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Routes in Third Flatiron

1911 Gully T 5.5 4b 13 IV+ 11 MS 4a
Blazing Biners T,S 5.10a 6a 18 VI+ 18 E1 5a
College Drop Out aka East Face North Side T 5.6 4c 14 V 12 S 4b
Direct West Face a/k/a Western Skyline T 5.11b 6c 23 VIII- 23 E3 5c
Doctor Merkwurdigliebe T 5.8 5b 16 VI- 15 HVS 4c
Dog's Head Cutoff T 5.4 4a 12 IV 10 VD 3c R
East Face (Standard) T 5.4 4a 12 IV 10 VD 3c
East Face Left T 5.5 4b 13 IV+ 11 MS 4a
Extra Point T 5.6 4c 14 V 12 S 4b R
Falcon's Fracture T 5.8 5b 16 VI- 15 HVS 4c
Feathers and Stone S 5.11+ 7a 24 VIII 24 E4 6a
Friday's Folly T 5.7 5a 15 V+ 13 MVS 4b
Friday's Folly Direct T,TR 5.7 5a 15 V+ 13 MVS 4b R
Funny Games T,TR 5.12d 7c 28 IX 28 E6 6b R
Greenman's Crack T,TR 5.3 3+ 10 III 9 VD 3a R
Holier than Thou S 5.11 6c+ 23 VIII- 23 E4 5c
Inner Sanctum T 5.9 5c 17 VI 17 HVS 5a PG13
Northwest Passage T 5.10b 6a+ 19 VII- 19 E2 5b R
Pentaprance T 5.11a 6c 22 VII+ 22 E3 5c R
Ph.D. Roof T 5.10a 6a 18 VI+ 18 E1 5a
Rite Of Spring T 5.8+ 5b 16 VI- 15 HVS 4c PG13
Saturday's Folly T 5.8+ 5b 16 VI- 15 HVS 4c
Sayonara T,S 5.10b 6a+ 19 VII- 19 E2 5b
Shoyu State S 5.11a 6c 22 VII+ 22 E3 5c
South Chimney T 5.5 4b 13 IV+ 11 MS 4a
Southwest Chimney T 5.4 4a 12 IV 10 VD 3c
Super Woo T 5.10a/b 6a+ 19 VI+ 19 E2 5b
Thin Crack T 5.11c 6c+ 24 VIII- 24 E4 6a PG13
Third Kingdom/Papillion T 5.12b 7b 26 VIII+ 26 E5 6b
Third World Zone T 5.4 4a 12 IV 10 VD 3c R
Unnamed (formerly entered as Problem Child) T,TR 5.9 5c 17 VI 17 HVS 5a PG13
Waiting For Columbus T,S 5.10b/c 6b 20 VII 20 E2 5b
West Door T 5.8 5b 16 VI- 15 HVS 4c
West Face [3rd Flatrion] T 5.10b 6a+ 19 VII- 19 E2 5b PG13
Winky Woo T 5.4 4a 12 IV 10 VD 3c R
Wrongs of Fall T 5.9 5c 17 VI 17 HVS 5a PG13
Unsorted Routes:
Order Wrong? Sort Routes
Access Issue: Temporary Trail and Raptor Closures Details
Access Issue: Some crags in this area are closed 1 February to 31 July: Details


Unmistakable and outstanding, its jutting east face is obvious from anywhere in Boulder, and the beautiful, solid rock meets or exceeds your high expectations. A 100-foot-high "CU" was painted on since the 1940s. Since camouflaged by more paint, you can still see the faint outline. Of course, when you're on the east face, it's obvious when you get to this section of the rock, especially because it's a smeary section of rock with no hand holds, mostly friction foot moves. Enjoy it when you can: the Parks department closes this and most of the rocks around it, due to raptor nesting concerns (see below).

Note, the Ghetto is actually part of the Third Flatiron.

Getting There

From the ranger cottage at the Chautauqua Park trailhead (Baseline Rd.), follow the paved Bluebell Road south to the Bluebell Shelter. From the shelter follow the Royal Arch trail south to the junction of the Second-Third Flatiron Trail. Follow this trail west to the clearly marked Third Flatiron Trail. The trail ends at the start of the Third Flatiron standard east face climbing route. The Third Flatiron Descent Trail starts in the saddle to the west of the summit of the Third Flatiron. The trail begins to descend north, then east, down through a talus field to end at the Third Flatiron Trail, a few hundred yards north of the start to the standard east face climbing route.


