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Northeast Arete 

YDS: 5.5 French: 4b Ewbanks: 13 UIAA: IV+ ZA: 11 British: MS 4a R

Type:  Trad, 4 pitches, 500'
Original:  YDS: 5.5 French: 4b Ewbanks: 13 UIAA: IV+ ZA: 11 British: MS 4a R [details]
FA: R Rossiter & Lynn Householder, 1977
Page Views: 1,311
Submitted By: Rog on Jun 8, 2002

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Where the NE ridge levels out....

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  • Description 

    Finding this route is pretty easy. Follow the directions to the Slab, then hike to the far right edge. As you look up, you'll see the 'wing-like flake' almost 400' up. The route generally follows the right side of the rock up to & past this bizarre formation. As with most Flatiron routes, there are many variations possible. For the most part pro is scarce, be creative.

    P1: From the base, look for a large blocky rock jutting out of the Flatiron about 175' up and maybe 60' from the right edge. Picking your best route, aim for this area. The start seemed the 'hardest' maybe 5.4 friction. After about 40' the rock becomes more featured.

    P2: Aim for the base of the 'wing-flake'. You'll cross over the gully that is the first portion of Diagonal (or at least I think it is). For some added excitement, at this gully traverse right towards the very edge. There is a cool but short crack (maybe 5.6 - easier options are available) that provides good pro & a couple fun moves. If you do this beware of rope drag. There is a small ledge just below the wing-flake that provides an adequate belay at about 175'. Note: From below it's hard to tell you're right at the base of the weird flake.

    P3: Rossiter's guide says to go 'under' the wing & back to the arete, I pulled straight up to pass it on climber's left. Follow easy climbing to the end of the rope & belay.

    P4: A short pitch - a cool and easy (4th class?) ramp that leads to the summit ridge. Quite a few belay options.

    At this point you've got several descent options (see the route Diagonal for the full scoop). For the quickest descent, look about 75' from the (climber's) right edge of the summit for a 2 bolt anchor / rap station. One bolt is a spinner, and there is a small mess of webbing, but it works. 100' rap.

    Note that this route shares quite a bit of ground with 'Diagonal' - also described in this database.


    Standard Flatirons rack. I brought a set of nuts, #1, 2, and 3 Camalots, a couple small cams & long runners. 60m rope recommended, esp if you plan on rapping off.

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    NE Arete.

    Comments on Northeast Arete Add Comment
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    By shad O'Neel
    Aug 1, 2002

    Super fun, climbing out on top of the wing was really fun. The crack adds spice to a great paddle.
    By James Garnett
    From: Bellingham, WA
    Sep 5, 2003
    rating: 5.5 4b 13 IV+ 11 MS 4a

    Fun climb, but with some provisos. First, the first pitch is very run out. I got in one good piece, and that one was almost all the way to the first belay (maybe 20'-30' shy of it). I would say that warrants an "s" rating. A question on that first pitch, too: it is clearly the hardest thing on the route unless you do the 5.6 variant---so how is it a 5.5 climb if the crux is 5.4?

    Second, there are two large blocky rocks jutting out that could act as the first belay; the first one is nice, comfortable, but only slightly past 30 meters up from our start at the high point of the north side. The second, which is definitely right at the end of a 60 meter rope, is a nasty belay for which I had no decent pro other than slinging a horn., and which is just plain uncomfortable. If you want to climb all the way up to it, you should bring the #5 Camalot (but I'd recommend doing it because it makes the next belay up easier).

    Third, the rappel is shorter: about 20' of our 60 meter rope was on the ground at the base when nobody was weighting the line. We were concerned about a 100' rappel with a 60 meter rope and tied rappel knots in the end, but it ended up being unnecessary.

    Finally, the rap bolts themselves are right on the edge of the summit ridge, at the base of a wall leading up to the summit. The "75' from the right edge of the summit" really got me confused; just keeping heading up and looking over the edge and you'll see them.

    Now, whining aside, this was indeed a fun climb. Excellent slabby goodness on the first pitch! I'm only giving it one star, because it's not spectacular and I wouldn't go back unless my partner really wanted to do it; there's closer-in slabby goodness in the Flatirons that is more appealing.

    First pitch is very run out. 5.5s.
    By Merlin
    From: Grand Junction
    Oct 1, 2006
    rating: 5.5 4b 13 IV+ 11 MS 4a R

    I second the very run out comment. If you start right up the slabby stuff expect 100 feet of 5.4 to 5.5 runout. After that, the climbing eases and the pro increases. The finger crack is also 5.7 even if it is only for 20 or so feet.

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