Rock Climbing Boulder’s Flatirons
Boulder’s Flatirons rise magnificently from just behind Chautauqua Park, providing a stark contrast to the eastern plains and giving the City of Boulder it’s trademark formations. Long known as some of the best rock climbing in the city, the Flatirons are so accessible and beloved by generations of Boulderites, that many will climb them for exercise after work. With a variety of routes and options up each peak, there is no limit to what can be climbed on the Flatirons, from easy jaunts up the face, to more technical, complex, and complicated pitches. One thing is for sure though, Boulder loves its Flatirons, and is proud to take anyone up to climb them. Here’s the best of climbing on Boulder’s Flatirons.
Rock Climbing The First Flatiron
Rising dramatically above the park, the First Flatiron looms over the meadow, with over 1,000 feet of climbing and 10-pitches of moderate 5.6 climbing, a spectacular view of Boulder, and a thrilling 100-foot free rappel off the backside. The First Flatiron is an ultra-classic of the Boulder climbing scene, with plenty of route variations ranging from 5.6 to 5.8, with every style of climbing that one could wish. With its angled slab, the First Flatiron is a great introductory lead climb or even solo scramble, depending on the level of comfort, with a textured easy to climb face and long sections between protection and crack systems, offering some thrilling run out climbing that’s close to the city and makes a great quick climb with minimal approach.
Second Flatiron – Great Guided Rock Climb for your first flatiron
The most angled of the three Flatirons, the Second Flatiron is the shortest, and one of the most beloved among free soloists and beginner climbers. It’s also the only Flatiron with a hikable trail from the summit, so climbers can just walk off, or hikers can easily make their way to the top. The second Flatiron starts just moments from the First, with climbing ranging from 5.0 to 5.7 depending on the desired route. The most popular route, Freeway, is named for it’s meandering style of climbing across the face, where every hold and feature is climbable. The main feature of the route is the ‘Leap of Faith’, which has climbers taking a small jump from a block to continue the route. While it looks more intimidating than it actually is, it’s a hardy test for first time climbers.
Rock Climbing The Third Flatiron
With it’s imposing pinnacle and the unmistakable ‘CU’ marking the side, the Third Flatiron is one of the best climbs in Boulder, and the East Face, according to some climbers is “the best beginner climb in the solar system”. This ascent is steep, committing, and one of the higher summits of the three peaks. Starting with a blocky climb at the bottom, the pitches steepen with thinner holds but fun friction climbing and lots of protection as it ascends the upper reaches of the formation. From the top you’ll have a view overlooking the other two Flatirons as well as the smaller ‘Flatironettes’ behind the main peaks. This is a great way to work on lead climbing and anchor skills, as well as being comfortable with thin holds and exposed climbing across the face. The Third Flatiron is truly one of the greatest climbs in the universe. The Third Flatiron is closed until late summer for raptor nesting, but when the route comes into shape, it’s one of the best in the region.
Other Climbing Areas Around the Flatirons
The climbing doesn’t just stop with the three Flatirons. In fact, spanning all the way through South Boulder there are actually more than 10 Flatiron peaks, many hidden in the dense forests and another system behind the three big peaks. Farther south is The Maiden; with it’s fun but run out North Face, featuring a breathtaking free rappel right off the summit.
In Chautauqua Park we also like the Amphitheater, with a number of fun beginner climbs ranging from 5.2 to stout 12b ascents. There are also a number of sport routes behind the Flatirons with grades ranging from 5.10 to 5.14a, and some of the hardest and most challenging routes in the Boulder area.
The Flatirons are great for introductory climbers looking for their first multi pitch ascent. With fun, sloped climbing, easy leading, fun summits, and thrilling rappels off the top. For the aspiring new climber, the Flatirons are the next step up.
Join us for a thrilling Flatiron climb this summer! More information here: