East Buttress of Lower Cathedral: Draw the line

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Alexey

Trad climber
San Jose, CA
Topic Author's Original Post - Feb 23, 2010 - 05:40pm PT
This Sunday while was raining I walked up the base of EB of Lower Cathedral to check the route. Here is photo of the East Buttress posted by Clint about year ago on forum. Can someone who climb the route draw the line on the photo? My main interest is upper part of the route where is not clear from the Reid book where is route going : on arete/ left of arete/ or right of arete (unvisible on photo)?


Clint Cummings photo
Clint Cummings photo
Credit: Alexey
Peter Haan

Trad climber
San Francisco, CA
Feb 23, 2010 - 07:45pm PT
Alexey, here is what I remember doing. It was in 1971, one of the very early free ascents. Regardless of exact detail in the upper section, you are NOT on the right side of the arete, but out on the slightly junky slabby face with lots of trees and ledges and breaks. The upper section is actually fun and kind of odd, never difficult. If you are up there and are contemplating where to go next, just keep it as easy as possible.

The crux pitch is actually very interesting with a flare that gets worse and worse while the crack in the back gets pinched down as well.It is easy to get "tunnel vision" on that lead, so keep your eyes open. The main wall is not too terribly steep there but the flake dihedral is leaning left somewhat.

Credit: Peter Haan
Karl Baba

Trad climber
Yosemite, Ca
Feb 23, 2010 - 08:09pm PT
There's no drawing much of a line that's much help. Your first (and probably subsequent) times on the route, you'll have doubts on the upper section if you are starting up the right crack or not, and there may be several ways to the same places. It's nebulous no matter what

Tripped me out when I did the route. I'd start up some chossy looking crack which would have some magic jugs and unseen security to it and it would all work out but doubting the line the whole time on the upper section

Peace

Karl
Alexey

Trad climber
San Jose, CA
Topic Author's Reply - Feb 23, 2010 - 08:52pm PT
Thanks Peter and Karl for your reply. I think that this would be good choice for early summer , not crowded, good quality interesting route mostly in the shade all day
le_bruce

climber
Oakland: what's not to love?
Feb 23, 2010 - 08:57pm PT
I've wanted to do this for years.

Write up a TR Alexey!
PP

Trad climber
SF,CA
Feb 23, 2010 - 09:07pm PT
I did that climb with Tucker when I was in my second week of climbing. Waiting for tucker to finish that crux pitch freaked me out . I remember standing on a small tree with only air under it and I think Tucker may have aided some of the crux. We only had one rope and had to go down gunsight gulley in the dark with no lights.
Nanook

climber
Feb 23, 2010 - 09:08pm PT
That line looks quite a bit right of the route to me, but it's been a while.
Peter Haan

Trad climber
San Francisco, CA
Feb 23, 2010 - 09:16pm PT
Nanook, you might be right.
Walleye

climber
The Hot Kiss on the end of a Wet Fist
Feb 23, 2010 - 09:23pm PT
I thought that crux pitch was burly. That's probably why I lobbed out of it.
Zander

Trad climber
Berkeley
Feb 23, 2010 - 11:21pm PT
Yeah, I want to do this climb too. The crux is reputed to be the real deal. A friend took a good ride there. Maybe similar to Walleye's? Still, its enticing.
Zander
Clint Cummins

Trad climber
SF Bay area, CA
Feb 24, 2010 - 05:59am PT
Peter's line is about right, except at the very bottom, where it's in the big left facing corner (right of the red line).

Here's a more detailed version of the upper face, if you want to look a little closer.
Lower Cathedral Rock - East Buttress - upper face
Lower Cathedral Rock - East Buttress - upper face
Credit: Clint Cummins

And here's a good view of the middle crux area.
Lower Cathedral Rock - East Buttress - middle crux area
Lower Cathedral Rock - East Buttress - middle crux area
Credit: Clint Cummins

Lower Cathedral Rock - East Buttress - Fissure Beck <br/>
Note white sling...
Lower Cathedral Rock - East Buttress - Fissure Beck
Note white sling on old fixed pin on the Fissure Beck
Credit: Clint Cummins
Impaler

Trad climber
Munich
Feb 24, 2010 - 07:59am PT
I just did this one in September. In my opinion it's pretty useless to try to follow a drawn line, but a verbal description might help better. I used the Reid guide topo, so you can follow my description based on that topo easily.

