Climbing the First Flatiron
I went to undergrad at CU (GO BUFFS) and thus lived in beautiful Boulder CO for four years. I hiked around the Flatirons ONE TIME. Guys, I was busy in college and apparently had no time for outdoor fun on school days (which was apparently every day for me). But, I have always admired the Flatirons and love they way they frame the most beautiful views of Boulder. Climbing them has been on the bucket list for quite a while and last weekend I checked the first one off my list.
This was Brent and I's first time climbing in almost a year. Brent has been dealing with some serious tendinitis and has stopped doing basically anything with his arms. But the cabin fever of shoulder season got to him and this climbing is so easy you don't actually have to use your arms right??? (no his arms hurt but he said it was worth it)
The First is the most technical (standard route) of the 3 Flatirons and most of the routes go at around 5.5-5.7 Get the beta for all the classic routes from Mountain Project here. We climbed the standard east face which is 7-10 pitches of 5.6.
This climbing is 5.fun and a lot of people solo it. We did not and we brought a 70m rope. The consensus is that a 60m rope will get you down the rap of the back. The first two pitches on the route we did were mostly slab and very run out, but the rock is like velcro so it feels fairly secure (from the girl that did not lead it #grainofsalt).
We did this climb in our 5.10 guide tennie approach shoes and that worked great! I need to do a gear review on these shoes because they are seriously the best for so so many things (if I had these on the Crestones I would have avoided weeks of pain). The extra rubber on an approach shoe is great on the slab sections and you really don't need the point of a climbing shoe at any time- it's jugs and ladders after the slab. All of the belay stations are super comfortable and the route finding is straight forward. Even if you do get off route (we took a detour to avoid a slow group) you are unlikely to find anything too hard (according to Mtn Project comments- I've only climbed the thing once soooooo #moresalt).
This climb is crazy popular and has a lot of traffic. Be mindful of free solo'ers when you are pitching it out and know that you may have to wait on people or have people waiting on you. The climbing is easy and secure after the 1st two slab pitches but we found simul climbing to be a bad idea because the rope drag gets pretty gnarly as you go along the ridge. Get there fairly early if you don't want to get stuck behind people and make sure you have stable weather. Climb on climbers!