Per mark felber: for rappel, there are chains at the south end of the summit, for a 45' rap to the South Bowl. Use the chains here for a 50' rap to Friday's Folly Ledge (or just go from the summit to Friday's Folly ledge in one shot with a 60m or longer rope). On reaching Friday's Folly Ledge, you'll see a great big eyebolt and a sign placed by BOSMP, warning you that the rappel from the eyebolt is 140' and directing you to a much shorter rappel(72') from good chains to climber's left/west. The shorter rappel lands you right on the descent trail. Taking the longer rappel means you have to 3rd class up to the landing of the short rappel to reach the descent trail, or descend 1911 Gully.

FWIW, there is a low fifth class downclimb for those without a rope.

36 Total Climbs

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Classic Climbing Routes at Third Flatiron

Mountain Project's determination of the classic, most popular, highest rated climbing routes in this area.
5.4 4a 12 IV 10 VD 3c
East Face (Standard)
Trad 8 pitches
5.4 4a 12 IV 10 VD 3c R
Winky Woo
5.4 4a 12 IV 10 VD 3c R
Third World Zone
Trad 8 pitches
5.5 4b 13 IV+ 11 MS 4a
East Face Left
Trad 9 pitches
5.6 4c 14 V 12 S 4b
College Drop Out aka East Face North…
Trad 6 pitches
5.6 4c 14 V 12 S 4b R
Extra Point
Trad 5 pitches
5.7 5a 15 V+ 13 MVS 4b
Friday's Folly
5.8+ 5b 16 VI- 15 HVS 4c
Saturday's Folly
5.8+ 5b 16 VI- 15 HVS 4c PG13
Rite Of Spring
Trad 2 pitches
5.10b 6a+ 19 VII- 19 E2 5b R
Northwest Passage
Trad 3 pitches
5.10b/c 6b 20 VII 20 E2 5b
Waiting For Columbus
Trad, Sport
5.11a 6c 22 VII+ 22 E3 5c
Shoyu State
5.11a 6c 22 VII+ 22 E3 5c R
Trad 2 pitches
5.11b 6c 23 VIII- 23 E3 5c
Direct West Face a/k/a Western Skyline
5.11+ 7a 24 VIII 24 E4 6a
Feathers and Stone
Route Name Location Star Rating Difficulty Date
East Face (Standard)
5.4 4a 12 IV 10 VD 3c Trad 8 pitches
Winky Woo
5.4 4a 12 IV 10 VD 3c R Trad
Third World Zone
5.4 4a 12 IV 10 VD 3c R Trad 8 pitches
East Face Left
5.5 4b 13 IV+ 11 MS 4a Trad 9 pitches
College Drop Out aka East F…
5.6 4c 14 V 12 S 4b Trad 6 pitches
Extra Point
5.6 4c 14 V 12 S 4b R Trad 5 pitches
Friday's Folly
5.7 5a 15 V+ 13 MVS 4b Trad
Saturday's Folly
5.8+ 5b 16 VI- 15 HVS 4c Trad
Rite Of Spring
5.8+ 5b 16 VI- 15 HVS 4c PG13 Trad 2 pitches
Northwest Passage
5.10b 6a+ 19 VII- 19 E2 5b R Trad 3 pitches
Waiting For Columbus
5.10b/c 6b 20 VII 20 E2 5b Trad, Sport
Shoyu State
5.11a 6c 22 VII+ 22 E3 5c Sport
5.11a 6c 22 VII+ 22 E3 5c R Trad 2 pitches
Direct West Face a/k/a West…
5.11b 6c 23 VIII- 23 E3 5c Trad
Feathers and Stone
5.11+ 7a 24 VIII 24 E4 6a Sport
More Classic Climbs in Third Flatiron »

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Prime Climbing Season
I wonder who the oldest person is to have done this climb...we did it with a 79 year-old this past Sunday.

