The Shanahan Crags are located to the south of "The Slab". There are a couple "classic" easy Flatiron routes found on the main rock. There are also some more demanding trad routes on the south face, also. The descent involves doing a short downclimb to the gully north of the southern summit. A short rap from a tree will put you on the ground. A scramble down the south side will get you back to your packs.
This rock is best approached from the southern Shanahan Trail, which meets up with the Mesa trail.
From the low point of the rock, head west for 300 feet. Look for a 140 foot vertical crack. The picture in Rossiter's guide book shows the route going up the wrong crack. The crack down and right in this picture is the correct one. This one of the best "crack" pitches that I have done in the Flatirons. It has great protection and good handholds.P1: Follow this crack for 140 feet.P2: Join the Southeast ridge route. Passing the last large roof right near the left edge will add some excitemen...[more]Browse More Classics in CO
With several new routes, the south face of Shanahan is now an excellent destination for moderate climbing. There are six routes from 5.4 to 5.9+ (not including the 11a Leonine), and several of these climbs merit three stars. The new routes all have adequate protection, but it can be tricky to arrange. RPs are a must and double ropes can be useful. Many leaders will be more comfortable a grade or two below their limitis.
By Leo Paik Administrator From: Westminster, Colorado Mar 13, 2003
For those new to the crag, you will likely first encounter rock (lower part of the crag)well downhill from the established routes. Keep moving uphill and it will match the picture from Rossiter's guide. We met some folks trying to match some grungy crack with the photo perhaps 150 m downhill from the South Face route. The area may be lined up E-W wise as further W than the notch W of the Sphinx.
I was one of the goofballs that Leo mentions, and I admit that I was suckered into starting up the grungy crack that's lower downslope from the posted routes. (What can I say, I was overly anxious to get on real rock after having spent a bit too much time at BRC....) The grungy crack did have a couple of fun moves, but it's nowhere near as pretty as the other routes just a little further up.
I've never rappelled off the summit of this rock, but always downclimbed through the notch. That way sucks, though, because you have to scramble back through loose talus. My preferred method of descending now is to do a double-rope rappel from the rap station at the top of Prune Face (slings around a block, backed up with a fixed nut). This is a lot nicer and quicker, and with the rock as close to the trails as it is, it's not too much of a PITA to carry the extra rope.
Gotta disagree with the approach beta here, unless you enjoy Flatiron bushwacking. The best approach is via the Terrain Boulders. From the upper-most Terrain boulders (Love Boat), head south through the woods to the base of Shanahan crag.
What's wrong with the approach beta, AC? It's spot-on. This is a crag that is dear to our (shanahan-lovers') hearts, apparently, because the cairns that occasionally appear are quickly knocked down. Nevertheless, the beta is simple: from the gully between the south & north shanhan crag trails, walk west until you're at the crag: if it's not _totally_ obvious that you've arrived, then you haven't.