Climbing - - FROZEN IN TIME -

Climbers: Phil Gru­ber and Lynn Hill

First as­cent: Phil Gru­ber; 2017

The north face of Seal Rock is spe­cial—perched high on the south­ern flanks of Bear Canyon, it’s the last piece of Flatirons rock to catch the set­ting sun. From town, the 300-foot wall lights up with yel­low, black, and red hues, fad­ing as the sun drops be­hind the Rock­ies. For a long time, there were only two routes here: the three-pitch

Ar­chaeopteryx (5.11d X), known for its long runouts, lichen, and shaky pro, and its neigh­bor, Sea of Joy (5.13a), an all-bolt coun­ter­point with a tech-nine third pitch. In 2017, the Boul­der hard­man Phil Gru­ber equipped and freed a line that fol­lows the right-lean­ing tilt of the wall: his bril­liant, two-pitch

The Yel­low Door (5.12b, 5.13a/b). On the sus­tained sec­ond pitch, you cross Sea of Joy (you can link into its crux at 5.13b) and fin­ish on

Ar­chaeopteryx. Or you can do the first two pitches of Sea of Joy, then half­way up the third pitch cut right onto The Yel­low Door for a three­p­itch 5.12, Sea Bird. Con­fused? Guess you’ll just have to hike up there and see for your­self!

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