Yesterday Jake and I climbed a rock fin/pillar in the flatirons known as The Maiden. Jake, Emily, and I began hiking from our front door. A couple hours later, we were standing at the base of the Maiden. Emily waited for us at the bottom while I led Jake on his first trad climb. The route we chose was a 5 pitch climb that involved a lot of traversing and descending as well as the usual upward climbing. At a rating of 5.7, it was the most difficult trad climb I have completed to date. The route was fantastic, but perhaps the greatest part of the climb was the the rappel from the top, which the guide book referred to as the most famous free rappel in all of Colorado. Dropping over the huge, overhanging face, there was a point during the 120' rappel where we were at least 40 feet from any rock. After a second rappel, we were back on the ground with Emily and ready to hike back to the house. The following pictures say it all.
The Maiden is the narrow edge of rock between the two slabs in the upper left portion of the picture.
This view at the top of the first pitch was one of the best of the whole climb.
Pitch 2 was a long downclimb that led to the Crow's Nest, at the base of the summit pillar.
The third and fourth pitches traversed the exposed north side of the pillar in order to reach easier ground on the east side.
The rope is plumb, the rock is not.