The immense Flatirons rise over Boulder like unmistakable landmarks signaling the presence of the Rockies. Protected as the centerpiece of Boulder’s Open Space Mountain Park, the Flatirons include dozens of major rock formations and hundreds of climbs of all types, with the steep ravines and wooded slopes of Green Mountain and Bear Peak forming a veritable wilderness abutting the city. These majestic formations serve as the backdrop and unofficial symbol of the city.
With climbing holds spread out over 20 miles (yes, miles) of climbing routes below 5.8, the Flatirons are comprised of sandstone with excellent flakes and face holds. The climbing in this area tends to be moderate, yet despite the grades, most routes can be serious outings due to challenging route finding and run-outs.
Varying between obscure boulders and slabs, scattered with technical summits, the Flatirons are considered some of America’s most iconic and classic climbs and are deeply woven into the history of rock climbing. From afar they look intimidating and smooth. But upon closer look, abundant climbing features suddenly emerge. World-class climbing abounds for both beginner and expert trad and sport climbers.
Some of the longest traditional (trad) climbing routes can be found on the First and Third Flatirons, with some shorter sport climbing mixed in. The Southern Flatirons region holds some of the best climbing in the Flatirons and tends to be less crowded.
Experience a memorable ascent of the highly sought-after First Flatiron, Third Flatiron, or Seal Rock – with its dizzying 180-foot rappel descent. Summiting the Flatirons provides a unique perspective. Below you and to the east lies the town of Boulder. To the west, the high peaks of the Rockies form the Continental Divide. You feel perfectly situated between civilization and wilderness. Right there, perhaps you are.
First Flatiron, Direct East Face: An incredible route, following flakes, corners, pronounced edges and excellent friction for 1,000 feet at a modest difficulty of 5.6. The crux of the ten-pitch route comes right off the ground, then easier climbing leads to a spectacular final ridge and an airy summit.
Third Flatiron, Standard East Face: Climbing pioneer, and Patagonia owner, Yvon Chouinard, called this route the “finest beginner’s climb in the country.” One of the most classic routes in all of the front range, this seven pitch route climbs up the center of the Third Flatiron face. Rated at 5.4 this route is an amazing climb regardless of your climbing ability.
The Maiden, East Ridge: Rated 5.10c, 5 pitches: From the beautiful first pitch crack climb, to the third pitch boulder problem, to the final pitch low angle slab, this route throws a little bit of everything at you. Top that all off with a mind blowing rappel off the summit, and this climb is one you shouldn’t miss.
NOTE: several Flatiron formations, including the Third Flatiron, are subject to seasonal wildlife closures, usually from February through July.
Colorado Mountain School
633 S. Broadway St.
Boulder, CO 80305
All of our courses can be run as private outings. If you’re interested in a course, but it doesn’t fit into your schedule, please check out our private guiding options.
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