FKT: Joe Kennedy, Jack Neus - Flatirons Linkups (Boulder, CO) - 2023-05-17

Route variation
33 Spring Classics
Gender category
Start date
Finish date
Total time
13h 16m 59s

Such a fun day! ~13:17, improved on Peter Bakwin's FKT of 16:12. We left the rope at home and also did not stash anything so this may also be the first unsupported Spring 33.

Several months ago Joe brought up a linkup that he'd found online -- the 33 Spring Classics, pioneered by Peter Bakwin! (Roach's 53 classics is better known, but 20 of those are closed half the year for nesting). Peter had figured out a bunch of sneaky ways to link the features together (and set the precedent of down climbing full/partial routes) and then did them all in a day in 16:12. This challenge involves everything I like about the flatirons and I was immediately hooked. We started scouting the routes/Bakwin's connectors and our notes doc quickly grew.

Really neat to put it all together today. Early start to avoid possible weather in the evening and because we thought it would be fun to hang in CHQ afterwards.

Everything in the Chautauqua zone went quite smoothly (we got light on Freeway) though both my knees started hurting after 300 feet and my legs felt dead. Joe nailed the approach to MA and we were surprised to find ourselves at Tangen Spring an hour ahead of FKT pace.

The 4th and 5th were the first low point of the day, it got real hot and we both felt like garbage. My shoes also stopped working for those two hours and I kept blowing feet and eventually fell off the summit block of the 4th into the pine needles below. Link to the Fist descent went ok but then it was back to feeling like crap on the 5th.

Got to Skunk with an additional 16 minutes of margin, took our time putting on fresh socks and filtering water before slumping up to Front Porch. The sun was scorching and we were feeling pretty bad for being only 6k into the day. Dino/Fi/Fo went better (and we managed to do the correct route on Fo for the first time) and we got to Bear Creek with high spirits.

Seal and Slab went well (though we were quite worked). CSC was fine though I botched the South Face and got a bit pumped and then tore open my shorts butt scooting on the East Face downclimb. On the long hump over to Tiny Tower I was pretty tempted to lie down and go to sleep. Joe kept me going. The Fatiron felt incredibly long. We felt some drops and tried to motor up it to get to the Maiden in time -- alas, we were still crawling.

The rain never materialized so we scurried up the Maiden, making use of the baggy of chalk that Joe had packed. It felt harder than it has before. We saw Lynn Hill on the summit trying her new route and she seemed quite perplexed at what two guys in running shoes were doing on the summit, asking how we were getting down and then telling us to "be safe" like 6 times. I think she also didn't really get why anyone would go out of their way to climb 5.6.

Around hour 9 my knees had given up and stopped hurting (800mg of ibu every 6 hours probably also helped) so we were able to open up and run the flats/downs on the Mesa trail (still grinding to a halt whenever we encountered any sort of gain). Regency felt so much worse than I anticipated, mostly we just moaned in anguish. On the descent Joe announced he was bonking and had to eat and I was able to revive him with an RX bar. Tomato went fine thanks to the recent efforts of our friends (though I couldn't figure out how to get off so I just jumped, shrieking in pain when I landed on my tender feet). With no rocks left to climb we ran happily through the water and mud to CHQ for a lovely hang in the grass with some lovely folks (including Zach Paris who brought a pizza!!).

Stoked with how this went even with us both feeling quite bad. No navigation mishaps, the scouting really seemed to help. We did the best we've done wrt nutrition -- lots of salt, variety of food (including INCREDIBLE sandwiches that Joe made), eating on the hour, and filling up at every water source (I probably drank 2 gallons today). I think this kept the wheels from falling off the bus.

Mostly I am so grateful that I'm able to do hard things again (this is the first big hard thing I've done since the first of a series of injuries on 06/18/22!). I'm even more grateful for this space and the people that fill it, especially all the legends who have been gracious enough to share their psych and hard-earned wisdom with Joe and I (Bill Wright, Stefan Griebel, and Danny Gilbert, to name just a few). A few years ago I had no idea that it was possible to have this much fun!!

SE Face, 1st Pinn
S Face, 2nd Pinn
North Arete, 1st
Baker's Way, 1st (downclimb)
DEF, 1st
Chase the Sun
Freeway, 2nd (downclimb)
Dodge Block, 2nd
Morning After
Yodeling Moves, Hammerhead (downclimb)
4th Flatiron
Takin' Care of Business, GMP
N side, 5th
S side, 5th (downclimb)
Stairway to Heaven (downclimb)
Tiptoe Slab, Front Porch
Dinosaur Rock
Fi Fun, Fi
Quadratic Equation, Fo
S side, Seal
Diagonal, Slab
South Face, CSC
S Ridge of E face, CSC
Tiny Tower
El Camino Royale, Regency
Tomato Rock