatiron. [Continue] on easy ground for 50+M to reach a point on its top, then belay at 50m or continue. This ledge is the same which is reached from 20m to the left on the direct route. Continuing to 70m of length on this same pitch gained a stance and some 1" gear just below a smooth section with a second crux. You may also prefer to have the 2nd simul-climb to this point before belaying from above, running P3/4 together
P4, (5.8, 70m): From the belay at 70m, or once the second is in Simul-climb mode, climb up and right on a smooth face through a few "slashes" in the wall. (second crux, clean 5.8) Clean-edged fingercracks that protect reasonably well with .75"-1.5" gear. Continue up through this section to attain the N. Ridge well down and right of where the Direct Route Does. Climb to the end of your rope and belay.
P5-7, (5.2, 100+m total) Actual pitch count will depend on rope-length and rope-drag, Follow the N. Ridge to the true summit of the first.
Descend from the summit via the standard rap, with a 60+m rope or twin 50s.
The roped ascent done by leading/following the pitches as [described] was done car-to-car from the ranger station in 2h40m with only a little simuling, (was mostly conventional lead/follow). This time could easily be reduced, as we played around trying to retrieve a fixed nut for 10 minutes and also I had a massive wipe-out running down the trail- lost a lot of skin on an "endo" into the trail when my [heel] got caught in a loop of the rope I had tied onto my back.
A standard light rack of nuts and a few cams 1"-3". Small tricams were also used in our ascent, but they are not needed.
From: Bear Creek, CO
Mar 23, 2009
rating: 5.8 5b 16 VI- 15 HVS 4c R
I like this climb better than the East Face Direct. Less crowded, but there is also a lot less gear, so you have to be comfortable with running it nearly a full rope length.
From: Boulder, CO
Apr 5, 2010
You're basically soloing.