Rock Climbing – Seal Rock East Face (5.4), Boulder, CO

Flatirons in Spring

Great Day on Seal Rock!
Seal Rock is Fun!

Relieved to Be Touching Down
The Sea of Joy Rappel is a thrill!

On a fine spring day, Jane and I decide to have an adventure and climb Seal Rock. The East Face is a classic climb and goes at 5.4. It has a 45 minute approach hike, which is sure to warm up the circulation as there is ~800 ft of gain from the parking lot. The climb is typical flatiron sandstone with some sections of run out. Bring lots of slings (I had 17 shoulder sized slings and 2 double lengths) to reduce rope drag. Also, I suggest doubles of #1 and #2 sized BD cams, for anchors. I brought a #3 and a #4, but I’d say the #4 is optional.

Start Hiking: 6:50am
Start Climbing: 7:50am
Finish Climbing: 12:20pm
Done with Rappel: 1:20pm
Finish Hiking: 2:50pm

Ready for the Seal and Sipping Wake Up Juice

Start of Seal Rock, East Face, North Side
Start of the East Face of Seal Rock (5.4)

Anchor at End of First Pitch
Anchor for End of Pitch 1 (I went the full 60 meters!) The anchor was a #2 and #3 BD camelot behind the left side of a flake and a 0.75 on the right side of the flake (just in case the left side broke).

Looking Down at the First Pitch
Looking down at the first pitch.

Gear Used for First Pitch
The Gear I used for Pitch 1 (Jane’s left side after she cleaned).

Gear Used for Pitch 1
This is the right side of Jane after she cleaned the first pitch.

You can see a lot of slings, that’s because the route wanders a bit, so I had to often double the slings. I despise rope drag!

Ready for the 2nd 60 Meters on Seal Rock
Here I am ready to lead the 2nd pitch!

On my way to ending pitch 2, I was about 50 feet shy of a huge party ledge. I asked Jane if she wanted to simul-climb and lucky for me, she was game!

View from Party Ledge
The view from the party ledge!

Bomber Party Ledge Anchor
Anchor on the party ledge. A #3 and a #4 both seated wonderfully in a huge crack; could drop a truck on this thing and it would hold!

After that pitch, there is a really fun crack pitch. It’s normally the 4th pitch, but because we simul-climbed, it’s our 3rd. This crack pitch is the best part of the whole climb, so I was psyched to fire on up it.

Jane Climbing Seal Rock
Here’s Jane finishing the 4th pitch.

Jane on the Summit of Seal Rock
Jane topping out on Seal Rock! The last time I climbed it, I went the last 20 feet to the true summit, so I didn’t feel a need to go up there.

At the end of the 4th pitch (where I was sitting when I took the above picture of Jane), there are chains for the Sea of Joy anchor. From here, it is a full 60 meter free hanging rappel to the ground. Many parties have gotten their ropes stuck in trees, when pulling/throwing them, so it’s very important to be careful on the rope pull/throw.

Jane at the Top of Sea of Joy Rappel
Jane rappelling from the Sea of Joy anchor, on Seal Rock.

Seal Rock - Success!
Touchdown! After rappelling and successfully pulling the ropes, we hiked back to the base of the formation to grab our packs and hiking shoes.

Hiking Back Down from the Rappel
Here’s Jane hiking down (with the Seal Rock formation to her right, facing downhill).

Returning to the Car
Hiking back to the main trail, after we’ve got our packs!

Seal Rock Peek-A-Boo!
It started raining when we were about 10 minutes from the car…so I took this last parting shot of Seal Rock.

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