Cheers! Aug 13, 2001
George Bell
Boulder, CO
George Bell   Boulder, CO
The GPS coordinates below are east of Lafayette on Baseline, it appears they are rounded to degrees. Looking at other recently added GPS coordinates, it would be much better if everyone entered them in the same units ... Aug 20, 2002
George Bell
Boulder, CO
George Bell   Boulder, CO
The falcon closure is Feb. 1 to Aug. 1, so yes it should be open in October. Sep 27, 2002
I was just informed that the Pine Pigs have decided to keep the Third closed for an extra two weeks because of late-nesting birds. The Open Space employee I spoke to didn't know what kind of birds or where their nests are. For some time, I've suspected that the Open Space people close the Third for mainly political reasons--One of the most popular climbs in Colorado (and the whole country, for that matter) is off-limits for most of the year. I'm no orinthologist, but I wonder why the birds have to have the Third to themselves. Why can't they nest on chosspiles, or at least rocks that are less popular? What did the birds do before seasonal closures?The recent bear incident at the Chattaqua Dining Hall illustrates just exactly how mismanaged Boulder's Open Spaces are. Wild animals are expected to respect park boundaries--The rangers do everything they can in order to attract wildlife to the area, and then that wildlife ends up getting killed. Whether or not we like it, the Flatirons are basically an urban park, they are not wilderness. Personally, I resent paying taxes toward the purchase of land that I am forbidden to visit. I think it's high time for a change in the way Boulder manages its Open Space. How does everyone else feel? Am I off base here? Does anyone share my suspicions about "Seasonal Wildlife Closures?" Jul 30, 2003
Darren Mabe
Flagstaff, AZ
Darren Mabe   Flagstaff, AZ
It seems to me that it will just get worse. As more and more closures are mandated/observed, more birds will be allowed to nest on the popular areas (which is probably only coincidence that they nest on all of the classic cliffs -- Naked Edge, 3rd Flatiron, Mickey Mouse, Lumpy, Cynical, etc.) and this may cause closure seasons to get longer and longer. Frustration and resentment. I guess it depends on one's value on wilderness access for humans or birds.

I am probably A) misinformed, B) naive, C) selfish, D) all of above.

Does put thoughts in my head about climbing these routes with a BB gun.... Jul 30, 2003
I am all for the closures, as long as at some point we consider that the birds are back and the closures can now end, I am sure the birds will find suitable habitat on other crags. If we don't temper the closures with common sense and it's forever, then its probably better to not start them.

On the other hand if there were no closure and people go stomping through nest making scrambled eggs, then we deserve any closure we bring upon ourselves.

Furthermore, are these birds not carrying West Nile Virus...Hitchcock was right, it's either them or us! Jul 30, 2003
I too, am suspicious of the seasonal wildlife closures enforced by Boulder Open Space. It seems that Eldo, for instance, will open an area if there are no nesting birds, but when was the last time BOS opened an area before the predetermined opening date? I'm all for protecting wildlife, but closing the same areas for the same length of time year after year sure makes it look like a political agenda rather than a true protective measure. Given the politics of BOS, we should probably be glad that we get to use the resource at all. So much for the taxpayers getting what they pay for! Jul 31, 2003
Before some of you folks work yourselves into a tizzy about wildlife closures because you have to wait two weeks before scrambling up the third flatiron for your 17th time, you may want to consider a few points:

1) These aren't just any "birds". We're not talking about swallows or pigeons, here... we're talking about raptors, most likely peregrines. They're pretty amazing creatures if you take the time to learn about them.

2) Think a little bit about where you live. There are roughly 10,000 routes within a 2 hour radius of Boulder. It's inconvenient, but I'm willing to avoid a hundred or so routes for parts of the year if it means the raptors can nest. Raptors prefer classic cliffs over chosspiles for the same reasons we do as climbers: exposure, interesting features, and commanding views.

3) As climbers we are expected to have at least some modicum of resposibility for stewardship of the cliffs and surrounding lands. Attitudes such as AC's and Darren's which show little respect for these habitats, defeats one of the principle arguments used by climbers to maintain access to certain areas. It's very difficult to negotiate with land managers when we're viewed as narcissitic land-users, not much different from snow-mobilers or jet-skiers.

Agreed that the Mickey Mouse and Ralston Buttes closures are ridiculous, and that BOS and JeffcoOS are making a mockery of wildlife closures in these cases. But you shouldn't indict the entire idea of allowing raptors to nest on "our taxpayer funded" cliffs, because of BOS. Jul 31, 2003
Scott Conner
Lyons, CO
Scott Conner   Lyons, CO
BOS had originally planned to keep the Third closed for two more weeks due to a pair of late nesting perigrin falcons. They made the decision late yesterday to open on time, given the fledglings appear to be far enough along to not suffer too much stress from climbers being present.

