Type: Trad, 1300 ft, 9 pitches
FA: unknown
Page Views: 30,175 total · 144/month
Shared By: George Bell on Oct 12, 2001 with updates from Ahren Swett
Admins: Leo Paik, John McNamee, Frances Fierst, Monty, Monomaniac

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Access Issue: Temporary Trail and Raptor Closures Details
Access Issue: Some crags in this area are closed 1 February to 31 July: Details


This is the longest route on the Third Flatiron, and one of the best. The climbing is similar to the Standard Route, although it is nearly twice as long and there are no fixed eye bolts, and no crowds. Due to a general lack of protection and fixed belays, this is not a good route for beginners. Once my wife and I were climbing and a thunderstorm hit us near the roof, and we endured a pounding while hunting for rappel anchors (we were able to get off by leaving only 2 slings).

Leave the Royal Arch Trail about a hundred yards past the Bluebell Creek crossing, thrash down into the creek and cross it, heading up a hill to the base of the face [after the 2013 flood at the crossing it is easier to simply walk up the creek bed, then head uphill]. You can also leave the trail before the creek crossing, but I find this bushwhack worse, and it is harder to navigate to the face. Make sure you do not end up under the Third Flatironette, which is a separate, small Flatiron before you get to the main face.

The start of the route is marked by a rounded rib of rock that angles north below the main east face. Head up this rib, then start straight up the east face towards an overhang which extends across the entire left side of the east face (visible in the lower left corner of the photo below).

You will reach the overhang in about 2 pitches. You can either run around the overhang on the left (south) 5.5, or tackle it directly at 5.7. There are several cracks visible in the overhang, take whichever one looks best to you (we took the left one). There is an ancient bolt with an aluminum hangar about 40' below the right hand roof crack (we didn't climb near it).

Continue upwards near the left edge of the east face for about 500 feet. This section is easier (maybe 5.2), but there is very little pro available. Expect to get in one 2 or 3 pieces a pitch, and choose your belays carefully. Eventually you will reach a rounded summit, the Dog's Head. This point is only about 50' south of the standard route, and you will likely hear and see other climbers on this route.

From the Dog's Head, step across onto the next piece of the Third Flatiron, and climb up 120' or so to join the regular route where it crosses the Gash to Kiddy Kar ledge. The last pitch is the same as for the regular route.


A light rack.
The route George and I followed (Roach's description) runs left of the route shown in the scanned picture. We were 3 to 20 feet from the left arete for most of the way.

