Freedom at Midnight

Route Name: Freedom at Midnight
Rock Formation: The Matron
Number of bolts to be placed: approximately 41 bolts

P1: 12 lead bolts, 2 anchor bolts
P2: 12 lead bolts, 2 anchor bolts
P3: 11 lead bolts, 2 anchor bolts

Proposed Grade: Estimated 5.12+ or 5.13-

Route Description:

The proposed route tackles the massive and untouched headwall at the West end of the South face of The Matron.

The first pitch is essentially an approach pitch that climbs to the right of the existing Direct Start South Face. This pitch starts off easy but gets a bit steep and pumpy at the top. The pitch will be 5.10+ or 511- over ~30m of climbing, ending at a large ledge. In addition to accessing the proposed route, this pitch will provide a cleaner and better protected alternative to the aforementioned Direct Start as an entry point to the classic South Face route.

Now the business… a 60m+ headwall that is slightly overhanging throughout and capped off with an overhanging roof finish. This section starts by climbing a corner into an arch feature, and then continues up a long face that has nice edges and surprisingly good rock. The final moves climb through a short overhanging feature. The headwall can be climbed in one or two pitches and will clock in at 5.12+ or 5.13-.

Proposed route in orange

A description of existing routes on the same face of the rock formation, including the number of routes, route names, route grade, type [traditional or bolted], and approximate distance between routes (a photocopy or diagram of the existing route(s) is also required);

There are numerous routes on the Matron.  However, the only routes on this sector are the South Face, which is a 5.6 mixed trad and bolted route (#264 in the Jason Haas Flatirons Guide), and the Direct Start South Face, which is a 5.11a trad route (#265 in the same book). 

The Direct Start South Face is 10-20 feet to the left of the first pitch of the proposed route.  The South Face crosses the proposed route at the broad ledge.

A description of the approach (include approximate distance from the designated trail system, existing “social” or undesignated trails leading to the climb and condition of the trail, and state whether there is a durable surface, such as rock.  Include photographs of the approach.);

The route is approached from the South end of the Mesa Trail.  A well established trail system leads to the final short section that follows the climber’s trail to the base of the Matron.

If different from the approach, a description of the descent, (include approximate distance from the designated trail system, existing “social” or undesignated trails, a description of the trail condition and whether there is a durable surface, such as rock.  Include photographs of the descent.);

The descent will be via lowering off the route.

A description of the area at the base of the climb (include existing levels of soil compaction, existence of a durable surface such as rock, and existing soil erosion.  Include photographs of the area at the base of the climb.);

The staging area at the base of the climb is mostly rock, with some grasses.

Has all reconnaissance work that can be reasonably done, short of placing any hardware, been done?

Yes.  The route has been thoroughly inspected, and several options have been explored to find the best line.

Has the route been top roped?  Is there loose rock?  Is it extremely overhanging?

The first pitch has been top-roped in its entirety.  The second pitch has been thoroughly inspected on jumar, including inspection of all holds.  However, the route is much too long and exposed to top-rope.

The rock is of high quality and does not general require cleaning of flakey or loose rock, with the exception of one potentially loose rock in the middle of the headwall pitch that does require further inspection.

Any additional notes

It’s unbelievable that a feature of this size and significance has not been climbed… so excited!

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