We did the third early this morning and could see the chicks on the southern flank of the rock. Pretty cool. Although there is some politics involved in some of the closures, many are legit and should be respected. I agree with Joe Collins; there are so many other great routes along the front range that the climbing community should not throw a hissy because they have to wait to climb on something.

I also agree that the cliffs should be closely monitored so unnecessary closures are minimized, but given the fact that most of Boulder Canyon was opened early this year is a clue that there is an effort being made; not to mention they *could* have extended the 3rd closure.

Snide comments about BOS and posts about toting guns up climbs don't do anything to progress our relationship with park officials. I wouldn't be surprised if BOS checks out what we have to say on this site, especially when they catch wind of us griping about them. Aug 1, 2003
I have had a few run- ins with aggressive birds, once at a cliff site (prairie falcons), and a handfull on radio and cell towers (swainson's hawks and western kingbirds), and in every instance, the birds were extremely pissed. Kingbirds were the most aggressive, actually hitting my hard hat, whereas the raptors kept their distance more, while letting me know that they were very unhappy.

I have worked as a volunteer raptor monitor for BOS (at the Matron), and I would recommend it to anybody. I had to commit two days per month on a sign- up sheet. You get to enter the closure area and watch the birds. They are incredible. BOS trains you to fill out the monitoring forms, you write down all observed activity; you get to watch the birds grow up and leave the nest. The volunteer monitoring program is very well organized, a lot of people are participating, and I found it to be a very positive experience.

Everyone needs their space. I talked to Casey B yesterday (8/3) and he said the Third was an absolute zoo, which it is every weekend it's open. Anymore, we are crowding each other off the cliffs, let alone the wildlife. The birds, especially the raptors, are the freest beings on the planet. It is our duty, as fellow freedom seekers, to be their stewards, and give them the room they deserve. Aug 4, 2003
"Snide comments about BOS and posts about toting guns up climbs don't do anything to progress our relationship with park officials. I wouldn't be surprised if BOS checks out what we have to say on this site, especially when they catch wind of us griping about them."

This statement just goes to demonstrate how out of control BOS is. If we can't freely exercise our constitutionally protected right to free speech without fear of retribution, then what's left?

Let's not forget--Our tax dollars purchase open space and our tax dollars pay these people's salaries. If we don't think BOS is being managed properly, it is our right to say so. We are entitled to our opinions. Do not fear speaking your mind. BOS can and should be held accountable for their management (and mismanagement) of our land. Aug 18, 2003
Scott Conner
Lyons, CO
Scott Conner   Lyons, CO
The Coward said:

"This statement just goes to demonstrate how out of control BOS is. If we can't freely exercise our constitutionally protected right to free speech without fear of retribution, then what's left?"

How does *my* statement demonstrate that BOS is out of control? I'm not stating that it is or isn't, but I fail to see the correlation. It's not my desire to silence anyone with an opposition to a government run agency. Go back and re-read some of your comments, coward. You sound like an uninformed cry-baby trying to incite a reaction out of others. Pine Pigs? And some lame post on a climbing website about your misguided suspicion of govt. trickery? This is your idea of productive civil disobedience?


"Do not fear speaking your mind."