Also, there are a couple of ways of climbing the roof directly. The bolt mentioned in the 3rd picture (I thought it was a piton) protected the weakness on the right side of the roof. We went for the crack on the left (no piton but good pro). Of course, you can by-pass the roof to the left thus dropping the rating from 5.7 to 5.5. Jan 10, 2002
What a grand scramble. We did the right of two cracks, didnt see a bolt here, but did belay from an old funky thing about 160' off the ground. The slab before the roof seemed trickier than thre roof itself which had a horizontal splitter that took good gear. We simul-climbed a lot since there wasn't a good belay very often, and that was nice. Such good views of Willy B and The Thing. The best pitch required running it out about 150' on a stellar hueco ladder. I thought the left crack looked way harder than the right, but to each their own. Aug 11, 2002
Boulder, co
Hammertime   Boulder, co
The route is 7 pitches with 60-m rope. I agree with Warren, the route goes near the left edge of the face. The edge has some good gear and exciting exposure. Half-way up, the edge has the bolted top anchor of a sport-climb (Shoyu State). There are adequate belays (at least 2 bomber pieces) on every pitch, just don't use up all cams of the same size during the pitch... We used a lot of Aliens and a few nuts, and we wished we had a #2 Cam several times (only brought up to #1). To overcome the overhang, the right crack is easier. The worst runout is in the middle of the climb. Aug 18, 2006
Andrew May
Westminster, CO
Andrew May   Westminster, CO
Fun climb if you're willing to run it out. Great views of Boulder. Beware of the afternoon storms! Aug 29, 2007
Joey Wolfe
Joey Wolfe  
This was my first big free solo, and a on-sight. I followed a friend who took a shot of me totally gripped on the last bit were it ease off but turns into a total friction climb. I'll never forget it. Oct 25, 2007
TJ Quirk
Parker, CO
TJ Quirk   Parker, CO
Marc and I hiked to the 'traditional route'. But there were four parties on the bolted route, another party 40 feet left, and two more waiting to depart. So we headed for the East Left Face. We rappelled (full 30 meters) off the dead tree to the gully (right of the 3rd Flatiron), and hiked to the lowest part of the east face. It's slightly around the corner (left) from any human activity. For the first 700 feet of the left face, didn't see any of the crowd. The crux of the 5.5 is traversing left around the roof. But there is decent cam placement in the under cling. The rappel down might have the best signage in the country! We're going back to do the 5.7 roof next time! Nov 29, 2009
Scott McMahon
Boulder, CO
Scott McMahon   Boulder, CO
In response to Warren's comment, I believe there is a ring piton when you hit the roof, then if you traverse right there is a bolt about 1/2 way. It's been a while, so don't rely on that beta, but I remember being happy clipping both. Feb 14, 2010
Hey guys, I was planning on free soloing it tomorrow, never done it before, but two questions,
1. do I need a rope for raping off or is there a walk off/chill downclimb to where I don't have to downclimb the whole thing if I don't bring a rope?
2. anyone wanna go? I'll be headed out that way around noonish, just moved back to the Front Range and lookin' for some chill people to climb with.
Chris Aug 18, 2011
George Bell
Boulder, CO
George Bell   Boulder, CO
You can downclimb the SW chimney, see the description under that route. I've done it, but I prefer to bring a rope and rap because there is one spot that is a little slippery and holdless. I don't free solo any route except the Standard Route any more. Aug 19, 2011
Bosier Parsons
Colorado Springs, CO
Bosier Parsons   Colorado Springs, CO
I climbed this on Tuesday, 11/22/11, with Jason King. It was my first time on the Third, and I can't believe it took me so long to get on it. We climbed the 5.7 roof, which has an old bolt right below it. I recommend this variation. Just pull up on some good edges and get your left foot up high and out left. We simul-climbed the whole route in one long pitch in about 45 minutes, and then down-climbed off the side/back to get off. Super fun and highly recommended as a traditional belayed route, simul-climb, or free-solo. Enjoy! Nov 26, 2011
Kyle Judson
Kyle Judson   Colorado
Made an attempt on the east face left Dec. 16th. We post-holed through knee deep to get there. Started our climb with small ice falling on us (nothing too dangerous, so we went for it). There was a serious amount of ice on the route. After leading the first pitch on 4 pieces of gear, I set a belay under the 5.7 roof. The second pitch we traversed right to the Standard Route and bailed off to the East Side Beach due to the amount of ice on the route. This route is already run-out, but when the cracks you want to protect are filled with ice, you can imagine how it was. All in all, it was a good "mini epic". Dec 25, 2011
I am curious to know if any one has any idea how long the pitches are after the roof but before the gash. I am not concerned about the runout or lack of gear but would prefer not to simul-climb and would like to know how and where the belay stations are. Oct 10, 2012
William Thiry
Las Vegas
William Thiry   Las Vegas
If you plan on skipping the 5.7 cracks at the roof and wish to go left of the roof, it is recommended to angle left well before getting to the roof. The traverse under the roof is thin 5.5 and has flaky rock. It goes and protects fairly well - I did it yesterday - but there will be plenty of rope drag and the rock is far more solid if you start angling toward the left side of the roof farther below. Nov 14, 2013
William Thiry
Las Vegas
William Thiry   Las Vegas
Also, belay ledges pop up just when you need them. We climbed on the left side of the slab and although many pitches ran the entire 60 meters of rope, belay stances appeared just when we needed them. Depending on how you work it you may have to simul climb 10 or 15 feet if you don't hitb the belays just right, but it is always on easy ground. Nov 14, 2013
Bill Lawry
New Mexico
Bill Lawry   New Mexico
Ran across both old bolts on the way to the smaller crack on the right end of the roof: one bolt with a roundish hanger (in photo) and one farther up with a longer rectangular hanger. The roof at the right crack was well protected and seemed to go with a brief 5.6 move or two. Oct 19, 2014
Joel Larner
Fort Collins, CO
Joel Larner   Fort Collins, CO
Strongly agree with the route description on how to get to the base of this climb. Take the route past the creek crossing (the creek is dry in the fall, so just walk up the creek) then go up from there. Taking the turnoff before the creek crossing makes it tough to find the start of the climb. Oct 13, 2016
Will H.
Will H.  
I climbed this route just going off the MP beta, and it was sufficient. With that said, I must have not picked the path of least resistance, and it totally felt like 5.6 to me (and that includes dodging left of the roof). I'd say the 5.5 assumes you know the ideal path. Something to keep in mind if soloing/onsighting. Sep 13, 2017
I lost a # 2 cam with biner on this route on Wednesday 12/18/17. Could have been in this route or The Standard. Please let me know if it was found. Thank you! Jan 8, 2018