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Free Soloing My First Crag

This weekend we picked a hike in Boulder because it was a short drive to our lunch plans in Erie. Having lunch plans meant we couldn't do anything too long, so we picked Royal Arch since that's still a tough hike with over 1,500 feet in elevation gain but it's packed in a short hike that's less than 4 miles long. The hike was something we knew we could do in under 3 hours, so we got to the trailhead 3 hours before we needed to leave for lunch and got hiking.

Like all the other hikes we've done recently, the spring rain has made the area ripe with green grass and lots of wildflowers. Since we were hiking considerably lower in elevation than our previous hikes, most of the wildflowers were wilted and dying, but we managed to find several that were still in peak bloom. We're ready to start getting up higher where it's not as hot now that the wildflowers are blooming up high.

We got to the summit in a little over an hour which gave us about 30 minutes to relax before heading back down. Since it was a nice Sunday morning, the summit was packed with people, but that didn't stop us from getting a good spot to rest. I decided to wander around a little and give Katie some anxiety by climbing up high. I did two sketchy climbs, the first one up to the Westernmost tip in that area behind Royal Arch, and the second climb was up the East face of Royal Arch itself which I summited to the top of the arch. I didn't have any climbing equipment with me and had my camera shoved into my pocket so I could use both hands. While I was climbing, Katie looked it up and found out what I was doing is a class 5 climbing route. It's at the low end of the class 5 scale coming in at a 5.0, but it's still class 5 and is the first outdoor climb that I've done outdoors that's more than just a scramble without any rope protection.

Climbing classes are as follows:
   Class 1: Hiking
   Class 2: Scrambling using hands
   Class 3: Scrambling, fall could result in a broken bone
   Class 4: Simple Climbing, fall could be fatal
   Class 5: Technical climbing

Since this ranked a 5.0 climbing I should have had a rope and protection like a helmet. But it gave Katie (and may other people at the summit) some much-needed anxiety that was only worth it because I didn't die.

Trailhead Location
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3.8 mi 2.6 hrs 6,905 ft 1,545 ft
View Graph
The Flatirons
Mariposa Lily
Royal Arch
85 Photo Panorama
Off the Edge
From On Top
What I Climbed
Wild Flowers
Sweet Pea Wildflower
Blue Flax