REI Community

Select Route:
East Face/Challenger T 
S.C.R.U.B. T 

Challenger Rock Climbing 

Photos:  Recent | Best | Popular
Page Views: 2,373
Administrators: Leo Paik, John McNamee, Frances Fierst, Monty, Monomaniac, Kristine Hoffman (sitewide)
Submitted By: George Bell on Oct 3, 2001


81° | 54°

74° | 45°

55° | 41°

51° | 37°

51° | 38°
You & This Area
Best climbs for YOU in this area
Your opinion of this PAGE:    [0 people like this page.]
Know the location? Show us! We need it for cool new features!
Looking down from the summit of Challenger, Chris ...

  • Temporary Trail and Raptor Closures MORE INFO >>>
  • Seasonal Raptor Closures MORE INFO >>>

  • Description 

    A beautiful, small spire West of Green Mountain Pinnacle and North of the summit of the Fourth Flatiron. This piece of rock is visible from almost anywhere in Boulder and has a curious, S-shaped summit ridge and resembles a spaceship ready for takeoff.

    [apparently aka 'The Spaceship']

    Getting There 

    From Chataqua, head up the Royal Arch Trail to Sentinel Pass. Here, leave the trail and head west up the slope, staying north of the Last Flatironette (just stay north of any rocks you run into). After 15-20 minutes, you should run into Green Mountain Pinnacle (if not you are too far north). Challenger is the rock immediately west of Green Mountain Pinnacle. Allow at least an hour for the approach.

    Climbing Season

    Weather station 2.5 miles from here

    2 Total Climbing Routes

    ['4 Stars',0],['3 Stars',2],['2 Stars',0],['1 Star',0],['Bomb',0]

    Classic Climbing Routes in Challenger

    Mountain Project's determination of the classic, most popular, highest rated climbing routes for Challenger:
    East Face/Challenger   5.4 4a 12 IV 10 VD 3c R     Trad, 2 pitches   
    Browse More Rock Climbing Classics in Challenger

    Featured Route For Challenger
    Rock Climbing Photo: P2.

    East Face/Challenger 5.4 4a 12 IV 10 VD 3c Colorado : Flatirons : ... : Challenger
    This is one of my favorite Flatiron routes, although the approach is substantial. Consider combining this with a route on the Fourth Flatiron, Green Mountain Pinnacle or Willie B. This is a great route to free solo if you are solid; there is very little pro in any case and even a roped fall would be serious.P1. Start in the saddle between Green Mountain Pinnacle and Challenger, and follow the East Face to the top of the Spaceship. You can belay at a tree in the middle after crossing...[more]   Browse More Classics in Colorado

    Photos of Challenger Slideshow Add Photo
    Rock Climbing Photo: Challenger from the summit of Green Mtn Pinnacle (...
    BETA PHOTO: Challenger from the summit of Green Mtn Pinnacle (...

    Comments on Challenger Add Comment
    Show which comments
    By XOG
    Feb 29, 2004
    Here is a really fun link-up, which ends with Challenger, so I'm listing it here.It's possible (via several different ways) to go from just above the Mesa trail to just below the summit ridge of Green Mtn, almost entirely on solid Flatironrock. After some experimentation, I've decided that for me the following is themost aesthetic way to do it. Thought I'd post it here in case anyone else is intothis sort of thing.

    Start with Regency Slab (both pieces). After the 10' downclimb continue straightWest and you'll get to an F2 or so chimney slot, which deposits you at the baseof the East face of Royal Arch.

    Climb the E. face of Royal Arch. The West side is downclimbable for better climbersthan me (30 feet or so of 5.6). When I was last there there weren't any anchors (justa single hangerless bolt). In this case, it's easy to reverse the top part of the E. face and step to the south arriving at a spot very close to where hikers oftencongregate.

    Now walk a couple of hundred yards (this is the longest walk you have to do) downthe Royal Arch trail to the N. until you pass the bottom of Tangen Tunnel and thestart to the first piece of the Fourth Flatiron.

    Climb the first piece of the Fourth Flatiron, and then get onto the second piece atthe standard start.

    Don't, however, do the standard route on the fourth. Stay to the right, on clean rock. The central gash for which the standard route heads is 100' or so to your left,and you basically climb straight up from the start (the standard route traversesleft from the start). Above you after several hundred feet is a big (3') crack witha tree in the bottom. To the right of that is a nice looking crack diagonalling right,which I haven't climbed. The 3' crack splits a steeper section. You can getinto this crack and do an easy chimney with big holds about 30' past the tree atthe bottom (I'd estimate F5 in difficulty, if that). Above this are some more trees,and you're past the steep section on normal Flatiron steepness. Diagonal right at this point and step into Fern Alley (an F2 in Roach's guide) about 60' from itsstart.

    The wall to the right (north) of you is the start to the E. Face of G. Mtn Pinnacle. Do thisroute according to Roach's description. If you have a rope, you can rappel off the topto the West, otherwise don't go all the way to the top (or reverse the last part, aswith Royal Arch), and step into the big crack that splits Green Mtn. Pinnacle (that contains Green Mountain chimney). Walk through this until you emerge at the West at the base of Challenger.

    Now climb Challenger.

    What I do at this point is continue on to the Eastern summit ridge of G. Mtn. Fromhere it's a super nice hike, staying slightly to the W and crossing several easyshoulders of the mountain, to join up with Greenman trail as it descends from thesummit (you're close to the summit at this point). I then just follow the Greenmantrail down Gregory Canyon, and back to Chautauqua trailhead that way. The directdescent from the summit of Challenger, back to the Royal Arch trail, has never appealedto me. This way is a little longer, but much nicer. If you feel like it, you can angleto the West near the top of Gregory Canyon, and cross over to Flagstaff for a littlebouldering on the way down.

    FWIW - I think this is one of the best Flatirons days I've had!
    By Anonymous Coward
    Jun 12, 2004
    Great link-up Greg. I have done this same one as well but had to split it into two days. The Challenger would be climbed for P2. P1 is uninteresting except for a sling on a tree branch for pro. P2 has a serious runout and would be better if brushed or if more popular. Combining the grit, runout, and lichen, I'd rather tell someone it was 5.5 friction slab so they'd have better beta. - Jay P.
    By Chris Plesko
    From: Westminster, CO
    Apr 22, 2011
    Either Green Mountain Pinnacle should be in North or this this should be in Central? Either way, to find Challenger if you've never been over here first find D&T on GMP and the walk uphill for 50 yards or so.

    Mountain Project

    The Definitive Climbing Resource

    MTB Project

    Next Generation MTB Trail Maps

    Powder Project

    Backcountry Ski Maps & Secret Stashes
    FREE Stickers · Gyms · RSS · School of Rock · Contact · About