Tuesday, June 18, 2013

Fourth Flatiron Scramble

I was feeling super lazy this morning, but I'm trying to rotate between running, cycling and scrambling/climbing each morning, so I headed out from Chautauqua Park. I'm revisiting all of Gerry Roach's 53 Classic routes from his guidebook. The Fourth Flatiron was one I hadn't done in a long time and I headed there, slowly, walking the entire approach. I wore my Boulder X shoes for this outing. These are the right shoes for such a thing, but my high-volume, high-instep shoe isn't as happy in this shoe. But the shoe itself is sturdy and comfy with a nice, sticky sole.

I scrambled up the start and then traversed left, going past the cave and up steep, solid rock. This is Roach's classic route and it is a complicated one, though mostly due to the Fourth Flatiron being three separate pieces of rock. It took me forty minutes to climb it completely and there are a number of heads up scrambling sections for me. On the second piece this is an awesome stemming section up this gully. This would be considerably more challenging if I was much shorter. That or I'd have to be more flexible. But as it stands, this is some really engaging bridging.

The final section had a couple of crux moves that have me contemplating things. I even backed down from the upper one once. From the summit, which doesn't feel much like a summit since there are some rocks immediately west which are directly above, you have to make a leap down to these other rocks. I lowered myself as far as I could and then pushed off for the landing.

The descent from there back to the Royal Arch Trail is unpleasant. It's steep, loose, has some deadfall and there is no trail. I felt clumsy and went slowly. I marveled to myself how fast Anton does these things. He's a master on tricky terrain like this. I used to be better, but probably never very good. Once back down at the trail, I reluctantly trotted slowly back to the car. It was a fun morning despite my lack of pep. The climbing is engaging, just interesting enough to warrant the nasty descent.

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