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East Face Gully 

YDS: 5.3 French: 3+ Ewbanks: 10 UIAA: III ZA: 9 British: VD 3a

Type:  Trad
Original:  YDS: 5.3 French: 3+ Ewbanks: 10 UIAA: III ZA: 9 British: VD 3a [details]
FA: Unknown
Page Views: 3,685
Submitted By: Warren Teissier on Jun 8, 2001

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BETA PHOTO: Looking down from the highest tree ledge, not much...

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  • Description 

    This route is recommended only to those Flatiron Slab Mongers who want to or have to bag all the climbs on the First or worse yet are committed to doing all the easy climbs on the Flatirons (you know who you are...).

    The rock is very polished, the route is not easy to protect and there is a good amount of loose rock.

    This route follows the Northernmost Gully on the East Face of the First. It starts about 100+ feet to the right and up from the start of the Standard East Face route and shares the start and first pitch of the East Face North Side route.

    From the trail on the north of the face, find a large flake that allows an easy traverse East and proceed straight up the face finding the path of least resistance. There is an old piton in the first pitch.

    At this piton, the routes separate. Traverse left finding the easiest way into the gully and head up the gully finding the path of least resistance (i.e. with more friction...) Roach mentiones staying right initially until you reach some ledges where the gully widens and then moving left. This was not that obvious to us.

    Less obvious to us, was the exit of the gully. About a pitch from the top of the gully look left under some small trees for a licheny ramp at a weakness on the left wall, this is the exit onto the East face. Some 25 feet above this is a easier looking exit. This exit is indeed easier but getting to it involves a poorly protected 5.6 friction traverse... Pick you poison.

    Once out of the gully traverse left until you reach the Junction Knob and join the North Arete.

    Have fun....


    Standard Flatiron rack.

    Photos of East Face Gully Slideshow Add Photo
    Rock Climbing Photo: This is what I think is the "correct" ex...
    BETA PHOTO: This is what I think is the "correct" ex...
    Rock Climbing Photo: Chockstone that we used for the second belay ledge...
    BETA PHOTO: Chockstone that we used for the second belay ledge...

    Comments on East Face Gully Add Comment
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    Comments displayed oldest to newestSkip Ahead to the Most Recent Dated Mar 5, 2015
    By Danny
    Apr 1, 2004

    I climbed this las fall. The first pitch that is shared with the NE face is fun and well-protected. I actually found two bolts (one pretty old and one newer) spaced about fifteen feet apart. After the bolts I headed left and gained a crack system that took me to the gully. Once in the gully there is a big tree on the right which is the best pro/belay available in the entire gully. From the tree I climbed up and left all the way to the top. I headed left in hopes of placing pro, but the best I could do was one small stopper the entire pitch. Needless to say the climb is extremely run out. Also, I agree with the bomb rating b/c the moves, once in the gully, are not all that great. The rock lacks solid features and is quite polished in spots.
    By Jason Kaplan
    From: Glenwood ,Co
    Jul 1, 2006
    rating: 5.4 4a 12 IV 10 VD 3c R

    I liked this route, then again I was soloing. My solo partner and I really liked the rock and moves they were fun the whole way and pretty easy (the rock had quite a few jugs and slopey crimps, although like mentioned before it can be polished which I thought was neat). Maybe 1 or 2 moves that felt harder then the 5.2 to the right. I really liked being confined to the gully. We started in the same spot for the east face 5.2 but didn't follow the first pitch with the bolts (I have seen those now 2 or 3 times). I recommend this to anyone who likes to do the 5.2 east face (especially as a solo).
    By Friso Schlottau
    Oct 25, 2007
    rating: 5.4 4a 12 IV 10 VD 3c R

    I did this route yesterday. We started 100 - 150 ft. right of the East Face. I stayed to the left of the obviously water-polished area for the first 2-3 pitches, and found enough good gear (3-4 decent pieces per pitch). I quite enjoyed this route, and found the belays to be consistently good / shady. Traversing left out of the gully was a bit odd b/c I couldn't see the best spot to 'get out' until I was a bit too high up. The corner that is furthest left is the one to aim for, and if you go too high, it's a bit trickier to protect.
    Overall, 3/5 stars.
    By Tits McGee
    From: Boulder, CO
    Sep 22, 2008

    So far I have climbed this route three times - Each time proceeding a different way up the gully. I am not sure that the route's description gives it enough credit. I have been able to consistently place enough protection on each of the pitches...The belays are good and there are several trees, ledges and adequate placements to construct safe anchors.
    The best way to access the ridge is at the top of the gully where the ground meets. Great moves from a solid belay (2 trees) allow you to access the ridge and make the summit - or just walk off the back for 4 fun pitches.
    By Evan S
    From: Erie, CO
    Mar 1, 2009
    rating: 5.2 3 8 II 8 D 2c

