THE YELLOW DOOR ( 5.13A/ B), SEAL ROCK
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!