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Free for All

5.6, Trad,  Avg: 2.4 from 79 votes
FA: unknown
Colorado > Boulder > Flatirons > North > Second Flatiron
Warning Access Issue: 2024 Crag Closures & Temporary Trail and Raptor Closures DetailsDrop down

Description

This is the standard east face route to the summit of the 2nd Flatiron.

Begin as for Freeway. When the Pullman Car is obvious above and to your left, drop down left into the gully. Climb the water polished gully via stair step holds for a bit, then head left to the obvious tree below the Pullman Car.

From the tree, head up a brief chimney-like crack to a steep face. This face is the first crux of the route, and is passed via a couple moves of 5.6. After this obstacle, you will be directly below the overhanging east face of the Pullman Car. The obvious crack above you is apparently 10+. Avoid these difficulties by heading left around the bottom of the car and work into the big gully. About 40 feet up the gully there is an obvious crack line through the south face fo the Pullman Car. This is the second crux of the route, and is also 5.6. Climb this, then head up the slab to the summit.

For the descent, carefully downclimb the exposed 5.0+ West Face. This can be tricky to onsight on the way down. Consider sending the less experienced climber down first on TR, placing pro to protect the second climber.

Protection

Flatiron SR

Photos [Hide ALL Photos]

This is a closeup of the crack on the south side of the Pullman Block where you climb onto the face.
[Hide Photo] This is a closeup of the crack on the south side of the Pullman Block where you climb onto the face.
Approaching the Pullmans car.  Probably the wrong way, but that is the beauty of the east face routes....
[Hide Photo] Approaching the Pullmans car. Probably the wrong way, but that is the beauty of the east face routes....
This is the base of the .10ish crack on the east face of the Pullman Car where you can belay if you want. Move left from there to continue on Free For All (I think).
[Hide Photo] This is the base of the .10ish crack on the east face of the Pullman Car where you can belay if you want. Move left from there to continue on Free For All (I think).
Near the top of P1 of Free for All. Check out the climbers on Freeway in the background.
[Hide Photo] Near the top of P1 of Free for All. Check out the climbers on Freeway in the background.
Tyson Arp trying to find his way onto the East Face of the Pullman Car.
[Hide Photo] Tyson Arp trying to find his way onto the East Face of the Pullman Car.
Mark high on the Pullman Car.
[Hide Photo] Mark high on the Pullman Car.
Right at the crux.
[Hide Photo] Right at the crux.

Comments [Hide ALL Comments]

[Hide Comment] My friend and I climbed the route today and when we got to the top we were a bit confused. The downclimb is not 4th class or 5.0 and after spending over a half an hour on the summit we decided to just put a sling around a boulder and rap down. If you do not normally solo then this down climb is definitely not for you as it is quite scary. Sep 19, 2003
[Hide Comment] Ryan, I agree, the downclimb is indeed scary, hard to sort out the first time and WAY exposed

An alternative to rappelling is to "downlead" the route the "weaker" climber goes first belayed from above and places gear frequently as he down climbs

Then, once on the ground, the "weaker" climber belays the person at the top. That person then downclimbs and cleans the pieces... That's how I did it my first time up there

Cheers, WT Sep 20, 2003
Andy Leach
Denver, CO
5.6
[Hide Comment] It took us 7 pitches to make it from near the base of the East Face to the top of the Pullman Car. I shot a short movie of our climb on November 11, 2005 - you can find on my web site: leachfam.com/securearea/1st… Nov 14, 2005
Wes B.
  5.6
[Hide Comment] Did this route today. It was a little wet, but we were able to avoid most of the water/ice. We climbed the route in a total of 7 pitches. There were only 2 or 3 moves of 5.6 in my opinion. Why aren't there fixed anchors on top? Seems like most of the other main formations have them. Mar 6, 2010
[Hide Comment] Did the route today and there are slings and rap rings on the summit. They are a little sketchy (old), but we rappelled from them just fine. Mar 19, 2012
mark felber
Wheat Ridge, CO
 
