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The Matron

Routes Sorted
L to R R to L Alpha
East Ridge T 
Father Knows Best T,S 
North Crack T 
North Face T 
North Face Right T 
Pasta Man T 
Quiche on a Leash T 
Real Men Don't Eat Quiche T 
Serpentine Dreams S 
South Face T 
Sunday Comix T,TR 
Warlocks T 
West Face T,TR 

The Matron Rock Climbing 

Photos:  Recent | Best | Popular
Location: 39.94304, -105.2884 View Map  Incorrect?
Page Views: 22,576
Administrators: Leo Paik, John McNamee, Frances Fierst, Monty, Monomaniac, Kristine Hoffman (sitewide)
Submitted By: Andrew Wellman on Jan 1, 2001  with updates from Tony B and 1 more

52° | 38°

49° | 39°

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58° | 41°

65° | 46°

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  • Subject to Seasonal Closures MORE INFO >>>
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  • Description 

    The Matron is a tall spire that sits along the ridge above Shadow Canyon.

    Per Tony B: the Matron is a relatively undervisited rock. It seems that it's remote location and long hike in may be a hurdle when it comes to popularity, but the variety and quality of climbing would otherwise justify more attention.
    This relatively large and unique Flatiron is hundreds of feet tall and offers a moderate and accessible sunny East Ridge, an adventurous, old school, and sunny South Face at a moderate level, and a variety of routes on the shady and cool North Face ranging from 5.5 to 5.11. Some of these are actually quite good. The view from the top alone N/NE into Shadow Canyon and over the south end of Boulder merits at least a single ascent.

    The North Face, North Face Variation, and North Face Right are all moderates in the 5.6 to 5.7 range there. To step it up a notch and stay in the shade, the climb Pasta Man comes in at 5.9 and has an element of adventure to it. If you want to step it up a little further, then the twins Quiche On A Leash and Real Men Don't eat Quiche are hard 5.10-easy 5.11, and both deserve a few stars and an ascent.

    If you need to climb a little harder, then try out Father Knows Best for a hard crux and a sustained challenge beyond that, or in at 5.12, the route Warlocks.

    For fans of the routes on the West Face of the Goose and other slightly lower angle edging and face climbs, the W/SW face of the Matron has a few routes as well in the 5.8-5.10 range. While these, Sunday Comix and West Face present gear and protection challenges, they are easily top-ropeable from the rap anchors.

    Getting There 

    It's easy to reach by parking at the South Mesa Trailhead near Eldorado and hiking the South Mesa Trail to the Shadow Canyon trail. Follow the Shadow canyon trail around some switchbacks until the tall and proud Matron is obvious on the ridge above you. A climbers trail leaves the main trail and ascends to the Matrons South Side. To descend, there are bolted rap anchors on the summit.

    Climbing Season

    Weather station 0.7 miles from here

    13 Total Climbing Routes

    ['4 Stars',1],['3 Stars',6],['2 Stars',3],['1 Star',2],['Bomb',0]

    Classic Climbing Routes in The Matron

    Mountain Project's determination of the classic, most popular, highest rated climbing routes for The Matron:
    East Ridge   5.5 4b 13 IV+ 11 MS 4a     Trad, 3 pitches   
    North Face   5.6 4c 14 V 12 S 4b     Trad, 3 pitches   
    West Face   5.8 5b 16 VI- 15 HVS 4c R     Trad, TR   
    Quiche on a Leash   5.10c 6b 20 VII 20 E2 5b     Trad, 1 pitch, 110'   
    Father Knows Best   5.11 6c+ 23 VIII- 23 E4 5c     Trad, Sport, 1 pitch, 70'   
    Serpentine Dreams   5.12b 7b 26 VIII+ 26 E5 6b     Sport, 1 pitch, 115'   
    Browse More Rock Climbing Classics in The Matron

    Featured Route For The Matron
    Rock Climbing Photo: Standing at the P1 belay with the roof directly be...

    North Face 5.6 4c 14 V 12 S 4b  Colorado : Flatirons : ... : The Matron
    This route is listed in Gerry Roach's book as one of the top ten routes in the Flatirons. It has been a popular route for a long time and is quite historic. To reach the bottom of the climb, hike around to the North side of the Matron and follow a climber's trail up until you reach a large block. Chimney up between this block and the Matron and start on the bench immediately afterwards. The climb is roughly four pitches long - about 1.5 pitches of steep 5.6 on the North Face, and then easy scram...[more]   Browse More Classics in Colorado

    Photos of The Matron Slideshow Add Photo
    Rock Climbing Photo: Bill Wright plays air guitar on the way down.
    Bill Wright plays air guitar on the way down.
    Rock Climbing Photo: Rodger Raubach and Alan Carlson on the way to clim...
    Rodger Raubach and Alan Carlson on the way to clim...
    Rock Climbing Photo: Eldo approach to the Matron.
    Eldo approach to the Matron.
    Rock Climbing Photo: Summit view.
    Summit view.
    Rock Climbing Photo: The Matron.
    The Matron.
    Rock Climbing Photo: The 2nd rappel.
    The 2nd rappel.
    Rock Climbing Photo: The Matron as seen from the North East, high on Ja...
    The Matron as seen from the North East, high on Ja...
    Rock Climbing Photo: Bouldering a new, Matron East, Flatirons.
    Bouldering a new, Matron East, Flatirons.
    Rock Climbing Photo: Bouldering around the Matron, on the Matron Boulde...
    Bouldering around the Matron, on the Matron Boulde...
    Rock Climbing Photo: Sunrise on the Maiden from the approach on an autu...
    Sunrise on the Maiden from the approach on an autu...
    Rock Climbing Photo: View from Shadow Canyon trail.  Photo: Dave Fioruc...
    View from Shadow Canyon trail. Photo: Dave Fioruc...
    Rock Climbing Photo: Fia checking out the [Matron].
    Fia checking out the [Matron].
    Rock Climbing Photo: Original photo before the rope was removed.
    Original photo before the rope was removed.
    Rock Climbing Photo: Profile of the Matron, with its East Ridge and Nor...
    Profile of the Matron, with its East Ridge and Nor...
    Rock Climbing Photo: Eight year old Dez on his first ascent of the Matr...
    Eight year old Dez on his first ascent of the Matr...
    Rock Climbing Photo: 10/20/2002 from Towhee Trail.
    BETA PHOTO: 10/20/2002 from Towhee Trail.

