The Flatirons are synonymous with Boulder and the history of rock climbing in North America. It would be hard to find another location in the country where such an extensive variety, from scrambling to hard "Head Point" routes exist so close to a major metro area. They form the backdrop to Boulder and are the centerpiece of Boulder's Open Space system.
There are three main areas:
This area includes classic rocks such as the First, Second, and Third Flatirons, along with the Amphitheatre in Gregory Canyon. Climbs here range from short newer-age sport climbs to long trad routes, including some of the longer trad routes in the area, the whole face of the 3rd Flatiron, which is about 1300 feet and the Direct East Face of the 1st which is about 1400 feet. Hard conglomerate Fountain Formation sandstone is the medium for your rock craft.
There are many rocks to explore in this area. The "Central" zone spans Bear Canyon to the Ironing Boards (just South of the 3rd Flatiron). Slabmongers can have many field days exploring the numerous smaller Flatirons, and there's a good amount of trad and even sport among these rocks. Have fun in this scenic setting.
This section of the Flatirons holds some of the best climbing in the Flatirons, but it seems to be less crowded. Great rocks such as the Maiden, Matron, Devil's Thumb, East Ridge, Nebel Horn, Seal Rock, and The Goose offer slabs for beginner trad leaders and also more challenging trad lines. Excellent sport routes also can be found, some several pitches in length. The longest climb in the area is here. There is plenty to explore here.
(Note: Various of the Flatirons are closed for falcon nesting from Feb. 1 up to July 31 and for bat nesting Apr. 1 to Aug. 31. Historically, some of these have included The Matron, Towers of the Moon, Jam Crack Spire, Devil's Thumb, Nebel Horn, Jaws, The Fin, Sphinx, Medusa, Fern Canyon, The Goose, The Goose Eggs, Bear Creek Spire, Harmon Cave (bats), East Face of The Hand (bats), East Face of The Finger Flatiron (bats), East Face of Der Zerkle (bats), Dreadnaught, Achean Pronoucement, Skunk Canyon Ridge 2 & west, Sacred Cliffs, East & West Ironing Boards, The Third Flatiron, Queen Anne's Head, occasionally Gregory Amphitheatre, and possibly others.)
(Source: Mountain Project)
Look west of Boulder, if you can't see them you shouldn't go climbing...seriously. There are numerous trails and parking spots can be scarce depending on which crag you are visiting. Get there early, and plan to be off by 1-2pm (summer) or you could be trapped in a afternoon storm (lightning). Another word of warning; the first time climbing in the Flatirons can be a confusing experience, with lots of trails, crags and rocks that look very similar so allow plenty of time for exploring and pick a major feature to climb. Park at Chautauqua Park, or at NCAR (both free).
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