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Routes in The Matron

East Ridge T 5.5 4b 13 IV+ 11 MS 4a
Father Knows Best T,S 5.11b 6c 23 VIII- 23 E3 5c
North Crack T 5.10c 6b 20 VII 20 E2 5b
North Face T 5.6 4c 14 V 12 S 4b
North Face Right T 5.7 5a 15 V+ 13 MVS 4b PG13
Pasta Man T 5.9 5c 17 VI 17 HVS 5a PG13
Quiche on a Leash T 5.10c 6b 20 VII 20 E2 5b
Real Men Don't Eat Quiche T 5.11- 6c 22 VIII+ 22 E3 5c PG13
Serpentine Dreams S 5.12b 7b 26 VIII+ 26 E5 6b
South Face T 5.6 4c 14 V 12 S 4b
Sunday Comix T,TR 5.9+ 5c 17 VI 17 E1 5a X
Warlocks T 5.12a 7a+ 25 VIII+ 25 E5 6a
West Face T,TR 5.8 5b 16 VI- 15 HVS 4c R
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Type: Trad, 3 pitches
FA: unknown
Page Views: 8,725 total · 40/month
Shared By: Andrew Wellman on Jan 13, 2001
Admins: Leo Paik, John McNamee, Frances Fierst, Monty, Monomaniac

You & This Route

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Access Issue: Temporary Trail and Raptor Closures Details


This is another historic and very old route on the Matron, but is not quite as good as the North Face route. Approach the Matron and walk to the very most Easterly of the base. From here, climb one pitch of 5.5 up a ramp that angles from right to left. The pitch is the only semi-difficult one on the route and is very short, about 30 feet. From here, scramble up easy, fun slabs for about 350 feet to the summit.

To descend, rap off double bolt anchors over the back side.


This route is typical of many other Flatiron face climbs in that it takes very little pro, but is not really scary. Bring a light rack of nuts and a couple small cams. If you didn't bring a rope for the descent, this climb is preferred for downclimbing over the North face route.
Mark Oveson
Louisville, Colorado
Mark Oveson   Louisville, Colorado
The first pitch of this route can be intimidating for a beginning leader, as the first protection is 15-20 feet off the ground. The climbing up to this initial pro is solid 5.5. I have seen one party that was unable to lead this first pitch at all. I'd recommend the North Face route, which is slightly harder but much better protected, for leaders who are intimidated by this climb. Aug 8, 2001
Jason Carter
Monument, CO
Jason Carter   Monument, CO
It is possible to climb the entire East Face by starting at the toe of the slab, angling right, and stemming the vertical gully to the small tree. However, I found it very enjoyable to go around the toe slab to the north side, where there is an angling crack system that gains you the very bottom of the east face above the headwall, there is good pro and interesting climbing because of the angles. Aug 17, 2001
Guy H.
Fort Collins CO
Guy H.   Fort Collins CO
Fun climb on solid rock. It is about 350ft from the first tree belay to the notch where the North face joins the route. It is about 200-250ft to the summit from the notch. If you only have a single 60m for the descent, make sure you use the second set of anchors for the 2nd rap. (and rap to the west). Dec 2, 2002
Be careful, the route that Jason suggests may be the 5.9 route "No Stranger to Danger" in Rossiter's book. From below, this looks like an easy route with juggy holds and tons of pro. In reality the "buckets" are thin and slopy with awkward angles and so-so pro (at least to this 5.6-at-the-time leader). One of my buds who was leading 5.7-ish at the time took a fall leading this. He eventually thrashed his way up and I made it clipping his gear, but it was NOT fun. Aug 21, 2003
George Bell
Boulder, CO
George Bell   Boulder, CO
Warning: don't be mislead by the James Garnett photo into thinking this is the first pitch. The regular way to start this route goes up the righthand skyline or behind it. I think you do turn the top part of the overhang in the area visible in this photo. The start of this route is quite tricky for a 5.5, the easiest line and best holds are not obvious.

