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East Face/Fatiron 

YDS: 5.4 French: 4a Ewbanks: 12 UIAA: IV ZA: 10 British: VD 3c

Type:  Trad, 3 pitches
Original:  YDS: 5.4 French: 4a Ewbanks: 12 UIAA: IV ZA: 10 British: VD 3c [details]
FA: unknown
Page Views: 1,324
Submitted By: Warren Teissier on Oct 6, 2001

You & This Route  |  Other Opinions (46)
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BETA PHOTO: Here's how we pitched it out with a 70m rope.

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  • Description 

    From the North side of the Fatiron, climb the notch between the flatironette and the base of the Fatiron. Follow left leaning strata for 20 feet to the base of a crack that divides the East face.

    P1: During the first pitch this crack is shallow and provides little protection. The easier route up the face follows the right side of the crack sometimes wandering as far as 10-20 feet to the right. Climbing the left side is 5.6. Climb past a bulge and set up a belay at a tree in the crack.

    P2: Continue up the right side of the crack (now protectable). Overcome another bulge and continue P3 to the top on now much easier terrain.

    Once you reach the summit of the East Piece downclimb South West for 100 feet and rappel 50 feet Southwest from a tree, down to the slabs of the second piece of the Fatiron.

    The Western piece of the Fatiron is much easier, we chose to simulclimb it. Climb the center of the face and wander left after reaching a huge ledge. After two pitches worth you should reach the summit. The views of the Maiden and its north face route are awesome from here....

    Downclimb Northwest for 10 feet and set up a 40 foot rappel from a tree. Pay attention not to be impaled by a dead tree that lies in wait as you rappel off the overhang.


    Light rack, long slings to wrap around trees.

    Photos of East Face/Fatiron Slideshow Add Photo
    Rock Climbing Photo: First portion.
    First portion.
    Rock Climbing Photo: Our pitches 4 & 5 on the west slab with a 70 m rop...
    BETA PHOTO: Our pitches 4 & 5 on the west slab with a 70 m rop...
    Rock Climbing Photo: Rappel station & route off the first (east) slab.
    BETA PHOTO: Rappel station & route off the first (east) slab.
    Rock Climbing Photo: Second portion.
    Second portion.
    Rock Climbing Photo: Belay there and you can make the first piece in tw...
    Belay there and you can make the first piece in tw...
    Rock Climbing Photo: Pictured is the scramble down off of the  first sl...
    BETA PHOTO: Pictured is the scramble down off of the first sl...
    Rock Climbing Photo: Near the bulge.
    Near the bulge.
    Rock Climbing Photo: Maiden looming to the south.
    Maiden looming to the south.
    Rock Climbing Photo: Valley views.
    Valley views.
    Rock Climbing Photo: Pitch 2 is run out!
    BETA PHOTO: Pitch 2 is run out!
    Rock Climbing Photo: Super clean aesthetic 1st pitch.
    Super clean aesthetic 1st pitch.
    Rock Climbing Photo: Downclimb this corner from right of rappel if skip...
    BETA PHOTO: Downclimb this corner from right of rappel if skip...
    Rock Climbing Photo: Easier P2 line up the crack, even easier climbing ...
    BETA PHOTO: Easier P2 line up the crack, even easier climbing ...
    Rock Climbing Photo: Nearing the summit.
    Nearing the summit.
    Rock Climbing Photo: Fatiron from the Maiden.
    Fatiron from the Maiden.
    Rock Climbing Photo: Topping out the first section.
    Topping out the first section.
    Rock Climbing Photo: Maiden, Fatiron, Devil's Thumb.
    BETA PHOTO: Maiden, Fatiron, Devil's Thumb.
    Rock Climbing Photo: Not the only one enjoying the views.
    Not the only one enjoying the views.

    Comments on East Face/Fatiron Add Comment
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    By Joseph Proulx
    Nov 24, 2003

    This climb has great views, great position, and (mostly) great protection. The line up the eastern piece is very aesthetically direct. I think it's fun to stay on the crack from the very bottom to the where it ends near the summit instead of looking for easier climbing on the face. We didn't climb the western piece. The approach is a bit of a thrash, but it's mostly on trail and through open forest.

    You can belay the pitch 1 leader from a natural anchor around a small but solid arch of rock at the base of the crack. Maybe a real factor 2 whipper would have a chance of breaking the arch, but not on this low-angle rock.

