August 13, 2006
Today Ashley and I climbed up the 3rd Flatiron. For those who don't know, the Flatirons are the rocks that jut up right from Boulder, marking the end of the rocky mountains and the beginning of the wrist-slitting flat lands that extend to the Appalachians. Anyway, there are many of these rocks all jutting into the air at the same angle. The largest one, which happens to be the one that looks most like an iron, is the known as the Third Flatiron. The standard route up it is 6-7 pitches of easy climbing. Most of the pitches have been rated 5.0, the most difficult pitch a 5.4. Despite the technical ease of this climb, the excitement came in the fact that I've never really trad climbed before (trad - short for "traditional climbing", meaning that you won't find bolts drilled into the rock every 10 feet as in Sport Climbing). There were, however, large bolts every 120 feet to be used as belay stations. I brought with me my brand new set of nuts (metal wedges that function as protection by placing them in constricting cracks) to protect the route between the belay stations. The flatirons don't have a whole lot of constricting cracks, so I had a great time searching around for some place to put my nuts. Ashley, who has also never really trad climbed, got to clean my nuts on the way up when she followed me. We were stuck behind some slow groups, so this adventure took the better part of the day. The descent from the top of the 3rd Flatiron involved 2 rappells, followed by some downclimbing through poison ivy that was sketchier than anything we climbed on the way up.