On a beautiful January Saturday Fabio, Peter, their friend Kristin, and I climbed the Fifth Flatiron. We chose the East Face Left Route rated 5.5. I climbed with Peter who is relatively new to trad climbing so I got to lead all the pitches. Fabio and Kristin followed us, swapping leads.
Protection was a bit sparse on the first pitch but the climbing was easy. I ran out the first pitch to the full 60 meters of rope to reach a spacious belay ledge in a giant crack/chimney.
The second pitch started out with a series of tricky moves out of the crack/chimney and up and over a headwall. This was followed by a run-out slab up to another small headwall. I wasn't sure I had enough rope to make it to another adequate belay ledge above the small headwall so I ended the second pitch below it.
The third pitch again involved a short series of tricky moves over the headwall and then easy scrambling up to the North Buttress. The summit was in view and not too far away, but I wasn't sure I could make it all the way there with our 60 meter rope. Instead I opted to set up the belay on a spacious ledge just below the North Buttress. I think Fabio and Kristin probably could have made it all the way to the summit on the third pitch with their 70 meter rope.
The fourth pitch was a short run up the North Buttress to the summit. The buttress was really cool - the east face met the west face at a perfect corner that dropped shear and straight down to the west. There was almost no protection on the last pitch but the climbing was easy.
We made the single rope rappel off the summit to the west and then hiked back to the car. On the way we had to stop at Royal Arch to summit it as well. We couldn't have asked for better weather on this perfect January day.
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