[Hide Comment] The downclimb from this rock was distinctly more exciting than the climb. Sep 3, 2014
Long Ranger
Boulder, CO
 
[Hide Comment] It's a funky route, as you start on Freeway (which itself starts a little lacking on holds, polished, and grubby), then eases off in steepness. If you stay as left as possible on the rib, it's easy to, uh, "Exit" into area between the Freeway route and the South Block, making the ascending traverse towards the trees and above the chimney-ish part seem a little more natural.

Once you go around the Pullman Car, it seems that you should try to keep on the south side of this block, but it's much easy to just drop into the gully, and simply walk to where you can then again climb up. If you do decide to stay on the block, it's much like the downclimb of the First, but a bit more difficult. You may have to climb around a few places, gaining and losing your position. You're never too far above the gully below, but if you're roped up, a fall would most likely have you swinging - or take a groundfall. It's an easy place to get to, as pro can be placed high - higher than the climbing you're doing. Maybe good advice to just walk it to that crack if you're roping up! Jan 30, 2015
Dave H
 
[Hide Comment] A friend and I solo'd this route, and I agree with most of the comments posted. It's easy to traverse over to Freeway, but the downclimb off the side proved tricky. About 4/5 the way up there's a small ledge with about a V2 downclimb; look for it if you're considering solo'ing it, as it's the best way to get back onto the path (that we discovered). Only about one move that brought any hesitation, and it was near the relative bottom. Great line overall. Aug 25, 2016
Long Ranger
Boulder, CO
 
[Hide Comment] If you start on Freeway, you can exit that right to the left simply by walking off and to the left - there is no V2 boulder problem that must be negotiated:

While on Freeway, just stay on the highest, left most rib, and find the correct place to exit off of it into a shallow gully. This will be very much before the jump on Freeway, but will be the same, leftmost rib that the jump apexes at. Once in the shallow gully, traverse left up to very red rib that sits lower than the rib you exited off of, and take that most of the way to where the large tree grows below the chimney. Nothing should be harder than the first pitch of Freeway, but there may be some dirtier sections, where you cross rock with pine needles and other accumulations. Mar 16, 2017
David A. Turner
Colorado
 
[Hide Comment] Dan Raymond's photo on this page was helpful in locating the start (behind a tree) of the "crack line" through the 30 foot south face of the Pullman Car (probably the route "Southside""). The photo depicts the last few feet of the face. Expect more face climbing than crack climbing. May 17, 2020
Long Ranger
Boulder, CO
 
[Hide Comment] I think there's really only two cracks on the south side of the Pullman Car, and Free For All historically takes the first one found when coming from below. Both make a good end pitch, but I do think the route beta is sound, as that crack is ~40' up, which narrows the region to search. Legit crack routes in the Flatirons are few and far between though - if this was that, this climb would be a much more sought after classic!, but it is more finding weaknesses, moving up ledge systems, and overcoming bulges. Very similar to South Sneak, or any other 5.easy route on the non-east faces of the Flatirons. May 18, 2020
Weston Hamilton
Denver, CO
[Hide Comment] This is my favorite way up the 2nd. I’ve done it probably 30 times now, it’s way more engaging than Freeway, and it gets you to the summit as a mostly safe solo.

There are a couple ways to get to the summit from the side of the car/block. One is to climb that crack in the picture at 5.6, and the other is to continue along the side traversing past one difficult move and then climb very easy holds to the summit directly at maybe 5.3. This can also serve as a much easier downclimb off of the summit. You’ll know you have the right line when you notice one of the blocks you’ll use rocks a bit and makes noises but is solid.

The official downclimb off the summit is very easy but exposed. It’s best to follow someone or to first climb up it from the trail to learn the beta onsight. Then just reverse those moves. May 17, 2023