1st pitch was by far the headiest with no gear in the middle of it. It's easy to find the beginning - it's a BIG left-facing corner that screams burly and awkward. When I got to it I just thought to myself "I really hope that this is not the route". However, it really was the route - not much else around there that looks like it. 2nd pitch is not really a fist crack like the topo states - more of a layback that gets you to a big bushy ledge. From there trend left up a sloping ramp and follow a little horizontal feature back right to a SCARY detached flake and up into the Fissure Beck. I placed a cam behind that flake not knowing that it's detached and when I released the trigger the flake moved about an inch. Nevertheless, my partner failed to kick that sucker loose and we left it in place. The pitch looks a bit intimidating, but climbs fairly easily like a lay-back with some knee-bar opportunities.

The next 10c pitch is well-protected and has very fun climbing in a corner. I remember having to jump out onto the arete and face climb when the crack in the corner disappears - very fun! Make sure to build the anchor on the left side of the ledge and not on the tree, otherwise you'll be raining sand onto your 2nd. On the next pitch (5 or 6th?) it gets really tricky, but nothing harder than 5.7. I ended up climbing mostly up and a bit to the right into a shady alcove surrounded by trees (the very bottom right of Clint's first picture). I took the main crack in that corner that leads to a roof, but then traversed out right to a mossy, but otherwise splitter crack near the arete. That's not harder than 10a, but like Karl said you are always doubting your choice of the crack. I ended up stretching the rope up to the left-trending ramp after that and setting the belay on a small tree/bush.

The next pitch after the ramp is the route-finding crux. I tried the variation in the middle of the face that had visible fixed gear in the crack, but the gear was bad, moves - hard and rock - very dirty. So, I lowered. Farther left there is a pristine snow-white flake with a 1" crack on the right side. It looks so moss-free, that I initially assumed that it's gotta be loose. However, it ended up being not only very solid, but very fun. You can see this flake from way below and orient yourself based on it - it's the cleanest feature on that face. From the flake it's possible to climb straight up on first orange and then later very mossy rock to the top.

It's a pretty fun and adventurous outing. Have fun!

Vlad

Edit: You can see the "horisontal feature" and the "SCARY detached flake" on the very bottom middle of Clint's last photo. The flake is the white tomb-stone.
Alexey

Trad climber
San Jose, CA
Topic Author's Reply - Feb 24, 2010 - 07:37pm PT
Clint and Vlad thanks, now I have more beta to go than I expected.
Zander we can do it in the beginning of June if you like
Alexey

Trad climber
San Jose, CA
Topic Author's Reply - Feb 25, 2010 - 05:37pm PT
In addition i found good trip report from clustiere 2008:
http://www.supertopo.com/climbing/thread.php?topic_id=596509

SuperTopo is amazing source of climbing information if you want to know more about valley. I would call it dynamic Beta - compare with the books where you can get "static" information.
The exceptional group of people with this knowledge gathered together- most valuable part of ST, at least for me.
I also getting all headline news from here, because I recently I stopped watching TV- but would prefer if climbing treads dominate in this forum.
Clint Cummins

Trad climber
SF Bay area, CA
Jun 22, 2011 - 02:56am PT
Lower Cathedral Rock - East Buttress start
Lower Cathedral Rock - East Buttress start
Credit: Clint Cummins
Lower Cathedral Rock - East Buttress overlay
Lower Cathedral Rock - East Buttress overlay
Credit: Clint Cummins
Mungeclimber

Trad climber
sorry, just posting out loud.
Jun 22, 2011 - 03:17am PT
nice clint. I still want to get on this thing.

thx,
M
Zander

Trad climber
Berkeley
Jun 22, 2011 - 11:46pm PT
Yes, thanks Clint,
Munge I really want to do this thing. Got to improve the fitness first.
Maybe fall. I have heard it is hard for mere mortals.
Zander
TomCochrane

Trad climber
Santa Cruz Mountains and Monterey Bay
Jun 23, 2011 - 01:06am PT
i did it a couple of times back in the 60s

seems like once you get above the dihedrals, you just wander around upwards on whatever looks fun
k-man

Gym climber
SCruz
Jun 23, 2011 - 02:24am PT
Referencing Clint's photo above, atop pitch 6, go way right on the big ledge, pretty much out to where you meet the buttress. I got a bit lost there and didn't traverse far enough right. I ended up going up some hard, thin splitter and wasted a bunch of time. Later, I found what appeared to be the correct route out right.

Things get nebulous above the 5.6 ramp. There's many ways to go, and I found a pin that lead up to a dead end. For me, the beta was to head all the way out the ramp to the large white rock scar/flake and belay there. Then go straight up for 3 pitches. Of course, YMMV, but this beta should help speed things up.

Oh, don't belay at the tree when you finish P3, go up just a bit more to a small ledge. Way more comfy.
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