Right. But be very afraid to attach your name to such a passionate position. Now THAT'S ironic. Aug 19, 2003
Just an FYI, the BOS opened the Matron and many other Flatiron climbs on 5/21/03 rather than the scheduled opening date of 7/31/03. AC ( should read Joe Collins' comments and take #3 to heart. I know this is a tough issue, especially as the number of outdoor enthusiasts increase exponentially on the Front Range. Inflammatory attitudes such as AC's will only hinder efforts with the BOS and an anonymous petition is always useless in negotiation of any sort. Aug 19, 2003
For those of you who lack a sense of humor, in this post I will forego any references to BB guns, Pine Pigs, or anything along those lines. Scott Conner asked: "How does *my* statement demonstrate that BOS is out of control?" Well, Conner, first, let me say that I agree with *your* statement "I'll bet BOS does monitor sites like this. I think the fact that we have to fear retribution from them for speaking our minds is what proves that they are out of control." They are supposed to be managing Open Space based on science. If the possibility exists that BOS might take vindictive action against all climbers because someone criticized them online, then they are obviously not basing wildlife closures on science, but rather just abusing their power. I never claimed that you were trying to silence me so I'm not sure why you said: "It's not my desire to silence anyone with an opposition to a government run agency." You seem, Conner, to be arguing against things I never said. I can't seem to find the place where I claimed that "some lame post" on a website was civil disobedience, Conner. You also said: "You sound like an uniformed cry-baby trying to incite a reaction out of others." I take exception to the "uninformed cry-baby" thing. That's just a personal insult, which doesn't really do much to back up your argument, unless maybe you're Rush Limbaugh or Ann Coulter. However, the "trying to incite a reaction out of others" part, now that was a very astute observation on your part. How'd you figure that out? Was it my statement "Am I way off base here?" or was it possibly "Does anyone share my suspicions about seasonal wildlife closures?" that clued you in to the fact I wanted to hear other people's opinions? Oops, sorry, I'm starting to get sarcastic. Sarcasm is dangerously close to humor, which I promised to avoid here. "Although there is some politics involved in some of the closures, many are legit and should be respected," is something else Conner wrote. How do you propose we figure out which closures are legit? Wouldn't it be easier if there were some kind of accountability for BOS so we could be sure that all the closures are "legit?" Mark Kocourek wrote: "Inflammatory attitudes such as AC's will only hinder efforts with the BOS and an anonymous petition is always useless in negotiation of any sort." Since you, unlike others, didn't simply hurl irrelevant insults at me, I will apologize for my "inflammatory attitude." Please bear in mind that I in no way intended for my "anonymous petition" to be used in negotiations with BOS. I assumed that it was obvious that isn't the forum wherein BOS would choose to negotiate with user groups. I have read and re-read the couple posts I made here, and there isn't really anything I would take back. I still think that, at least to an extent, government agencies (ab)use wildlife closures for political purposes. I think it's time for a re-examination of the way our Open Space is managed, that's all. Aug 20, 2003
Richard M. Wright
Lakewood, CO
Richard M. Wright   Lakewood, CO
Amusing comment about local climbers and their speed ascents of the third. In 1982 I had soloed up the third with a rap line and a harness and was getting ready to rap off. I noticed someone below moving very fast and checking his watch every few seconds. David Kelly arrived at the belay shortly later, checked his watch, and was annoyed at his time on the rock, 13 minutes. He started from the base and not from the East face trail enterance. From car door to car door, 40 minutes is fast, but what about the time spent on the rock itself? Who has that record? Nov 21, 2003
What I have overheard is usually 8 minutes, though no one can ever give a name...

My best time bottom to top is 14 minutes, and I nearly passed out

Some other Third trivia, from Ament's High Over Boulder:

Ist roller skate ascent: Dale Johnson (no date)1st no- hands ascent: Baker Armstrong (no date)

East Face eye bolts placed by Ev and Carleton Long in 1931.

The West side rappel anchor bolts were replaced just recently-- 01, 02, 03? Apr 5, 2004
I don't think BOS are out of control. Look at what other cities have to work with. Boulder has it great. That said. I have the following issues with this. Before I knew the area well, I wandered off route on the way to the 4ths' green pinnacle. The area south of the Third was swarming with loud volunteers who were there to tell 'humans' not to be there, under threat. Do the birds know who are the 'okay' humans and who are the 'bad' (uninvited) humans? I was on Hammerhead and falcons had nested close by unbeknownst to me. They were mating just feet away while I silently watched. The climb was open and they paid no attention to me. Seemed like proper co-existence. I feel these are blanket policies without a lot of proper/logical reasoning at times. This may be the most effective way to deal with an ignoring populace but Boulderites in general are attracted to reasoning and logic. It's great that the falcons came back but I've heard of no proof that they left because of climbers. In other climbing areas the lack of large closures has not prevented nesting raptors. Looking from the southwest, there is no lack of nesting strata. Looking from town, the only obvious crags are the closed ones. Is it known that every closed crag is closed because it has a mated pair? (Not unhappy with the situation but willing to question it). Jun 12, 2004
In response to this:"Who has the best acronym or phrase they use for a rappel check list? "(there wasn't a link to respond to the question, so I put it here, as many accidents have occurred on the 3rd)

When rappelling, make sure first and foremost that you have a good anchor. I prefer a large pine or oak tree. Then, look for a backup, too. How much is your life worth? Never trust your life to just one thing, or anything you don't know the history of. Therefore, you should ALWAYS put your own sling onto an anchor. You don't know the history of the existing slings, no matter the quantity. If they are chains, it's best to still add a sling, though making it slightly longer (thus, essentially, a backup to the chains) than the chains is acceptable. The reason, again, is that you don't know the history of the chain links, nor do you know how many times ropes have pulled through them. I've seen links at the end of chains that are wafer thin (like at Smith Rocks), yet people blindly rappel off of them. Good way to take the plunge, my friend. Add a sling.

