Free Solo Climber Falls, Dies on Boulder, Colorado’s Flatirons

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The Flatirons numbered. This tragic accident happened on the 5th.
The Flatirons numbered. This tragic accident happened on the 5th.

Two people were hiking the Gregory Canyon trail just outside Boulder, CO on Sunday, September 27th, 2015 when they discovered the body of a man at the base of one of the Flatirons.  It was the Fifth Pinnacle which is a part of the Gregory Flatironette.

Police later identified the body as 22-year-old male Angus Moloney.  It’s believed that Angus fell about 100-feet to his death while climbing with no rope, no harness, no helmet, no climber gear whatsoever.

This sunrise photo of CU Boulder against the backdrop of the Boulder Flatirons was taken in the fall from a hotel balcony in north Boulder. Founded in 1876, the CU Boulder campus spreads across more than 600 acres with many old stone buildings featuring red Spanish tiled rooftops.
Sunrise photo of CU Boulder against the backdrop of the Boulder Flatirons.

The Daily Camera reported that Angus was from Montreal visiting friends in Boulder when he went for this ill-fated climb.  He told his buddies that he was going to the Flatirons to climb around and would be back by evening.  When he didn’t return, a search party was sent out looking for him but the hikers found him first.

“Angus was a skilled climber, but he didn’t have on a helmet. It was an accident. I think young men, especially in their 20s, feel invincible. But they have to know that they need to be safe.” – Angus Moloney’s mother, Jean Palmer-Moloney told the Daily Camera

Free soloing the 1st Flatiron. No ropes, no helmet, no second chances.
Free soloing the 1st Flatiron. No ropes, no helmet, no second chances.

Free-soloing is common on Boulder’s low-angle Flatirons.  Most climb them in regular running shoes.  Yes, the risk is there.  There are many locations on these Flatirons where if you fall, you die.

Many of the Flatiron routes people free solo are rated around 5.4.  5th class climbing means a fall could be deadly and that ropes are recommended.

“Although the climbs on this rock are interesting, it must be noted that the quality of the rock is suspect and due to its exposure and low traffic, the North ridge sports a spectacular crop of green and black lichen.  Definitely not your carefree Flatiron scramble. ” – Mountain Project’s warning to Fifth Pinnacle climbers

The Flatirons at sunrise
The Flatirons at sunrise

We strongly advise that you don’t climb unprotected.  If anything at all goes wrong, you’re in big trouble.  So much can go wrong when climbing in the mountains.  Why not protect yourself with helmet, harness, rope, and awesome partner?

It’s simply not worth your life.

Flatirons in winter.
Flatirons in winter.

 


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