Route: Flatirons Linkups (Boulder, CO)

Colorado, US
15 mi
Vertical Gain
7,600 ft

Boulder's Flatirons on the east face of Green Mt are an iconic location of moderate climbing and are the site of many speed records. Specifically, much attention is paid to the great east faces of the First and Third Flatirons, but many other records also exist on the other three Flatirons, for various link-ups, and on other similar formations that are non-numbered flatirons. Bill Wright's website is a treasure trove of history in speed-based efforts in this arena, but this post is an effort to present this information with cleaner organization and in a more public location where on-going efforts can be easily documented and updated.

All speed records for the numbered Flatirons are car-to-car. The traditional start/finish is the trash can on the trail a few yards west of the Ranger Cottage in Boulder's Chautauqua Park. As with any FKTs, there are variations in style, i.e. degrees of support. In these running/climbing FKTs, "unsupported" refers to a ropeless ascent and descent of the rock--no rappelling. For virtually any speed record on the Flatirons, it goes without saying that they were "solo" affairs, i.e. no gear was used to protect a fall during the climbing portion of the effort.

There are dozens (maybe hundreds) of rocks in the Flatirons, and the possibilities for link-ups are virtually infinite.  Here we report FKTs for some of the more common link-ups, and some that are not commonly done but make sense.

Using the numbered Flatirons, the usual link-ups are the First & Third Flatirons, the Trifecta (First, Second & Third), the Quinfecta (First, Second, Third, Fourth and Fifth Flatirons), and Anton Krupicka's remarkable Double Quinfecta.

Roach's Top 10 is another classic:  In Gerry Roach's defining tome, Flatiron Classics, he picks ten climbs as the most classic in the Flatirons. This link-up climbs them all in a single push from Chautauqua to the South Mesa Trailhead. The 10 climbs are:
1) First Flatiron, East Face Direct (5.6)
2) Third Flatiron, East Face (5.2)
3) Third Flatiron, Friday's Folly (5.7)
4) Green Mt. Pinnacle, West Chimney (5.5)
5) Skunk Canyon, Stairway To Heaven (5.3) (typically downclimbed)
6) Back Porch, East Face (5.6)
7) Pellaea, East Face (5.5)
8) Fatiron, East Face (5.4)
9) The Maiden, North Face (5.6)
10) The Matron, North Face (5.6)

For endurance scrambling specialists (if there is such a thing), Roach's book lists 53 Classics, which were first done in a long weekend by Bill Wright.  Of these 53 climbs, 20 are closed Feb. 1 - July 31 for nesting raptors, so the remaining 33 Classics make up the "Spring Flatirons Classics" (SFC), first done in a single day by Peter Bakwin.  The 53 have been done with a vertical gain of 21,300' and the 33 with 13,300'.

Note that in any of these link-ups climbing up or down any route is allowed.  And these are "Open Courses", meaning you can do the routes in any sequence, so distance and vert will vary.  All are TH-to-TH routes, starting and finishing at any TH.  While point-to-points can be quicker, some people prefer the aesthetic of starting and finishing at the same TH.  Basically, all of these link-ups except the (multi-day) 53 Classics have usually started and finished at Chautauqua.

(Included .gpx file is a placeholder; not representational of any one route)

GPS Track