Now that there's no weak link in the anchor, turn to yourself and your partner. Actually, this begins before the climb. Who is your partner? If safety is not their number one priority, forget it_you're better off soloing, as you know yourself better than you know them.

In terms of a backup, the best one is the one you know best_your other hand. Some people hold on with only one hand, sometimes even loosely. Use two hands, firmly. You know where your hand has been. You don't know the history of the webbing for a friction knot backup, so give friction with your hand instead. And, especially if you add more friction by using a second 'biner, it's almost impossible to lose control when you're gripping with two hands.

Finally, the knot. Double fisherman's is the most secure, by far, but a triple is safer. Don't even THINK about using the overhand, aka "Euro Death Knot." They call it that for a reason. Any idea of how many people die climbing in the Alps every year? It's a lot. So don't use that knot.

I hope this helps, sorry it was a bit long-winded but death never takes a break, so safety must always stay awake. That's my motto. Sep 1, 2004
Ron Olsen
Boulder, CO
Ron Olsen   Boulder, CO
Anonymous Coward writes: "Finally, the knot. Double fisherman's is the most secure, by far, but a triple is safer. Don't even THINK about using the overhand, aka "Euro Death Knot." They call it that for a reason. Any idea of how many people die climbing in the Alps every year? It's a lot. So don't use that knot."

I strongly disagree. The overhand knot to tie two rappel ropes together is by far the best alternative. Many rappel epics are caused by having the knot get stuck trying to pull it over an edge. The overhand is far better than the double/triple fisherman's in that respect. Tied properly (12-inch tails, cinched down and dressed),the overhand is totally safe as a rappel knot. I won't use anything else when tieing two ropes together for a rappel. You shouldn't either.

Note: the flat overhand is a safe knot for tieing two ropes together for a rappel, but the flat figure eight is not. Make sure you use and overhand, and not a figure eight!

Some comments from Clyde Soles, climbing equipment guru:

"The overhand is the best knot of all for tying two rappel ropes together at the top. I leave tails at least 9" long and snug the knot as tight as I can. Your so-called standard knot is much more prone to jamming in cracks, is a pain in the ass to untie, and certainly doesn't need a backup. BTW I had an 11 mm and 7 mm (worstlikely case) connected with an overhand and they finally broke at about 1800 lbs. without slipping." Sep 1, 2004
Ron, I'm glad you stepped in and added some actually helpful information. However, in the back of my mind I'm hopping you are responding to something intended as a joke.

Anyway, if not, I'll add somethings. As far as leaving new tat every where you go, especially when rapping off the top of the 3rd from a giant oak tree, remember to remove some of the old junk you are replacing. We don't need everybody adding wadds and wadds of tat at every rap station. Another good option is to gain the experience and knowledge to reasonably assess fixed gear/ slings. Fixed chains come to mind with this. Instead of adding webbing to every set of chains you see, consider looking at them first to see if they are sound and not almost worn through, etc.

As far as not knowing the history of YOUR sling for a firction knot back-up on rappel, well I don't know what to say about this... it is your sling right? Your two hand advice isn't bad, but won't help you if you become unconscious for some reason. Personally, I rarely use a friction knot back-up, but it seems to me that someone could use two hands AND the friction knot. However, it does raise the question, "Do you really know where your hands have been? a complete history?" What you really need is a third, prehensile appendage, that's the ticket. Sep 2, 2004
Darren Mabe
Flagstaff, AZ
Darren Mabe   Flagstaff, AZ
3 stars for the EDK! Although it seems sketch, it actually is an effective knot. Hell, tie another one in the tails if youre still nervous. Sep 2, 2004
Jim Matt
Indianapolis, IN
Jim Matt   Indianapolis, IN
"JOIN RAPPEL ROPES WITH AN OVERHAND BEND You can tie two ropes together for a long rappel in several ways. The double fisherman's knot or a retraced figure-8 are both secure, but they have bulky profiles that can snag or abrade when you pull them from below. They can also be difficult to untie. Many guides prefer the overhand bend, which is more than adequate for the forces involved in rappelling and less likely to snag. When using the overhand bend, tie it neatly, cinch the knot tight and leave a one-foot tail in each end (figure 1). Never use this knot to join two ropes of drastically different diameters. "