    Comments on The Matron Add Comment
    Show which comments
    Comments displayed oldest to newestSkip Ahead to the Most Recent Dated Aug 30, 2017
    By Anonymous Coward
    Nov 21, 2001
    My buddy who lives in Golden and (correctly) assumes I am a gumby because I live in the flatlands of Texas, took me up the Matron in early November. This is definitely a "take the wife and kids" route and was easy, airy and beautiful. The highlight was a closeup fly-by of a Peregrine Falcon.
    By George Bell
    From: Boulder, CO
    Jan 28, 2002
    The fastest approach to the Matron is actually to park in Eldo and hike up the "Old Mesa Trail", which joins the Shadow Canyon Trail (Road) on the hill before the Matron. The Old Mesa Trail is not marked and is difficult to find going up, your best bet is to take somebody who knows where it is, or try navigating it down (north) the first time.
    By shad O'Neel
    Jan 21, 2004
    the [Matron] is probably second only to the [Maiden] in terms of a spectacular flatiron summit. Should be a must do for [Boulder] climbers, although it seems to rarely be visited by most....
    By Martin le Roux
    From: Superior, CO
    Jul 28, 2004
    Now that the raptor closure season is over, the friendly folks at OSMP have attempted to obscure the start of the climbers' access trail by cutting down some branches and dragging them across the trail. Exactly what this is meant to achieve escapes me.
    By Anonymous Coward
    Aug 15, 2004
    This formation should be called "the foot" or the fis. That's what it looks like. It doesn't look like any ding dang Matron. Whatever that is.
    By Jamie Princo
    From: Boulder, CO
    Jul 15, 2011
    Yeah Mark, I just spoke with leah at OSMP about The Matron, and she said go ahead and climb.

    By Rodger Raubach
    Oct 15, 2012
    BITD (1960s) the Matron was frequently visited by rock schools for graduation climbs. The East Ridge for the gumbies, and for the more talented, North Face. I myself once led a 24 climber conga-line up (UCHC) the East Ridge. After finishing the route, I also did the South Face and still was able to watch climbers still starting!
    By Tim Fleming
    From: Boulder, CO
    Oct 17, 2012
    I agree wih George that the "old Mesa Trail" is the faster (and better) way to access the Matron. You don't need to have someone who knows the location, since it's easy to see from a satellite view in Google maps. It begins in Eldorado off the most northern bend of Baldwin Circle. Then it cruises straight to the Shadow Canyon trail/road just a few hundred yards east of the access trail to the rock. Hiking the Mesa trail is slow and annoying due to recent closures of sections of the Towhee Trail that had been the most direct way when taking the usual approach.
    By JenLH
    Aug 18, 2013
    Found several pieces of gear left up on a first pitch at the Matron on August 17th, 2013. Contact me if it's yours. Must provide name of route you left it on and description of what gear you left.
    By Tony B
    From: Around Boulder, CO
    Jun 16, 2014
    For those who were not aware, the Matron closure was lifted early this year (5/15/14) - go for it.
    By Flatirons Climbing Council
    Aug 4, 2014
    There are a handful of new-route applications for the Autumn 2014 cycle of the Flatirons Climbing Committee's Fixed Hardware Review Committee, including one on the Matron. We will be holding a public meeting and vote on these climbs on Wednesday, September 3, 6:30 p.m. at The Spot gym in Boulder. Please visit: flatironsclimbingcouncil.wordp...
    to review and leave comments on the applications.
    By Benjamn P
    From: Boulder, CO
    Oct 12, 2016
    10/8/16 - Tony B. and I were finishing up Quiche on a Leash, and we spoke with the three of guys. We trundled that rock, and you videoed (it would be sweet to see the footage). We did get your draw off the first pitch of the North Route. Contact me through MP to get it back, both of us have PLENTY of booty gear!
    By Flatirons Climbing Council
    Jan 1, 2017
    There is a Matron route application submitted for the January 2017 cycle of the FCC's Fixed Hardware Review Committee application process. The proposed route includes two pitches and is on the south face of the Matron.

    Please visit the FCC site to review the application and leave any comments you have. The public vote and meeting is set for 6:30 pm on February 2nd (Thursday) at The Spot in Boulder, Colorado.
    By Hayden robinson
    Feb 3, 2017
    Does anyone know anything about Kor's aid route The Nordwand? I heard it goes clean.
    By Corey McD
    From: Lakewood, CO
    Aug 30, 2017
    Descent - two nice bolts with rings on the west side for the first rap. Head towards the ramp, belayer's right, to get to the two eye hooks. The eye hooks are over a foot apart with no chains. It kinda sketches me out. Next time I think I will bring some screw gates to attach to the eye hooks or a second rope to make it one long rap from the top rather than two. Anyone else find the eye hooks strange?

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