Monday, March 2, 2009
The First, on the first
With winter behind us and spring approaching quickly it's once again Flatiron season. Well at least first flatiron season due to the seasonal wildlife closures on the Third and Second flatirons.
So Evan, Amber, and myself decided to get a jump start on the rock climbing season and climb the First, on the first. Both Amber and Evan had never climbed the 1st so I was excited to be their guide for the day and show them how much fun it is to climb a flatiron.
My initial plans were to climb the Standard route (5.6s, 1000ft, 6pitches) but of course due to it being Sunday and that routs overall popularity there was already a line forming to climb it. One thing you must always have as a front range climber is a backup plan. Fandango was mine. Just 200 feet to the left of the Standard route. Although shorter by 2 pitches it is definitely just as good a route as the Standard. Interesting slabs, cool solution pockets, wave like overlaps, all high over Boulder.
Evan in mountain man pose...
The first two pitches of Fandango went smooth although at the end of pitch 2 while squeezing between a tree and a rock overhang, somehow one of the 2 Upslope beers I had in my pack sprung a leak. I hurried up , set an anchor, and dugout the leaking beer from my pack. 400 feet up, Let the drinking begin!
We drank up the leaking beer and saved the other one for the summit. Feelin the buzz, due to the fact I don't really drink that often, I left the belay and instead of climbing up and right off pitch 2 I accidentally climbed over to the left onto Zig Zag, a different route rated at 5.7s. Other than cutting off some climbers who were on the route below us it was no big deal. Having climbed almost all the routes on the 1st numerous times I still knew exactly where I was. Just felt a little foolish for getting off route due to a little beer buzz...I guess the important thing is that Evan and Amber didn't seem to mind and the last two pitches of Zig Zag went great.
Evan and Amber on the "tricky" part of Zig Zag..
Once on the ridge most of the technical climbing is over and you are awarded with a spectacular view of the Indian Peaks and Longs Peak for the 300 foot ridge traverse....
Evan and Amber gigglin on the ridge......... Climbing over the first false summit..
Once on the summit it was time to rig up the 100 foot free hanging rapel. Showing Evan the safer method to descent a rope we all rappelled safely to the ground anxious to drink the surviving beer.
And it was good!!! I'm pretty sure this was the first time an Upslope beer made it up the First flatiron.