Sunday, July 19, 2009

First Flatiron, East Face North Side

We got to Chautauqua at 8am -- an early start considering yesterday's trek. By 9am we were climbing up the East Face North Side route of the First Flatiron. This was the very first Flatiron route we ever climbed, almost exactly two years ago. This time we started in the right place. Maybe.

The Gerry Roach book describes the climb in 5 pitches. We did it in 4, each one almost a full rope-length. After the first pitch we realized we were on the wrong side of the giant gully described in the book. To correct this we traversed across to the north side of the gully on the second pitch. The climb was supposed to go "straight up" to a walk-off.

Believe it or not, we went straight up for two more pitches and actually finished right at the walk-off! Usually on these big Flatiron climbs we end up 50-100 feet off to the side of where we're supposed to be.

Our plan was to continue on to the summit (another 6 pitches) but the weather looked iffy. We waffled for a bit then finally decided to head back down. Naturally, once we were halfway to our packs the weather had improved. Time to climb the Spy again.

I led the climb in three pitches today, since doing it in two pitches is really a stretch. You know the expression "Every cloud has a silver lining"? Well, the silver lining for today's clouds was made of aluminum and shaped like a Tricam. Along the way I spent a few minutes retrieving my pink tricam! It sure has seen better days. Some animal has been chewing on it since October. I think I can replace the sling. Look at how happy we are to have our pink tricam back:

On the hike down the access trail we saw the deer that hangs out around the First Flatironette and also saw a glossy snake. Based on its demeanor, the deer is almost certainly the same one we saw when we climbed with Sean, and possibly the same one we saw two years ago.

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