ref:… Sep 14, 2004
Randy Carmichael
Boulder, CO
Randy Carmichael   Boulder, CO
In regard to the overhand knot... When the second rapper is working to get the knot past any lips/obstacles near the anchor, should he/she: a) Grab above the knot to pull, b) Grab the knot to pull, c) Grab below the knot to pull, d) Any of the above are safe. Sep 14, 2004
William McGehee
Choctaw, OK
William McGehee   Choctaw, OK
Prepare the masses!!!

She's open y'all. Rip it up. George Bell told me last night, so we went out for an early morning mission. The descent trail through the talus had a pair of poison ivy leaves that were broked from their vines, perhaps indicating someone's travel into the area. We were at Chautauqua Visitor Center at 0600 and didn't see ANYONE, so perhaps someone made an early-season illegal ascent??? Hope not. The leaves looked like they were broken off yesterday. Maybe it was someone monitoring the falcons, hence the newly appointed opening. Hope so. That means we had the first climb of the season! Have fun! Thanks again George.…

~Wm Jul 14, 2005
So Dak  
I just climbed the Third on Tuesday, the 26th. It's in great shape, a little crowded with beg. It was my first rope climb in 6 years, and a classic! Sep 29, 2006
Armin Colorado
Boulder, CO
Armin Colorado   Boulder, CO
My wife and I scrambled up the Third today and found a rope. Judging from the condition I found it in, it seems like the owner might have had an epic. Describe it, and I'll get it back to you.
-Armin Oct 8, 2006
Deep within the bowels of The Third Flatiron resides what are likely the most clandestine, unique, and macabre, bouldering areas ever discovered by humankind.
The small, closed-mouth, group who have climbed in these caverns belong to a secret fellowship more exclusive than Opus Dei.
Having been excommunicated from this privileged sect by letting the cat out of the bag, I now am free to spew directions and end the secret fellowshipsÂ’ reign of power/knowledge.

Three quarters of the way up the east face of The Third Flatiron is a feature called The Gash. The Gash is a deep chimney that cleaves a vertical gash from about three quarters height to a point between The Dog's Head and the true summit.

Approximately two thirds of the way up The Gash is a large round chockstone on the right side. By pushing the boulder towards the right, a small aperture is acquired on the left. Squeeze through this confine wearing a small pack loaded with flashlights. Make sure you have several active light sources and back-ups. Light equals life within the labyrinthine recesses of The Third.
Once past the entrance chockstone, simply push the perfectly balanced rock back into place. It will now appear that you are cliffed on a narrow ledge above a bottomless void.

Careful inspection will unveil an ancient fat rope fixed to the wall on the west side of the ledge. Hand over hand yourself down the rope until you feel flat footing beneath you.

Find a low passage to the north and squeeze through it. Once through the low passage, there are two halls. The one to the left dead ends in about two hundred feet. Take the hall on the right side. Follow this down and right, being careful not to bonk your head on stalactites. Soon your footsteps will echo off the ceiling of the grand chamber and you have arrived at the final destination.
A powerful light source will reveal to true magnitude of this spectacular bouldering chamber. Thousands of top quality problems lie in wait. The landings are flat and the air temperature is at a constant fifty-five degrees. It is always a perfect temperature for climbing, and it never rains or snows in there.

