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Team Lusky and the 1st Flatiron

On June 7th Randy and Will Lusky met me at Chautauqua park to climbed the stunning and impressive 1st Flatiron. This was a pretty big undertaking; Will (who is only 8 years old) was climbing for the second time on real rock, the climbing difficulty is pretty challenging for a beginner, we had 1000′ of climbing to the summit, and we’re in the Rocky Mountains (home of the afternoon thunderstorms).

Our day started of with few clouds and cool temperatures…great for rock climbing! The notorious first pitch has kept some people from climbing the classic East Face Direct route as the pitch is rated 5.6 (the crux) and you can expect 35′ run-outs (no gear), luckily this only matters for the leader. So before diving in, we started by practicing slab climbing techniques at the base of the route. This was Will’s first time experiencing true slabulation…getting ready for 1000′ of it, so it was imperative he understood the fundamentals of climbing a 50 degree rock face. It requires a complete mental shift from climbing in the gym. Instead of keeping your body close to the wall you’re trying to push it away, in order to get weight on your feet. After we practiced for 10 minutes, we sent the first pitch. Both Randy and Will climbed on separate ropes and were belayed at the same time. This technique worked great as Randy was able to coach and help Will in any hard spots encountered. After 2 pitches of climbing, Will became a true slab monkey and the following 4 pitches seemed effortless. We arrived at a nice ledge were Randy and Will took a quick lunch, as I continued climbing up the next 4th class pitch. At which point, our clocks started ticking a little louder. Small rain drops started pelting our helmets and it was time to get up and off this formation as quickly as possible. We had only two short pitches left to the summit, and boom, the flood gates were opened. Will and Randy followed that pitch in a full blown hail storm. Suddenly our summit had just arrived, with rumbling thunder in the distance and wet rock, we opted to do the only sensible thing, retreat! We finished with a round of high fives and quickly rappelled the 100′ down the backside. Once we were off, we had a great laugh and reflected on the fun adventure while we walked back to the base.
It was a super fun day and cool experience for all. Here’s to team Lusky and future adventures!
Starting the 45 minute approach to the base of the route

Will firing the first pitch

Will got so intrigued with the climbing equipment, he became in charge of removing the gear.

The airy ridge traverse just before the hail storm

Will before the climb….finding his inner being……..note this is before the crux pitch and being blasted by hail.
Will after the climb………… problem dude!

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