The photo does show the start suggested by Jason, I believe. No Stranger to Danger starts right of the East Ridge according to Rossiter and would not be visible in this photo. Mar 30, 2004
George Bell
Boulder, CO
George Bell   Boulder, CO
The start of this climb can be confusing and here is how I would describe the first pitch: Begin on the north face immediately north of the big overhang in the east face. This is 50-100 feet above the low point of the east face, a shady, dusty area with some big trees. Climb up a steep, tricky face to a large ledge (no pro), then step left across the top of a corner to a strange crack diagonaling up and left which bypasses the main part of the overhang. This crack is polished but at least provides some pro. You now arrive on a nice ledge with only the final short piece of the overhang above you. Move left and place pro behind a huge flake, then crank past the overhang using this flake - you are now on the low angle part of the face. There is a tree just above the overhang (just barely visible in the James Garnett photo), you can belay here or keep going. The entire section from the start of the pitch to the tree is only about 50' long. Mar 30, 2004
James Garnett
Bellingham, WA
James Garnett   Bellingham, WA
Thanks for clarification, George. My mistake was believing the main route description on this page, compounded by my eyeball assessment that the face in my photo "is probably 5.5." Your version corresponds closely to the route description in Rossiter's guidebook. (These problems make me wonder if a higher level of editorial control on might not be a good idea....) Apr 21, 2004
George is correct, the start I was warning about ("No Stranger to Danger") is not visible in reference photo. It is farther up the N. face (but not real far) from the start described by George. If I'm right about NStD, it would be easy to mistake it for the standard start described by George (if one didn't have his comments in hand). Looks easy from the ground but isn't. Apr 22, 2004
Paul Weiss
Paul Weiss  
Wow!! This is a really fantastic route. The quality of rock is excellent. The first pitch if you are of average height is spooky, it took me two moves to reach the nice hold. If you are taller you can reach it in one. I would grade it 5.6 personally. The face is consistent and I thought steep, exposed, and with standard flatiron runouts but we stayed towards the north edge. With the small roofs and steep climbing on the upper part of east face.. it was just plain fun and well worth the hike in. Sep 27, 2004
Wayne Crill
an Altered State
Wayne Crill   an Altered State
This is a fun classic line, easy romp to a great FF descent. I'm sure no one will see this comment for years, but why is it that so many of these Flatirons face climbs are just given a grade like 5.5 and no R or X rating? Historical? Certainly many of the classic Flatiron east faces would be considered R or X routes if the difficulty was more severe? just curious Jun 11, 2008
Ben Baird
Boulder, CO
Ben Baird   Boulder, CO
The Matron and everything within a 1/4 mile radius is closed from February 1 through July 31 for raptor nesting Jul 12, 2008
Jamie Princo
Boulder, CO
Jamie Princo   Boulder, CO
Has anyone rappeled the Matron recently?

We did Saturday and seemingly got off route. I went first on the upper rappel and found an awkwardly placed pair of bolts ~90 feet down far to the rappeler's right. The next rap, on a 60m rope, will reach the ground if one followed the rock face down to the left. If one slips on all that lichen in the area, or goes over the overhang straight below the bolts, it's a long way back up the rope for a "re-do".

Summitpost makes it sound like the second set of bolts should be slightly left from the initial rap. Did we miss something? are there 2 (or more) sets of bolts on that face? Thanks.

jamie Nov 23, 2009
Julius Beres
Boulder, CO
  5.5 PG13
Julius Beres   Boulder, CO
  5.5 PG13
"Summitpost makes it sound like the second set of bolts should be slightly left from the initial rap. Did we miss something? are there 2 (or more) sets of bolts on that face? Thanks."

Jamie, you definitely missed something. I did this about a month ago and it was a straightforward rap. From the top go straight down. I had a 70 m rope and used a little over half (maybe 20 m), and found 2 bolts just a little left of the rap line at the top of the slab section. From those two bolts you can rap to the ground over the left edge of the slabs. (I had plenty of rope left over with my 70.) You could probably also make it rapping down the slabs, but you would have to walk it down to avoid going over the edge.

Alternately, my 70 almost reached the ground going straight down the slabs from the top. I'm pretty sure with 2 50m you can make it all the way down from the top... Definitely with 2 60m.

My guess is if you went 90 ft down on the first rap you went too far and missed the bolts on the left. They weren't obvious from above and I was going slowly and saw them when I got close to their level. Nov 30, 2009
Jamie Princo
Boulder, CO
Jamie Princo   Boulder, CO
Thanks Julius, I figured the fading light was holding a secret from us. I'll keep a sharp eye out for something much further left next time.

jamie Dec 4, 2009
Rodger Raubach
  5.5 PG13
Rodger Raubach  
  5.5 PG13
This is a "Boulder Area Classic!" I've taken lots of folks up this route. The first lead can be a little scary for a new leader, and represents the crux of the entire climb. This is a decent "date climb." Jul 21, 2010
Rodger Raubach
  5.5 PG13
Rodger Raubach  
  5.5 PG13
After looking at some of my older pictures and reading some of the other comments here, I'd suggest a provisional PG-13 rating for the first pitch. The North Face, although somewhat more difficult, is very well-protected from the start. A leader fall on this climb's first pitch probably wouldn't be fatal but would result in more than a wounded ego. Apr 21, 2013
Person1727   Boulder
Definitely in my top ten Flatiron classics. About 20-25 feet up, there is a rotten foothold that I like to try and avoid. The exposure around the bulge is great. My friend, she pulled up a bit sooner when climbing up around the bulge and seemed to have an easier time. Sep 26, 2014
Steve Annecone
  5.7 R
Steve Annecone   boulder
  5.7 R
The first pitch always feels more like 5.7 or 5.8 R to me, and I wonder how many beginning climbers get brutally sandbagged on this? The density of pin scars suggests many folks have aid-climbed through the crux traverse section in the past. Really fun moves pulling over the roof and on to the east face! Oct 10, 2017

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