I may suffer severe consequences for divulging this long held secret, but I do not regret finally sharing, what may be, the world's greatest bouldering area with my fellow climbers. Dec 1, 2006
Actually the CU was first painted on in 1949 and repainted in the '50s, '60s and early 1970s. It was covered up in the late 1970s. Oct 21, 2011
Brian C.
Longmont, CO
Brian C.   Longmont, CO
Just wanted to bring something up that has to do with the rappels. I got to the summit yesterday, and there was a guy up there telling the several first-timers that they should ignore the rappel info and simply rappel straight west with a single 60m rope. Don't go straight west with a single 60m rope! Also, even though 2 60s will make itm you will not be able to pull your rope without help from above. Aug 20, 2012
George Bell
Boulder, CO
George Bell   Boulder, CO
Also, although it is possible to combine the first two raps with one 60m rope, this is a bad idea. The reason is that when pulling your rope it will often get hung up in the boulders at the bottom of the first rappel. Better to do the two short rappels. Jan 28, 2013
j rogers
boulder, co
j rogers   boulder, co
Thanks for the info, George. I just succeeded in combining the first two raps after a very rushed fellow insisted on using my rope and noted he joined them "all the time". I reluctantly followed his example, but a mere three hours later, a few folks got stuck while rapping - I wonder if this combo is what did it.... Jan 28, 2013
George Bell
Boulder, CO
George Bell   Boulder, CO
Yep, I've combined the raps successfully a few times, but the next time the rope got stuck. Now I never combine them. You may have better luck, but they will probably get stuck just when it is getting dark and raining. Jan 29, 2013
Tony T.
Denver, CO
Tony T.   Denver, CO
Whatever you do, don't EVER bail into the 1911 Gully from the Third between Spring and the first frost of Fall. No matter how bad the weather looks, or how hot the weather turned out to be, you will regret it after you and all of your gear is covered in poison ivy's Urushoil.

As of last week, the poison ivy plants were about 3' tall in some areas, and the patches were so large and vast that it was simply unavoidable. Sharp End's guidebook makes no mention of this, so hopefully I'll save someone else the trouble of going through what me and my partner went through and are still going through. Aug 24, 2014
There are three new route applications submitted for the August 2015 cycle of the FCC's Fixed Hardware Review Committee application process. They are located on the Box, Seal Rock, and the Third Flatiron.

Please visit the FCC site to review the applications and leave any comments you have. The public vote and meeting is set for 6:30 pm on Sept. 2 (Wednesday) at The Spot in Boulder, Colorado. Aug 4, 2015
Do most folks use climbing shoes for this trip? I've heard several times that the 3rd can be easily done in hiking boots or approach shoes. I'm not attempting a solo or anything. Feb 29, 2016
George Bell
Boulder, CO
George Bell   Boulder, CO
Jason, sticky approach shoes are fine if you want comfort, you save weight by not carrying another pair of shoes. Hiking boots without sticky rubber will feel slippery.

The Third Flatiron has hit the big time: the descent trail has a Pokestop! Aug 16, 2016
Jul S  
For anyone soloing, the descent through the notch is described in the route "Southwest Chimney." Jan 9, 2017
An application for bolting a new route on the Third Flatiron has been received by the FCC for the May 1 cycle. The proposed route is rated 5.11- and is near the Friday's Folly route. Details of the proposed route can be found here on the FCC site:…

Please feel free to post any comments you have on the application. The public meeting will be held at the Spot on Thursday, June 1, 2017 at 6:30, and everyone is welcome to join and vote there. May 2, 2017
Chris Little
Albuquerque N.M.
Chris Little   Albuquerque N.M.
I used to solo the third a lot back in the late '70s. I'd take a rope, a harness, a locking D, and a big old Clog 8, which still has a lot of life in it. I wouldn't wear climbing shoes. I'd usually have it to myself. You could still drive to the Blue Bell shelter then. One time I took my cousin up it. At/near the top I had a creepy sensation on my skin. When my cousin got up to me, his fine, limp hair looked like an Afro. We got down quick! Another time, there was a glider soaring there. He would dive down between the 2nd and Third. He had whistles that could only be heard when he was diving, and the pitch would change with his speed. It was white with the outlines of feathers. I waved, and he rocked his wings. Who was having a better time? Feb 19, 2018
Leo Paik
Westminster, Colorado
Leo Paik   Westminster, Colorado  
The Denver Post had a photo (provided by Boulder Daily Camera by Lucke Brigham) of the first full scuba ascent of the Third Flatiron on Jan. 28, 2018. The climber was Rilyn VandeMerwe.… Mar 1, 2018
There are two new Third Flatiron route applications being submitted for the May 2018 cycle of the FCC's Fixed Hardware Review Committee application process. The proposed routes are on the south face with estimated grades of 5.10d and 5.12a.

Please visit the FCC site… after May 1 to review the applications and leave any comments you have. The public vote and meeting is at 6:30 pm on June 1 (Friday) at The Spot in Boulder, Colorado. Apr 29, 2018

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