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Elevation: 6,470 ft
GPS: 39.9828, -105.289
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Warning Access Issue: 2024 Crag Closures & Temporary Trail and Raptor Closures DetailsDrop down

Description Suggest change

The Flatirons are synonymous with Boulder and the history of rock climbing in North America. It would be hard to find another location in the country where such an extensive variety, from scrambling to hard "Head Point" routes exist so close to a major metro area. They form the backdrop to Boulder and are the centerpiece of Boulder's Open Space and Mountain Parks system.

There are three main areas:

Flatirons North

This area includes classic rocks such as the First and Third Flatirons, the Amphitheatre in Gregory Canyon, all the way South to include Skunk Canyon. Climbs here range from short newer-age sport climbs to long trad routes, including some of the longer trad routes in the area, the whole face of the 3rd Flatiron, which is about 1300 feet and the Direct East Face of the 1st which is about 1400 feet. Hard conglomerate Fountain Formation sandstone is the medium for your rock craft.

Flatirons Central

There are many rocks to explore in this area. The "Central" zone spans Bear Canyon to Skunk Canyon. Slabmongers can have many field days exploring the numerous smaller Flatirons, and there's a good amount of trad and even sport among these rocks. Have fun in this scenic setting.

Flatirons South

This section of the Flatirons holds some of the best climbing in the Flatirons, but it seems to be less crowded. We will include crags from Eldorado Canyon to Bear Canyon in this section. Great rocks such as the Maiden, Matron, Devil's Thumb, East Ridge, Nebel Horn, Seal Rock, and The Goose offer slabs for beginner trad leaders and also more challenging trad lines. Excellent sport routes also can be found, some several pitches in length. The longest climb in the area is here. There is plenty to explore here.

Access: various of the Flatirons are closed for falcon nesting from Feb. 1 up to July 31 and for bat nesting Apr. 1 to Aug. 31. Historically, some of these have included The Matron, Towers of the Moon, Jam Crack Spire, Devil's Thumb, Nebel Horn, Jaws, The Fin, Sphinx, Medusa, Fern Canyon, The Goose, The Goose Eggs, Bear Creek Spire, Harmon Cave (bats), East Face of The Hand (bats), East Face of The Finger Flatiron (bats), East Face of Der Zerkle (bats), Dreadnaught, Achean Pronoucement, Skunk Canyon Ridge 2 & west, Sacred Cliffs, East & West Ironing Boards, The Third Flatiron, Queen Anne's Head, occasionally Gregory Amphitheatre, and possibly others.

For information about current wildlife closure areas (for cliff-nesting raptors and bats) and the formations within them that are also currently closed, please refer to:

Getting There Suggest change

Look west of Boulder, if you can't see them you shouldn't go climbing...although, it can be amazingly beautiful with liquid or solid precipitation falling. Seriously, there are numerous trails and parking lots depending on which crag you are visiting, so please refer to these descriptions.

A word of warning though; the first time climbing in the Flatirons can be a confusing experience, with lots of trails, crags and rocks that look very similar so allow plenty of time for exploring and pick a major feature to climb.

Map of Boulder most of the green stuff down & left of the arrow is Flatirons.

Resources

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If it is your first time climbing in the Flatirons try to remember to take a guidebook and a map, or better yet, go with a local. Also, a headlamp can come in handy as well on the journey home, but that's a story for another day!

Rock Climbing the Flatirons by Richard Rossiter is probably the best source of information. Gerry Roach's Flatirons guide, Richard Rossiter's older Boulder Climbs North, and even Stewart Green's Colorado guidebooks can provide alternative sources for information.  A new guide by Jason Haas, Climbing Boulder's Flatirons, is now in the second edition (2017).  

Flatirons Climbing Council is a non-profit, climber organization dedicated to the limited expansion of new fixed hardware and replacement of decaying fixed hardware in addition to other climbing related issues for the Flatirons. It is a partnership between the Access Fund, American Alpine Club, Colorado Mountain Club and the Action Committee for Eldorado created to preserve climbing access in the Flatirons, conserve climbing resources and the environment, and to work cooperatively with the land manager, City of Boulder Open Space and Mountain Parks (OSMP), to resolve climbing issues.

Fixed Hardware

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Note, from the 1980s to the early 2000s, there was moratorium on new fixed hardware in the Flatirons. With great efforts, there is a new, application-based, limited new fixed hardware process in place. Please check with the Flatirons Climbing Council for more information about the fixed hardware permitting program.

Standard Rack

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So, many, many route descriptions include "standard rack" verbiage. What is a standard rack? Good question. Here's my thoughts: Probably a set of wires, a set of cams from smallest Alien/TCU to a #4 Friend or #4 Camalot, a couple larger hexes, and probably a dozen 24" slings with biners to match. Certainly, there are those who will travel lighter or heavier, but this gets you up most routes...with a bit of skill, courage, and coolheadedness. LP

Flora & Fauna

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Note, there are a few things that live in the area that may warrant some attention. On the smaller side, there is plenty of poison ivy in places for the sensitive. Also, there are mountain lions & black bear that are known to wander these parts. Watch your kids, if you're climbing with little ones.

