| A Day with the Devil - Flatirons
August 10, 2013
***This is report 2 out of 3 on my Colorado's "Devil's Thumb" series...
Approach: Start and the South Mesa Trail and follow signs up into Shadow Canyon. As you work up the backside of the southern ridge of Bear Peak, keep an eye bent upward toward the formations above you and to the right. Stay on the trail until the Devil's Thumb looms above you and then leave the tail. Work up into a large boulder field and prance up the talus to a notch on the right side of Devil's Thumb between it and the Pyramid. All of these formations can be accessed from here.
Route on the Pyramid:
From the notch, scramble over to the north face of the Pyramid. Find the NE corner and ascend a narrow ramp to the east and then scramble back south to the summit. 5.4. To descend, down-climb the route.
Route on Devil's Thumb:
P0 - 4th class - From the notch, scramble north until you are directly below Devil's Thumb. Scramble up to the east as high as possible while staying on easy terrain. Set up a belay at an obvious vertical step near the southern edge of the face.
P1 - 5.7+++ - Work up toward the imposing overhang above passing a large wide crack below your feet. The thin face above is overcome with some small chipped holds that deposit you immediately below the overhang. Somehow levitate up the overhanging, flaring crack to gain the easy slabs above. Note the metal pipe sticking out of the rock and then romp up easier terrain to the summit. Belay from chains. To descend, from the chains, make a 60M rappel to a stance below the overhang. You will not reach hiking terrain! Carefully scramble back to the ground.
Route on the Devil's Horns:
These are the two small formations to the north of Devil's Thumb and the higher summit is the northern one. Scramble to the north of Devil's Thumb and follow the easiest path to the north until you reach a small alcove to the south of the northern summit. Work up the southern face and up the final bit on the east slabs. 5.2. To descend, down-climb the route.
Gear: This can be done with a single set of cams from 0.4-4 and a set of nuts.
Thoughts: All of these summits are the epitome of Flatiron adventure climbing. This terrain does not see many climbers, and has a very wild feel to it. To be expected, this also leads to some exfoliating rock and a very healthy crop of lichen. The Pyramid is a unique summit and has a commanding view of the Maiden and the unique summit arch on the Flying Flatiron. Devil's Thumb is also known as Toponas and is truly the greatest sandbag in the Flatirons. The "5.7" overhang is quite short, but the moves are closer to 5.10 than they are to 5.7. Other than the crux 15 feet, the forgettable climbing deposits you on another fabulous summit. Finally, the Devil's Horns are unique features that sit nestles between Devil's Thumb and the Devil's Wings. Many unique alcoves and tunnels are passed en route and offer some interesting scrambling and exploring. If you are looking to be all alone in your adventures, look no further.
More photos can be found here...
And he played fire on the mountain, run boys, run.
The devil's in the house of the risin' sun.
Chicken in the bread pan, now they're pickin' out dough.
"Granny, will your dog bite?"
"No, child, no."
- Charlie Daniels