Tuesday, May 21, 2013

Scrambling the Second and First Flatirons

I met my buddy Corey this morning at 6 a.m. at the Gregory Canyon Trailhead. He wanted to repeat our scramble on the Second Flatiron from last year to make sure he was comfortable with it before trying this stuff on his own. I don't think we accomplished that task today...

We hiked and trotted to the base of the Second Flatiron and started scrambling upwards. There is a tricky spot near the bottom where I use two tiny holds, but there are other options left and right. Corey looked at it for awhile and opted to take the left option. We climbed easily upwards from there to the jump move left, to get onto the next slab. Unlike the rain yesterday and forced us to abort, today we had perfect weather.

Another tricky section gave Corey a bit of a pause as well, but he worked it out. Near the top I took the right option to avoid the direct 5.6/7 steep crux that we did last time. I wanted him to know that this steep part could be avoided. The sneak on the right isn't trivial either, though, and the slick nature of the climbing got in Corey's head a bit. I asked how he was doing and he told me he was worried. I carefully downclimbed until I was right above him and braced myself securely. I offered my hand and he grabbed it and finished the slick section to a rest ledge.

After a moment to settle our minds, we moved on, now with me climbing below Corey. We climbed under the big flake and up the final dihedral to the trail. I asked if he wanted more and he did. We descended the trail to the base of the First Flatironette and then scrambled up that. We observed a party of six all climbing of the East Face of the First Flatiron. They seemed to be all roped together and moving at once, though they might have all been belayed by the leader above.

We topped out the Flatironette and moved north and down a bit to climb onto the classic Spy. We scampered up that (5.2) to its summit and then down the backside (small jump) to the ground. Corey's scrambling itch scratched, he opted to hike up to the backside of the First, while I continued up the North Arete of the First (5.4) to the summit and then downclimbed the Southwest Face back to the ground. We trotted down the climber's trail to the Saddlerock Trail and back to the parking lot.

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