Elevation: 6,813 ft
GPS: 39.943, -105.288 Google Map · Climbing Area Map
Page Views: 29,945 total · 134/month
Shared By: Andrew Wellman on Dec 31, 2000 with improvements by Tony B and 1 other
Admins: Leo Paik, John McNamee, Frances Fierst, Monty, Monomaniac
72°F - 46°F 22°C - 8°C
Memorial Day
64°F - 38°F 18°C - 3°C
50°F - 36°F 10°C - 2°C
54°F - 38°F 12°C - 3°C
65°F - 43°F 18°C - 6°C
68°F - 44°F 20°C - 7°C
Access Issue: Temporary Trail and Raptor Closures Details


The Matron is a tall spire that sits along the ridge above Shadow Canyon.

Per Tony B: the Matron is a relatively undervisited rock. It seems that it's remote location and long hike in may be a hurdle when it comes to popularity, but the variety and quality of climbing would otherwise justify more attention.
This relatively large and unique Flatiron is hundreds of feet tall and offers a moderate and accessible sunny East Ridge, an adventurous, old school, and sunny South Face at a moderate level, and a variety of routes on the shady and cool North Face ranging from 5.5 to 5.11. Some of these are actually quite good. The view from the top alone N/NE into Shadow Canyon and over the south end of Boulder merits at least a single ascent.

The North Face, North Face Variation, and North Face Right are all moderates in the 5.6 to 5.7 range there. To step it up a notch and stay in the shade, the climb Pasta Man comes in at 5.9 and has an element of adventure to it. If you want to step it up a little further, then the twins Quiche On A Leash and Real Men Don't eat Quiche are hard 5.10-easy 5.11, and both deserve a few stars and an ascent.

If you need to climb a little harder, then try out Father Knows Best for a hard crux and a sustained challenge beyond that, or in at 5.12, the route Warlocks.

For fans of the routes on the West Face of the Goose and other slightly lower angle edging and face climbs, the W/SW face of the Matron has a few routes as well in the 5.8-5.10 range. While these, Sunday Comix and West Face present gear and protection challenges, they are easily top-ropeable from the rap anchors.

Getting There

It's easy to reach by parking at the South Mesa Trailhead near Eldorado and hiking the South Mesa Trail to the Shadow Canyon trail. Follow the Shadow canyon trail around some switchbacks until the tall and proud Matron is obvious on the ridge above you. A climbers trail leaves the main trail and ascends to the Matrons South Side. To descend, there are bolted rap anchors on the summit.

14 Total Climbs

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Classic Climbing Routes at The Matron

Mountain Project's determination of the classic, most popular, highest rated climbing routes in this area.
5.5 4b 13 IV+ 11 MS 4a
East Ridge
Trad 3 pitches
5.6 4c 14 V 12 S 4b
North Face
Trad 3 pitches
5.8 5b 16 VI- 15 HVS 4c R
West Face
Trad, TR
5.10c 6b 20 VII 20 E2 5b
Quiche on a Leash
5.11b 6c 23 VIII- 23 E3 5c
Father Knows Best
Trad, Sport
5.12b 7b 26 VIII+ 26 E5 6b
Serpentine Dreams
5.13a 7c+ 29 IX+ 29 E6 6c
The Human Experiment
Sport 3 pitches
Route Name Location Star Rating Difficulty Date
East Ridge
5.5 4b 13 IV+ 11 MS 4a Trad 3 pitches
North Face
5.6 4c 14 V 12 S 4b Trad 3 pitches
West Face
5.8 5b 16 VI- 15 HVS 4c R Trad, TR
Quiche on a Leash
5.10c 6b 20 VII 20 E2 5b Trad
Father Knows Best
5.11b 6c 23 VIII- 23 E3 5c Trad, Sport
Serpentine Dreams
5.12b 7b 26 VIII+ 26 E5 6b Sport
The Human Experiment
5.13a 7c+ 29 IX+ 29 E6 6c Sport 3 pitches
More Classic Climbs in The Matron »

