Published: June 1, 2018


Boulder’s Third Flatiron is notorious for drawing climbers with wild ambitions. Since the 1950s people have summited in all kinds of gear, including roller skates. At least one man climbed naked.

In January, CU Boulder senior Rilyn VandeMerwe (EnvDes’18) put his own stamp on the tradition: He made the climb in a wet suit, snorkel, goggles, prop oxygen tank and flippers. He and two friends reached the summit in less than two hours.

“I am constantly trying to find new ways to explore and have fun in Chautauqua,” he said.

In addition to the scuba ascent, VandeMerwe established what he calls the “Flatiron Triple Crown” — climbing the first, second and third Flatirons while carrying along a hobby horse.

His next goal? Climbing all 54 Colorado fourteeners by the time he graduates in the fall. He’s got 14 to go.

Photo courtesy Luke Brigham