Best Beginner Climb in the Solar System

(That’s what the guide books say.) After our climbing in Eldorado and Boulder canyons, we decided to go back and run up the third Flatiron.

We started from the now familiar Chatauqua parking lot, and tore up the approach. Mike’s favorite dig is, “hiking?! …you mean walking. That’s what we do to get to the climbing.”

We walked up about 500 vertical feet to the third Flatiron. Gorgeous trees, rubble fields, scree… and all the while this huge prominence of rock is sticking up into the sky. The face is about a 60 degree incline, with just little undulations, texture and some little ridges for hands and feet. From the top, it’s a triple rappel off the back side, then a “walk off” — which means you scramble doen the steepest, gnarliest terrain you could imgine ever “hiking” down.

Our climb on the first Flat was more epic; mostly because it was my first climb and it took seven pitches, mostly in the dark. The third was a fun, three pitch cruise. The left edge, bottom to top, is about 1,800 feet (if memory serves). On our ascent, we started about halfway up, on the right side. By the second pitch, you’re looking down on Boulder, and the raptors are cruising *below* you sailing the ridge lift.