Mark Oveson devised this Top Ten Easy Climbs In A Day (TTECIAD) link-up because he wanted something like Roach's Top Ten which didn't require him to carry a rope. He tried it just once and conditions and fitness conspired to doom that effort, though he still did ten climbs, just not these ten. Mark wrote it up and it appears in Haas' Flatirons guidebook and because of that I suspect it has been done a few times, though I'm not aware of any.
The climbs defined by Mark are:
- Southeast Ridge of Central Shanahan Crag
- Syzygy on the Slab
- East Face South Side on Seal Rock
- Tiptoe Slab on the Front Porch
- Angel's Way
- East Face South Side of the Fifth Flatiron
- Regular East Face of the Third Flatiron
- Winky Woo on the Third Flatiron
- South Sneak on the Second Flatiron
- Fandango to Baker's Way to the North Arete on the First Flatiron
Danny Gilbert was the one that thought of doing this and we're going to do it together. This started out as a recon day, but the night before I figured I might just recon the entire thing, if the weather was good and things went well. When Sheri was excited to meet me a couple of times and bring me snacks and drinks, I was all in.
I started at 6:30 a.m. in the dark but without a headlamp, as it would be light enough soon. I tried to trot a tiny bit up the trail, but I was feeling heavy and slow and pretty much just hiked. I knew where the Shanahan Crags were but I don't often scramble there and I got confused as to which was the Central Shanahan Crag. I called up Mark and sent him my location and he was able to guide me to the correct start. It cost me twenty minutes, but at least I was finally starting up my first climb. It had been about an hour since I left the trailhead.
|Angel's Way is the thin ridge just left of the massive Satan's Slab.|
I climbed up the East Face route to the summit and then downclimbed back to the elbow and off to the north. Then I hiked down the Seal Rock trail to the Mesa Trail and headed north to the Mallory Cave Trail, where I met Sheri. I changed out of my long-sleeved shirt and into the short-sleeved shirt that Sheri brought me. She also brought me a bagel sandwich and a fresh bottle of Gatorade. Soon, I was off to the Front Porch and Tiptoe Slab. I had just done this route many times for the Tour de Flatirons, so it went smoothly and I downclimbed off the back. Next was the worst bushwhack of the day - down into Skunk Canyon. Lots brush, dense trees, deadfall, steep, loose terrain and some large loose rocks. Going fast down this would not only be very difficult, but quite dangerous. I went very slowly.
|Super cool, low-angled lieback crack on Angel's Way.|
I climbed up the South Side of the East Face to the summit and then downclimbed off to the south and back down the climber's trail to the Royal Arch Trail. Here I encountered hoards of people for the first time all day. It was difficult to move at my pace down this trail, but I was happy to go slow for the most part. I was already starting to stiffen up.
When the trail came close to the Bluebell Canyon creek bed I hiked down into it and across it. I had to bushwhack up out of here, but it didn't last that long and led me directly to the base of the East Face of the Third Flatiron. I scrambled up on the right side, making a beeline for the East Bench. Here I met Sheri again and she had a Starbucks Double Shot for me. That was perfect. I also got a fresh bottle and a big cookie.
I zipped up the Third Flatiron's East Face and met some RMR guys at the summit. One of them had helped rescue Matthias and he recognized me from that day. I said thanks for their service and downclimbed the Greenman's Ramp (Danny's way) and it felt a bit insecure and awkward to me. I guess I wasn't "on point" today. I climbed down the Southwest Chimney route and then up the spectacular and super cool Winky Woo, which is pretty much vertical for most of 200 feet but with huge holds and ledges. Then it was back down the Southwest Chimney and I only had two routes to go.
|At the base of South Sneak. The route goes up to that huge roof and skirts it on the left.|
|South Sneak traverse to the left here and gets on that super clean red ramp. A hundred feet up that ramp is a 2-bolt anchor.|
Again I descended the crowded, rocky trail. I met a couple of scramblers coming off the Second Flatiron and we chatted a bit. I said I was doing a link-up and they asked, "The Tour?" They had heard of the Tour de Flatirons from, where else, Anton's Instagram account. They had seen the video from the awards party. Cool.
By now I my knees were shot and I was having some IT band troubles in my left knee. But what hurt the worst was my feet. Even hiking down the trail I was in some discomfort. I descended all the way to the Mesa Trail and then started the long hike back to Cragmoor. I should have been able to run some of this and I sort of did, but my running form would have looked bad on an 80-year-old. This is no joke. It was so pitiful that I was embarrassed to do it within sight of anyone. So I'd only try to scoot along when I was alone. This was okay, though, as it hurt to even scoot. I was only doing it originally because I thought I could break 7.5 hours. When it was clear how delusional that was, I pretty much just hiked. Unless the rock was really smooth and downhill.
I descended the Bear Canyon Trail down to the neighborhood and then went cross-country behind those really nice houses until picking up the trail that I knew would take me back to Cragmoor. I got there 7h46m after I started and I was glad to stop moving. I wasn't that wasted or tired, but my knees and feet were in pain.
It was a super cool link-up that Mark devised and I was happy to complete it, but this was just a training/recon trip. I'll be back to do it again with Danny. Hopefully when my knees and feet are recovered. I think without getting lost on the first climb and some better performance from my knees and thicker shoes, we would have a shot at breaking seven hours. Danny could do it easily, I'm sure. Kyle or Cordis or Anton or Matthias would break six hours, I think.