Waiting For Columbus
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BETA PHOTO: West side of the Third Flatiron.
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From the west side of the Third Flatiron, start descending to the south. You will pass Friday's Folly, and then a major corner system (Pentaprance) with a few bolts. [On the] next face down from this, just past a featured arete is the climb at hand, Waiting For Columbus.
If you see some slings around the base of a tree, 30' up the cliff and 40' to your right, that is the base of Falcon's Fracture. Waiting For Columbus is just in front of you. Keep looking.
Approach "the business" part of the route by climbing up and right on a flake to reach the first overhang. If you don't put in a [piece] on the way, you will face a [committing] move 35 feet off of the deck to make the first clip. Although it was not a hard move, I felt a little [tweaked]; consider [placing] gear. From there, continue up and occasionally slightly left, passing the occasional bolt or gear placement as you go. I don't have the impression that [Rossiter] intended this as a bolts only sport climb, you'll probably want more than 4 or 5 clips in the 165' of real climbing... The chalk will runout as the face is more exposed to the elements toward the top. Stay left, and go left beneath a few big flat plates to discover a hidden bolt there, and up to clip another at the roof. Master the roof on HUGE holds and continue straight up with a few gear placements to the top. [The crux crack/flake pitch protects quite well with a few cams from 0.75" - 3". You cen get a 2-2.5" piece at your feet and hang on to get another 0.75-1.0" or 2" piece over your head for the crux, but that might be pumpy for some people.] On top run up the slab to a huge old eye-bolt. This will REQUIRE a 60m rope.
Belay from the eye-bolt and then duck through the cave behind you to read the second-from-the-top rap anchor for the standard southwest rap of the Third Flatiron.
The length and nature of this climb are unique and fun. I was really enjoying myself on it, enough so to give it the three-star rating.
A bit runout on the easier parts (5.8?), but secure and reasonably safe. Take 1 set of nuts from #4-#11 BD or Eqiv. + small tricams (pink, red) and cams from green Alien to 3.5".
The first and third clips, if memory serves me right, are reachy and involve committing to the moves if you are not particularly tall. At 5'10" with VERY long arms I could not clip them from the rests. I fell a few inches short.
Take lots of slings if you will place much gear, including several long ones. A set of 6" stiff draws will put a hurt on you. The route does wander a bit and in particular the bolt before the roof may require a 2' long sling.
BETA PHOTO: Route I took in blue, the topo shows an alternate ...
BETA PHOTO: Near the top. Friday's Folly on the left skyline,...
Cranking over the roof....
@ the first bolt, the first crux.
|Comments on Waiting For Columbus
|By Ivan Rezucha|
From: Boulder, CO
Oct 27, 2002
We (Luke Clarke and I) did this yesterday 10/26/02, but we seemed to have missed the second 10c crux indicated on the topo as somewhere above the second bolt. I think I was too far right (where the holds are). At one point I used the right edge of the face with one foot around the corner. This was just before a ramp that slants up and left and leads to the plates that lead to the roof.
We belayed half way, by stepping right from the ramp mentioned above to a very cozy platform above the overhanging part of Falcon's Fracture. You can get good cams for the belay by climbing a little higher, and you can thread a big wire through a pinched off crack. Photos from here of the roof would be great.
Since I missed the second crux, and since I wasn't paying attention to the topo, I was expecting the roof to be 10c. I was surprised, even a bit disappointed, to find it to be very easy at about 5.9. It could be much harder if you are short.
After the roof we angled left rather than going straight up to Slip Slide ledge. This was fun and easy, adding some more exposure. We belayed below a gigantic boulder (not at the big bolt Tony mentions), and downclimbed (with a belay) an easy slab on the west face to the Friday's Folly rappel._Hero shot? What's with the photo of Rossiter on page 198 of the Flatirons Guide? We climbed the roof just right of the bolt. I suspect Rossiter hand traversed further left for a better photo. Or maybe he's short and that's the way a shorter person would do the roof?
Gear: I agree with Tony about the clips on the first few bolts. They were annoying. I'm 6.2+ with a -1 ape factor, and I had to start the moves to make the clip. But, once clipped, I was happier the bolts were higher. To get to the first bolt, climb up and right and then back left. Left then right also looks possible, but is harder. Tony says to bring 2_ to 3.5_ cams, but in his text he says 0.75_ to 3_. Bring some smaller cams. I think I used down to the green Alien. Also, brass nuts (HBs for me), and up to the gold/#2 Camalot.
|By Andy Moore|
Sep 8, 2004
If you only have a 50m rope, and/or you'd rather avoid crowds on the standard rappel descent, go straight up to Slip-Slide Ledge and belay. Then downclimb Slip-Slide Ledge to the top of the Southwest Chimney. From here, you can either continue to downclimb, down the relatively easy chimney, or rappel the same way to the ground (from an eyebolt).
|By Tim Fleming|
From: Boulder, CO
Jan 5, 2006
I've read the other comments and I'm short (5'7") but didn't have much trouble at all with any of the hard sections. The cruxes looked scary to lead but once I pulled into them, they were all comfortable without any trouble. In fact, I felt like it leaned toward being a bit of a jug haul for most of the route with the cruxes having solid, big holds. Each 10c crux might be a bit more like 10b but because of the sustained nature, I'd say the grade is pretty accurate. It was a great route with lots of fun, sustained climbing. Combine this with Friday's Folly ([spectacular] warmup) on a sunny, winter day and you'll have a terrific day of climbing with the 3rd Flatiron most likely all to yourself.
|By Mike Munger|
From: Boulder, Colorado
Oct 25, 2007
Just did this route again. This was a pretty heady lead before the bolts were placed and though it was possible to get some gear in, with the addition of the bolts it is quite safe now.
|By Dougald MacDonald|
Oct 23, 2009
Super route, very fun. Don't get all caught up in the jug hauling and start skipping any gear placements. We broke two big holds on this route in October ’09.
|By Mark Cushman|
From: Cumming, GA
Jan 30, 2010
Super fun route. Take smaller cams, I don't think I placed more than a #2 Camalot on the route and wished that I had a few more finger sized cams for cracks between plates. I think I got suckered right where Ivan did, because I believe I missed the second crux, too. Still stellar and great as one pitch to the eyebolt. Worth repeating to clip a long draw at the bolt under the roof.
|By Jay Eggleston|
Sep 12, 2010
This is perhaps the best single pitch I have ever climbed in the Flatirons. I only used gear to a #1 Camalot. There are lots of bomber nut placements to be found.
|By Patrick Mulligan|
Oct 13, 2011
No kidding on the broken holds. I climbed this in 1995 and when approaching the hidden bolt above the flat plates I pulled the plate that was directly below the bolt off while trying to pull up and clip it. I was pretty run out at the time. I took a very long fall (unless memory has increased the height of the fall) and came to rest about 15 feet above my belayer, who had run toward the wall to avoid the falling plate and debris. It was and remains my biggest fall to date. I fell on a #4 stopper which at that time remained as a fixed piece (is it still there?) and the biner at the rope end of the draw was unable to be opened as the nose had bent to the side when it was scraped against the rock. I kept both the biner and the draw that is fixed to it. The move to the hidden bolt became easier as you could now stand on a solid rail below where I had pulled off the plate.