    We tried (unsuccessfully) to string together the route into two roped pitches with a 60m rope. It almost works, but not quite. My partner led pitch 1 and set up a belay well above the big tree and just below the bulge that forms the skyline from there (about 180' up). I led pitch two, and found a great belay ledge after 50 feet of climbing. The next 25 feet were an easy scramble, and then there was a nice bench about 100 feet higher near the summit - just at a rope length. Unfortunately, there was no protection on the bench or anywhere around it - the crack ends right at the bench - so I had to set up a hanging belay. With a 70m rope, you may be able to set up anchor on the bench - I don't guarantee it - but definitely not with a 60m unless you want to simul-climb a bit. From the bench, the climbing to the summit is quite easy.

    The protection on this route is fantastic aside from the first 50 feet of climbing. A variety of gear usually works after that - you can sew it up with a whole bunch of different pieces, so it's quite mellow.
    By Warren Teissier
    Nov 24, 2003

    I recently had the opportunity to climb this route again.

    In the interest of safety, I want to point out that the first 50-70 feet have, as noted by Joseph, very little gear.

    In fact we placed only two pieces in this section. Granted it is easy but it is also thin. I happen to believe that the crux of the route is actually in this section...

    So, if you are not used to Flatiron climbing and its accompanying run outs and funky gear, don't let the easy rating fool you. Those are some intense 50 feet. I should know we were simulclimbing... ;-o

    Cheers, WT
    By Chris Meloche
    Nov 24, 2003

    Joseph and I really enjoyed this one on the 21st of November. It was a bit too cold and cloudy to be a classic Flatirons experience but a great line like this is a pleasure none the less.

    Like most east side Flatirons routes this is a long, low angle climb on nice gritty sandstone. It is, however, different in that it has a great protectable crack most of the way up. On the hike in we could see the line 20 minutes before we reached the base of the climb. The gear is great after the first 50ft. but make sure you have some small stuff. The crack is consistently finger width and will take small nuts and cams if you have them. The trees growing in the crack also make great natural placements if you have some long slings. Again, like most east face routes on the flatirons, the threat of a cheesegrater slide makes it a bit more intimidating than the grade would suggest. Of course it doesn't help when your fingers go numb from the cold either.

    If you choose to forgo the fourth class pitch to the western summit you will most likely want to rap down from the saddle. This can be done a couple of different ways. Be sure to look around. We saw three different rap stations, one around a tree descending to the south to the layer of rock including the saddle proper, one at the low point of the saddle slung around rocks, and one using a couple of old pitons descending the North Face.

    Great views, great rock, beautiful line, off the beaten path, and easy climbing make the Fatiron a great day in the mountain parks.
    By shad O'Neel
    Mar 14, 2004
    rating: 5.5 4b 13 IV+ 11 MS 4a

    i found ample pro at the beginning, no more than 25-30 ft runout, but at 5.5. Glorious low angle finger crack with even better views of the maiden. super fun, with no crowds.
    By Anonymous Coward
    Jun 12, 2004

    If you continually scout for the easiest line it may go at 5.4 but if you scout for the most aesthetic line, more like 5.5-5.6. Either way, the view of people on the north face of Maiden and seeing that route is likely what you'll remember.
    By Kevin Craig
    Oct 18, 2004
    rating: 5.5 4b 13 IV+ 11 MS 4a

    I agree that this felt more like 5.5 (e.g. the 5th Flatiron E. Face Left). There's a bit of pro (green Alien) in the first 50 ft. on the first pitch if you start just left of the "crack" and traverse across to the right where it pinches down - probably still not enough to keep you off the deck if you peel before the next piece though. Climbing-wise, it's "all there" but takes some looking around at times. On the second pitch, the best pro (in the crack) is not where the easist climbing is (well right of the crack), but the climbing is very easy to the right (OK 1 or 2 thoughtful moves). Using every inch of a 60m rope, we did this in 2 pitches with some easy scrambling at the end, YMMV.

    If you don't want to do the upper (west) section of this rock... scramble SW to the small tree (visible from the top) and slung block. Rappel SW to a larger tree visible from the start of the 1st rappel. Rappel straight S (NOT SE) from this larger tree through a notch in the ridge that becomes a crack/chimney. With every last millimeter of a 60m rope, rope stretch and by "walking" uphill/West at the very bottom, you can reach the ground.Your rope should pull OK if you flip it out of the chimney. Descend via bushwhack between the Fatiron and the Maiden.
    By JVonD
    From: Longmont, CO
    Mar 2, 2010

    View scenes from the climb. PLUS A STEVE LEVIN interview! At the time the video was filmed, there had been a closure on the Maiden formation. Please check this site for closures -

    By Chris Zeller
    From: Boulder, CO
    Jun 9, 2010

    Great classic route. Not much pro though, so be confident. Typical of the Flatirons east face climbing. Slabby, excellent rock and fairly low angle. An beautiful climb. The views of the Maiden are spectacular.

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