Second Flatiron - Free For All (5.6)

Second Flatiron - Free For All (5.6)

Page Type Page Type: Route
Location Lat/Lon: 39.98957°N / 105.29372°W
Additional Information Route Type: Technical Rock Climb
Additional Information Time Required: Most of a day
Additional Information Difficulty: 5.6
Sign the Climber's Log


From Chautauqua Park hike up Kinnikinic Road to Bluebell Shelter and find the Royal Arch Trail. Hike south down the Royal Arch Trail for about 3/4 of a mile until you encounter the the Second and Third Flatiron approach trail. Take a right here and follow this trail to a T. Take a right on the Second Flatiron Trail and follow it for a couple hundred feet until you encounter the base of the East Face of the Second Flatiron. Scramble up the gully that runs along the left side of the face until you find a likely starting spot.

Route Description

I didn't take any photos during the climb but I did shoot a short movie.

P1-P3: Find easy, slabby climbing up along the north side of the tree filled gully. This is 5.easy and you may not even want to rope up for it.

P4: After three pitches you should have a reasonable view of the Pullman Car and the terrain below it. Angle over directly below the Pullman Car where you will find a chimney-like crack. Set up your belay for P5 below this chimney. Depending on where you are coming from this pitch has some more difficult moves in it probably approaching 5.4. I protected this pitch entirely by slinging horns.

P5: Climb up through the chimney to more challenging face climbing. Head directly upward to the base of the Pullman Car and the East Overhang 5.10d Crack. This is the first crux of the day (the face climbing, not the crack) and is definitely 5.6. Protection is a little sparse on this pitch so take every opportunity you get. When you reach the 5.10d crack begin traversing to your left around the south side of the Pullman Car. When you get to the gully between the Pullman Car and the South Face find a platform in the gully with a little tree growing out of it. Climb down off the south side of the Pullman Car into the gully at this point and set up the belay. If you continue up the south side of the Pullman Car you will run out of rope and find it difficult to descend down into the gully. (Technically this is the end of "Free For All" and you can scramble to the top of the gully and make a class-4 downclimb to the west base of the Second Flatiron. However, if you've come this far you might as well climb to the summit of the Pullman Car via the following two pitches of "South Side" 5.6.)

P6: Climb back onto the south side of the Pullman Car and traverse your way upward looking for a weakness in the south side so that you can climb up and over the edge onto the face of the Pullman Car. This might be perhaps a hundred feet above the belay. Attaining the East Face of the Pullman Car is the second and last crux of the day - a series of spicey 5.6 moves. Once on the face of the Pullman Car, set up a belay and bring up your second.

P7: Follow the south edge of the Pullman Car face to the summit. This is a short, 5.easy pitch.

Descent: Rossiter describes a class-4 downclimb, but others on have said that it is at least class-5 and rather tricky. Based on this beta, we brought some webbing and a rappel ring to rig a rappel station. When we got to the summit we found one already in place so we backed it up with our gear and then rappelled off the south side of the Pullman Car. This is a fairly short rap down to the gully between the Pullman Car and the South Face. From there it's a class-4 downclimb to the west to a boulder field. Scramble north up the boulder field to gain the trail that descends down between the First and Second Flatirons.

Essential Gear

Bring a standard Flatirons rack. I used everything from little nuts through a #4 Camalot. I also slung several trees and horns so extra slings are useful too. I used a 60 meter rope. If you use shorter rope you may have to divide P5 into two pitches.