Type: Trad, 400 ft, 2 pitches
FA: FA: J Roach & J Wheeler, 1956. FFA: Ament/Dalke, 1960s
Page Views: 2,853 total · 19/month
Shared By: Tony B on Jul 20, 2006
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 a pretty good route in the Flatirons, with 2 long pitches or 3, if you don't want to run them together. You can certainly run them together with a 70M, and I think a 60m is what we successfully used.

Arrive at the base of the east face of The Thing and locate a crack with some trees in it that goes through a roof (crux, but has good holds) and over a ledge, continuing up and left to another tree before ending. From there, climb easy face up and slightly left to the left margin of a huge flake, then to the top of the rock.

Belays can be made on the ledge, at the upper crack with a tree, on the ledge on the upper slab, and at the top. So there are 3 different places you can stop and belay depending on drag, communication, rope length and ANTS. We saw an ant problem at the last tree, which was fine because we climbed to the first big ledge over the roof in 1 pitch and to the top (or darn near it) on the second pitch.

To descend, rap to the South, then go up behind the back and down the north side back to the base.


This route climbs the central features and cracks on the east face of The Thing.


As I recall it (from 2002) it was a standard rack, offering standard gear, but with runouts expected on Flatirons.
Grand Junction
Merlin   Grand Junction
A fun route with a nice summit. There is really only 10 feet of 5.7 over a roof (good holds and pro)and the rest is all pretty easy slab climbing. As Tony says in the description, expect some run out. The only place I can think that would be bad for newer leaders would be 40-50 feet between a tree and the block on the second pitch. Fortunately the climbing is easy. May 9, 2007
J. Fox
Black Hawk, CO
  5.6 R
J. Fox   Black Hawk, CO
  5.6 R
Fun climb. Go ahead and pitch it out. We climbed in a group of three and did it in three pitches. The crux on P1 was not that bad, but I didn't lead it so....

P2 has a nice fist crack angling up and left past a tree.

P3 follows a huge flake, but you'd need valley giants or big-bros to protect it. I finally did get a #4 Camalot in, but protected it mostly with nuts on the face. Aug 23, 2008
Paul Kemp
Boulder, CO
Paul Kemp   Boulder, CO
A really fun free-solo. The only 5.7 move (getting onto the roof) is right above a tree, so if you fell, you'd fall right into that. Oct 1, 2008
Mark Griffin
Boulder, CO
5.6 R
Mark Griffin   Boulder, CO
5.6 R
As of 3/8/09 the rap anchor consists of one sling of unknown age (looked okay though) and one new (added today) piece of 7mm cord with two rings. A really fun route with great views of The Third and Boulder.

Try to throw your rope out from the wall to avoid the prickly crap at the bottom that gets all over the rope and then all over your hands as you coil damnit. Mar 9, 2009
Guy H.
Fort Collins CO
Guy H.   Fort Collins CO
You can add some quality and leave the #4 at home by climbing the great slab about 15ft left of the huge flake (~5.6). There are small cam placements every 20-30ft. May 17, 2009
Eric Brehm
Boulder, CO
Eric Brehm   Boulder, CO
This is a very interesting and enjoyable route that is a bit more challenging than the average, east face, Flatiron slab climb. For the approach, we hiked to Sentinel Pass on the Royal Arch Trail and then threaded our way cross-country to the base of the pinnacle through a reasonably navigable maze of boulders and fallen trees. Some larger gear (e.g. #9-10 hexes, #3-4 Camalots) is useful for the fist-sized crack and the long left-facing dihedral on the upper slab. We did this climb in five pitches to facilitate communication, enjoy some of the luxurious belay stances, and allow re-use of some of the larger gear.

P1: from the toe of the rock on the north edge, angle up and left to a shallow crack system that leads up to the tree at the base of the crux wall (150 feet, somewhat run-out 5.4). This pitch can be shortened by starting further left and heading straight up to the tree.

P2: muscle over the well-protected crux section -- a roof/dihedral sort of thing with good handholds above -- and then waltz up a section of very easy rock to a large ledge with several live trees (90 feet, 5.7).

P3: climb slightly left up the beautiful fist-sized crack to the tree on the upper slab (50 feet, 5.4).

P4: tip-toe up an unprotected face for about 40 feet to reach the raised block on the upper slab (this presumably is the "Needle's Eye" from which the rock takes one of its many names); then cruise up the dihedral on the left side of this feature to a spacious belay ledge atop the block (150 feet, 5.2).

P5: scamper up the final run-out slab to the top (70 feet, 5.2).

Descent: a secure rappel station is located on a large ledge south of, and about 10 feet directly below, the summit. On 11/5/10 there were several slings with 2 rappel rings installed here. Scramble down from the summit to the ledge, and then rappel straight south about 50 feet to the ground. Return to the base along the north side of the rock. Nov 9, 2010
Mic Fairchild
Mic Fairchild   Boulder
When doing the variation on the right side of the raised block, I only climbed the side for about twenty feet before moving left and into a seam in the middle of it. Aug 29, 2011
Keith W
  5.6 PG13
Keith W  
  5.6 PG13
Overall, the route itself is quite fun. Interesting crux move, but it was pretty easy once you grab the big jug above. Like all Flatirons, it was run out in areas but easy in those areas. #0.75 C4 protects the crux well. Otherwise standard Flatiron gear. A #3.5 works nice on the crack pitch.
The approach and descent however made this thing an adventure. I am not sure if we just couldn't find the right path to get there and back, but it was a lot of bushwhacking and tree/boulder hopping to get to it. The descent was a nightmare, but it was probably mostly due to the fact that it was dark when we got off the rock. After an hour of hoping for a decent path through the thick and hoping to not walk off a cliff or slide down a steep slope, we made it back to Royal Arch Trail. I think it is a good climb, but the approach/descent would deter me from doing it again any time soon. Great views though.

Jun 17, 2016