|Type:||Trad, 5 pitches, 700'|
|Original:||YDS: 5.2 French: 3 Ewbanks: 8 UIAA: II ZA: 8 British: D 2c [details]|
|Submitted By:||Warren Teissier on Jun 24, 2002|
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|Comments on Cat Scratches||Add Comment|
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By Tim Meehan
From: Boulder, CO
Nov 28, 2016
rating: 5.4 4a 12 IV 10 VD 3c PG13
Approached by hiking to the Royal Arch. At the Arch, turned west and headed straight uphill on access trail to massive boulder at base of the Fifth Flatiron. A tunnel north through the boulder got me down to the bottom of Cat Scratches.
Climbed (roped solo free climbing) on the face just north of the northernmost scratch. Technical grade felt 5.2 to 5.3. Most of the route was PG-13, pretty good pro for a Flatiron. Very little of the pro was textbook, though, with lots of creative placements. Finding multiple co-located belay anchors wasn't easy. Used most of my wired nuts and black through brown tricams, in shallow and narrow water grooves on the face. Used small cams (BD 0.3, 0.4) under small flakes and larger cams (BD 1, 2, 2x3, WC 4) for larger flakes and water grooves. Slung a few rock features.
Note that the last 40 feet of the ultra-clean summit block offers little protection. Some might give this last pitch an R rating, but the ridge line to the summit is solid and sharp, so at least there are good handholds to offset the runout. The summit is great, with a solid I-bolt to rap off, and a bunch of old fixed gear (piton, 1/4 inch bolt and Leeper hanger) to ponder. There is a clean free-hanging rappel off the north side of the summit, where both ends of my 70 m rope easily touched the ground.
Bushwhacked north and east downhill between the Fifth and Fourth, and eventually intercepted the Royal Arch trail. A little research suggests that hiking down south of the Fifth is a cleaner option. All told, about 2 hours hiking and 6 hours climbing (four pitches climbed twice). An old man going at the speed of silence.