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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, TR Fixed Hardware (3)
FA: Mike O'Brian et al., 1955
Page Views: 5,259 total · 26/month
Shared By: George Bell on Jan 25, 2002
Admins: Leo Paik, John McNamee, Frances Fierst, Monty, Monomaniac

You & This Route

22 Opinions

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Access Issue: Temporary Trail and Raptor Closures Details


This is an excellent route but unfortunately bears the scars of one of Boulder's first bolt wars. It is also closed from Feb 1 to July 31 due to raptor nesting. The protection on the first pitch consists of three bolts with nuts only (no hangars) and a few stopper, RP, or tiny cam placements on the upper half of the pitch. I am not sure if the nuts on these bolts can be unscrewed, but if so, it would be great to put hangars on these bolts (or much better, replace them entirely). [Replaced in 2014 - see comments.]

The route begins at the highest saddle west of the Matron, and follows the arete between the North face and SW Faces, except for deviating onto the SW face around an overhang at the crux. It is better to approach via the North side of the Matron.

Climb up the arete to the overhang, and clip the first bolt. This area is a shameful "bolt graveyard", containing six(!) other bolts that have all been chopped. Climb up the SW Face, traversing left to clip a second bolt. Now move up and left back to the arete (also 5.8).

The rest of the first pitch is now much easier and follows the spectacular arete to the rappel anchor at 80'. There is one more hangarless bolt in this section, as well as a few places for stoppers or small cams. This first pitch is easily toproped from this anchor, if you are coming down from climbing another route on the Matron.

The second pitch to the summit is easier (about 5.6) and offers excellent protection through the crux. Move left and up through a broken area to an eye bolt 130' off the ground, then move up and left and skirt the summit overhang to the right. This area can also be reached by stepping right off the belay and heading straight up some easy cracks. Clip 4 ancient pins as you skirt the overhang (crux). This section appears harder than 5.6, but features always appear to make it easier.


RPs, stoppers and cams to 2" (a wrench and bolt hangers may be useful if you have them).


George Bell
Boulder, CO
George Bell   Boulder, CO
Great photo, Jake! The first pitch crux is somewhere in the bottom of the photo (bolt studs I think are slightly below photo and hard to see in any case). The second pitch passes right of that big blob on the skyline. Dec 13, 2002
Did this route today and it is indeed stellar.

In its current state, with two hanger-less rusty stems it is a trully a dangerous mind trip to lead.

I hope that with the new Flatiron's fixed hardware commitee those two relics of bolt wars gone-by can be replaced by two modern bolts. Then the route can be enjoyed in safety as the classic it is.

The second pitch is also stellar although at a lesser grade. Modern pro allows you to bypass all of the old pitons in this pitch, some of which are pretty cool reminders of how old this route is indeed.

A must do (even if you have to top rope it)

WT Jun 4, 2003
Guy, the closure for the Matron and the Amphitheater were lifted a couple of weeks ago cause no birds were seen nesting on them

To celebrate this, yesterday morning a group of early morning speed climbers did 19 ascents on the Matron on its four faces before 10am. Happy times.

I think the Open Space and Mountain Parks folks gain a HUGE amount of climber community "goodwill" by re-opening areas ahead of time when they realize that birds are not nesting in them.

Kudos to the rangers.

BTW, the trail to the Matron proper once you leave the main trail is really rough since a bunch of trees were downed by the two big snow storms.

Cheers, WT Jun 5, 2003
Tony B
Around Boulder, CO
Tony B   Around Boulder, CO
You can also finish the climb via a second pitch just left of the old eye bolt, pulling through the lichenous overhang on jugs. Depending on where you do this, it can be protected reasonably and be rated between 5.8 and 5.10. Oct 20, 2003
See North Face route for the description of Father Knows Best on the west face. Jun 12, 2004
Coal Creek Canyon, CO
  5.8 X
DamageVic   Coal Creek Canyon, CO
  5.8 X
TR'd this today after climbing the N. Face to E. Face routes & rapping to the anchors at the top of P1.
Enjoyed this route quite a bit, but it would be a scary and very dangerous lead in my opinion. Also did a variation- where the route goes left & a bit up to a large ledge (& the remains of several bolts), I continued straight up on very thin edges & crystals/pebbles. Rejoined the main route by heading up and left to the second ledge on the arete.
Much harder, very balancy & crimpy/pinchy. I'd put that middle bit of the 'variation' at about 5.9. Aug 2, 2009
Brilliant pitch up to first anchor. Probably R- in danger, assuming a bolt doesn't fail. If you traverse left below the second bolt, it feels a bit hard getting started, but then there are great footholds all the way to the arete. Plus, you've got overhead pro for the hardest moves. It would be a huge public service for someone to replace those first two bolt studs with modern gear. Nov 24, 2012
On 12/6/2014, the three bolt studs with nuts, but no hangers, were removed from the first pitch and replaced with 1/2" stainless steel Powers bolts and stainless steel, camouflaged, Fixe hangers. The old bolt holes were reused (enlarged) to accommodate the new hardware. The new hardware was supplied by the ASCA. Please consider donating to this worthy organization to keep our climbing areas safe. Thx!

BTW, on the first pitch, I count 13 additional bolt relics in various stages of damage and decay.

Dec 8, 2014
Steve Annecone
Steve Annecone   boulder
Way to go, Lenny! A much-needed act of community service, thanks! Dec 8, 2014