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Prime Climbing Season


My buddy who lives in Golden and (correctly) assumes I am a gumby because I live in the flatlands of Texas, took me up the Matron in early November. This is definitely a "take the wife and kids" route and was easy, airy and beautiful. The highlight was a closeup fly-by of a Peregrine Falcon. Nov 21, 2001
George Bell
Boulder, CO
George Bell   Boulder, CO
The fastest approach to the Matron is actually to park in Eldo and hike up the "Old Mesa Trail", which joins the Shadow Canyon Trail (Road) on the hill before the Matron. The Old Mesa Trail is not marked and is difficult to find going up, your best bet is to take somebody who knows where it is, or try navigating it down (north) the first time. Jan 28, 2002
the [Matron] is probably second only to the [Maiden] in terms of a spectacular flatiron summit. Should be a must do for [Boulder] climbers, although it seems to rarely be visited by most.... Jan 21, 2004
Martin le Roux
Superior, CO
Martin le Roux   Superior, CO
Now that the raptor closure season is over, the friendly folks at OSMP have attempted to obscure the start of the climbers' access trail by cutting down some branches and dragging them across the trail. Exactly what this is meant to achieve escapes me. Jul 28, 2004
This formation should be called "the foot" or the fis. That's what it looks like. It doesn't look like any ding dang Matron. Whatever that is. Aug 15, 2004
Jamie Princo
Boulder, CO
Jamie Princo   Boulder, CO
Yeah Mark, I just spoke with leah at OSMP about The Matron, and she said go ahead and climb.

jamie Jul 15, 2011
Rodger Raubach
Loveland, CO
Rodger Raubach   Loveland, CO
BITD (1960s) the Matron was frequently visited by rock schools for graduation climbs. The East Ridge for the gumbies, and for the more talented, North Face. I myself once led a 24 climber conga-line up (UCHC) the East Ridge. After finishing the route, I also did the South Face and still was able to watch climbers still starting! Oct 15, 2012
Tim Fleming
Boulder, CO
Tim Fleming   Boulder, CO
I agree wih George that the "old Mesa Trail" is the faster (and better) way to access the Matron. You don't need to have someone who knows the location, since it's easy to see from a satellite view in Google maps. It begins in Eldorado off the most northern bend of Baldwin Circle. Then it cruises straight to the Shadow Canyon trail/road just a few hundred yards east of the access trail to the rock. Hiking the Mesa trail is slow and annoying due to recent closures of sections of the Towhee Trail that had been the most direct way when taking the usual approach. Oct 17, 2012
Found several pieces of gear left up on a first pitch at the Matron on August 17th, 2013. Contact me if it's yours. Must provide name of route you left it on and description of what gear you left. Aug 18, 2013
Tony B
Around Boulder, CO
Tony B   Around Boulder, CO
For those who were not aware, the Matron closure was lifted early this year (5/15/14) - go for it.
bouldercolorado.gov/osmp/cl… Jun 16, 2014
There are a handful of new-route applications for the Autumn 2014 cycle of the Flatirons Climbing Committee's Fixed Hardware Review Committee, including one on the Matron. We will be holding a public meeting and vote on these climbs on Wednesday, September 3, 6:30 p.m. at The Spot gym in Boulder. Please visit: flatironsclimbingcouncil.wo…
to review and leave comments on the applications. Aug 4, 2014
Benjamn P
Boulder, CO
Benjamn P   Boulder, CO
10/8/16 - Tony B. and I were finishing up Quiche on a Leash, and we spoke with the three of guys. We trundled that rock, and you videoed (it would be sweet to see the footage). We did get your draw off the first pitch of the North Route. Contact me through MP to get it back, both of us have PLENTY of booty gear! Oct 12, 2016
There is a Matron route application submitted for the January 2017 cycle of the FCC's Fixed Hardware Review Committee application process. The proposed route includes two pitches and is on the south face of the Matron.

Please visit the FCC site flatironsclimbing.org/curre… to review the application and leave any comments you have. The public vote and meeting is set for 6:30 pm on February 2nd (Thursday) at The Spot in Boulder, Colorado. Jan 1, 2017
Hayden robinson
Curry village, Yose
Hayden robinson   Curry village, Yose
Does anyone know anything about Kor's aid route The Nordwand? I heard it goes clean. Feb 3, 2017
Corey McD
Arvada, CO
Corey McD   Arvada, CO
Descent - two nice bolts with rings on the west side for the first rap. Head towards the ramp, belayer's right, to get to the two eye hooks. The eye hooks are over a foot apart with no chains. It kinda sketches me out. Next time I think I will bring some screw gates to attach to the eye hooks or a second rope to make it one long rap from the top rather than two. Anyone else find the eye hooks strange? Aug 30, 2017