    I soloed this yesterday (2-28-09) and thought it was fun. If you follow the northern side of the gully there are tons of holds and laybacks. I never once felt threatened until I slipped on a pile of pine needles under one of the trees near the top, but it turned out alright. There may be one or two spots of 5.3 but overall I'd call it 5.2 at best, I did it in approach shoes. If you follow the gully proper to the top you are literally eight feet above the descent trail off the back, I'm not sure how you could possibly get lost or have an issue getting down.
    By George Bell
    From: Boulder, CO
    Mar 1, 2009

    I think it's harder than 5.2 if you traverse left before reaching the ridge and follow the North Ridge to the top. Maybe 5.4!
    By Evan S
    From: Erie, CO
    Mar 2, 2009
    rating: 5.2 3 8 II 8 D 2c

    Yeah, I didn't take the ridge to the top, I jumped off the back and hiked down and back around to gap between the first and second. From there I found the SW arete route, went up it and downclimbed it, so now I know how to get off the top without a rope, very useful bit of info to have if you're gonna solo to the rap station.
    By Stich
    From: Colorado Springs, Colorado
    Apr 6, 2013

    This route works really well for passing slow parties on the Direct East Face route. Just stay out of the gully proper and the rock is more featured. I stayed right and then headed towards some slings at the little wall on the left side of the gully. You can penetrate the wall at a break and you are right back at the Direct East Face.
    By Andy Hansen
    From: Longmont, Colorado
    May 27, 2013
    rating: 5.3 3+ 10 III 9 VD 3a

    I'll second Stich's opinion that this route is best used to bypass slower parties on East Face Direct. However, despite the routes given grade of only "5.3" it is, in my opinion, insecure, hard to protect, and not a whole lot of fun. It does offer quick access (3 70m pitches) to the North Arete which is by far a better route. I still haven't been able to figure out where this thing actually starts, but generally speaking you can get into the gully fairly easily as it's the most identifiable feature on the 1st Flatiron.
    By William Thiry
    From: Lakewood, CO
    Oct 3, 2013
    rating: 5.4 4a 12 IV 10 VD 3c PG13

    Just did this climb today and found it surprisingly enjoyable. Warren's opening remarks in the description were unfortunately pretentious. You could access the route from the Red Slab start, but that would involve climbing a runout slab on slippery red rock. Move another 20 yards up the trail (passing under a dead tree) and rope up at the start to the East Face Right side route. Instead of climbing up right, simply climb straight over the obvious bulge and into the gully.

    Route finding from here on is simply picking out what looks most appealing to you while staying in the gully. Good protection opportunities pop up here and there, and you have about six trees to sling and use as belays along the way. While it can be a tad runout in a few sections, the climbing is rather easy and the runouts serve to spice it up a little (but not too much).

    We finished up left at two large trees and continued from there up the North Ridge route, but you could easily walk a few feet down to the trail to descend.
    By Brian C.
    From: Longmont, CO
    Jun 4, 2014
    rating: 5.5 4b 13 IV+ 11 MS 4a R

    Climbing directly up the gully is harder than the other comments imply. I likely just picked the "hard" way, but the middle section before the trees felt much less secure than the opening pitch on the East Face Direct and has about the same amount of pro. My partner followed by hugging the right wall, and it looked much easier. The exit wall is not obvious, but I am fairly sure that we picked the correct way and will attach a photo.

    Also, I thought it was interesting the stuff we found in the gully. One chaco sitting on a horn, a quarter, several cliff bar wrappers, and some other garbage. Weird.
    By Scott McMahon
    From: Boulder, CO
    Mar 5, 2015


    I'll add some thoughts. I found sticking to the right dihedral goes more around the 5.4 range. Definitely fun with nice hand over hand laybacks. Maybe I made it harder than I needed to, but it felt a little physical (and fun). Straight up the middle seemed the "easiest" to me; however, that is the most polished and least protected way. Some decent spots for tricams, but expect typical run out Flatirons climbing. I typically build my first belay on the left side (often use a 70m), but anytime I attempt to keep left I usually get pushed back to the middle before long. The left side is certainly more rotten and dirty with less gear. Lots of crap to knock down. Rock on the upper section gets pretty hollow. Nice to have a walk off too when you are rushing to get a climb in.

    Expect runnouts, creative gear placing and belays, polished rock, and dirt. ALWAYS extend your slings! I "forgot" once or twice and I might as well had an anchor tied to my harness. The route will wander! Fun route to avoid the crowds, although it's becoming more well traveled due to said crowds.

    Probably best as a solo if you're comfortable with that long of a climb.

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