Dogs.

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According to the City of Boulder Open Space and Mountain Parks website, dogs are allowed on 90% of the OSMP trails. 

Please refer to the City of Boulder Open Space and Mountain Parks Dog Regulations web map for more info on these regulations.

The Voice and Sight Control Tag program regulates the ability of owners to have their dogs off-leash on certain trails, but participation in the program is a requirement in order to have any dogs of leash on the OSMP system.

Bats - conservation

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See a bat on a route, give a shout. Climbers for Bat Conservation is working with climbers to understand bat ecology and why bats choose certain cracks and flakes. If you see bats, and want to tell them, here is their email (climbersforbats@colostate.edu) and their website ( climbersforbats.colostate.edu/).

Climbers for Bat Conservation is a collaboration between climbers, bat biologists, and land managers to understand where bats roost and where large populations may reside. They are interested in finding bats because a new disease, called white-nose syndrome ( whitenosesyndrome.org/), has killed millions of bats in North America. This collaboration has identified bat roosts throughout the U.S., and as far away as Norway and Bulgaria. CBC was developed by biologists who climb and they are advocates for climbing access and bat conservation. If you see bats while climbing, please let them know by emailing them at climbersforbats@colostate.edu, or visiting their website to learn more ( climbersforbats.colostate.edu/).

Rob Schorr

Zoologist, Colorado Natural Heritage Program ( sites.warnercnr.colostate.e…)

Director, Climbers for Bat Conservation

Robert.schorr@colostate.edu

1,393 Total Climbs

Route Finder - Best Climbs for YOU!

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Classic Climbing Routes at Flatirons

Mountain Project's determination of the classic, most popular, highest rated climbing routes in this area.
V8 7B
 168
The Turning Point
Boulder
5.0 2- 4 I 6 MM 1c
 1,156
Freeway
Trad 6 pitches
5.2 3 8 II 8 D 2c
 255
Angel's Way
Trad 8 pitches
5.4 4a 12 IV 10 VD 3c
 1,133
East Face (Standard)
Trad 8 pitches
5.4 4a 12 IV 10 VD 3c
 265
East Face North Side/Seal Rock
Trad 4 pitches
5.6 4c 14 V 12 S 4b R
 1,289
Direct Route
Trad 10 pitches
5.6 4c 14 V 12 S 4b R
 230
North Face
Trad 5 pitches
5.11b 6c 23 VIII- 23 E3 5c
 112
Death and Transfiguration
Trad
5.12a 7a+ 25 VIII+ 25 E5 6a
 194
Patience Face
Sport, TR
5.12b 7b 26 VIII+ 26 E5 6b
 236
Undertow
Sport
5.12b 7b 26 VIII+ 26 E5 6b
 252
The Shaft
Sport, TR
5.13a 7c+ 29 IX+ 29 E6 6c
 133
Milk Bone
Sport
5.13a 7c+ 29 IX+ 29 E6 6c
 133
Ultrasaurus
Sport
5.13a 7c+ 29 IX+ 29 E6 6c
 142
$00pr kr33m
Sport
5.13c 8a+ 30 X- 31 E7 7a
 55
Choose Life
Sport
Route Name Location Star Rating Difficulty Date
The Turning Point North > Satellite Boulders > BBC Boulder
 168
V8 7B Boulder
Freeway North > Second Flatiron
 1,156
5.0 2- 4 I 6 MM 1c Trad 6 pitches
Angel's Way North > Skunk Canyon > Ridge 3 aka Angel's Way
 255
5.2 3 8 II 8 D 2c Trad 8 pitches
East Face (Standard) North > Third Flatiron
 1,133
5.4 4a 12 IV 10 VD 3c Trad 8 pitches
East Face North Side/Seal Rock South > Seal Rock
 265
5.4 4a 12 IV 10 VD 3c Trad 4 pitches
Direct Route North > First Flatiron
 1,289
5.6 4c 14 V 12 S 4b R Trad 10 pitches
North Face South > Maiden
 230
5.6 4c 14 V 12 S 4b R Trad 5 pitches
Death and Transfiguration North > Green Mtn Pinnacle
 112
5.11b 6c 23 VIII- 23 E3 5c Trad
Patience Face Central > Dinosaur Rock
 194
5.12a 7a+ 25 VIII+ 25 E5 6a Sport, TR
Undertow South > Slab
 236
5.12b 7b 26 VIII+ 26 E5 6b Sport
The Shaft Central > Dinosaur Rock
 252
5.12b 7b 26 VIII+ 26 E5 6b Sport, TR
Milk Bone Central > Dinosaur Rock
 133
5.13a 7c+ 29 IX+ 29 E6 6c Sport
Ultrasaurus Central > Dinosaur Rock
 133
5.13a 7c+ 29 IX+ 29 E6 6c Sport
$00pr kr33m South > Slab
 142
5.13a 7c+ 29 IX+ 29 E6 6c Sport
Choose Life South > Seal Rock
 55
5.13c 8a+ 30 X- 31 E7 7a Sport
More Classic Climbs in Flatirons »

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