North Buttress Middle Cathedral, bolts p14


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Greg Barnes

Topic Author's Original Post - May 31, 2003 - 10:02pm PT
Anyone done this route (North Buttress not DNB)? We had a couple requests to replace a bolt or two up high, the Reid topo shows 3 bolts on pitch 14. The latter two are next to a crack/feature line - anyone know what's up? (i.e. is that an ow and the bolts are aid bolts, or an arete and they're pro bolts, etc)?

FA: Harding and folks 1954
FFA: Sacherer and Bridwell 1964

Thanks, Greg

PS Yes I know that NB is the left edge of the Peregrine closure (or is supposed to be although they say West Buttress).

Trad climber
Otto, NC
Jun 1, 2003 - 06:58pm PT
Did this route last fall. I don't know if those are FA bolts, but I don't remember a bolted crack--I seem to recall a face pitch. And the Reid topo sucks-- take care not to go up left into the big obvious system that's not the route, around p10, after the seeping wet chimney crux. yee haw. i'd wait a few months for that one...
Karl Baba

Trad climber
Yosemite, Ca
Jun 1, 2003 - 08:23pm PT
I don't have the holy book with me so I can't be sure of which pitch but...

I did the route with my boss from Curry Company in the early eighties. On the crux 5.10 pitch, I was lead way out and slipped on some gritty holds (the rock is not pristine there) Went 35 feet upside down and backwards. Wow! Boss was not a leader so I had to go finish it. Don't remember if there were bolts for sure but the "Crack" is a shallow blank corner that sometimes difficult to impossible to pro.

I went back many years later and saw a couple shiny bolts on that pitch. It was still a leadout. Don't know if they were replaced bolts or retro bolts.

Hope this helps. What makes you think the bird closure isn't from the WEst Buttress?


Mountain climber
San Luis Obispo County, CA
Jun 1, 2003 - 09:06pm PT
There was a note posted at Camp 4 on 5/29 that said the Peregrines have moved elswhere and all Middle Cathedral routes are open.

Trad climber
Jun 2, 2003 - 12:01pm PT
Call Kevin at Shoreline, he did the route on Saturday, May 31.

Karl Baba

Trad climber
Yosemite, Ca
Jun 2, 2003 - 12:27pm PT
Sorry. Looked at the topo and the pitch I was talking about is #11.


Trad climber
Jun 2, 2003 - 01:18pm PT
Did the route on Saturday. I noted 6 bolts on the entire route. The first bolt (not on the Reid topo) protects a short traverse off the right rabbit ear that leads to a bush just below the 5.9 lieback. The second bolt was about mid way on pitch 11, which is not shown on the Reid topo. The third bolt was a belay bolt at the top of pitch 11. The remaining three bolts protect the face climbing at the start of pitch 15. The pitch is actually number 14. The reid topo jumps from 11 - 13 and skips 12. The Reid topo shows 2 bolts next to what appears to be a crack, but this isn't accurate. 3 bolts protect 5.9 face climbing right off the belay, which lead to a thin crack/seam that is protected by two fixed pins. All of the bolts were 1/4" variety and should be replaced if they're original FA bolts. Hope this helps.

Greg Barnes

Topic Author's Reply - Jun 2, 2003 - 01:58pm PT
Thanks kb, that's exactly the beta I was looking for.

Now that I know the current state, time to pick some brains about what were from the FA...

Greg Barnes

Topic Author's Reply - Jun 3, 2003 - 09:11pm PT
Just heard from Bridwell, originally just one bolt on the whole route:

> there was only one bolt on what is now pitch #15.

(actually pitch 14 with kb's beta).

Just because it's old and 1/4" doesn't mean it's the 3 bolts on Braille Book...


Trad climber
Otto, NC
Jun 4, 2003 - 12:17pm PT
And did he say he cared at all? Recall the Absolutely Free thread...

Trad climber
SF Bay Area
Jun 4, 2003 - 12:44pm PT
Greg (or anyone)-
Do you know which one was the belay those 2 climbers from CO ripped out of a couple years ago? (or was that last year?)

I had heard that belay was better now, but maybe it was pins that were added?

Trad climber
SF Bay Area
Jun 4, 2003 - 01:31pm PT
So yer sayin this thread isn't about the DNB...?

I guess that's why it says "(North Buttress not DNB)"
Maybe I'll just try to get some work done over here then...

boulder, CO
Jun 4, 2003 - 03:04pm PT
Off topic on the DNB again-

Do you know which one was the belay those 2 climbers from CO ripped out of a couple years ago?

I think that was summer of 2001. As far as I understand things the pulled belay was at the top of what the Supertopo calls pitch 6. I climbed it last spring and I can't remember what the anchor situation is like. There is tricky route finding on funky face climbing right off the belay though.

[edit after HKs post]:
I guess the news I heard above was rumor. Its hard to imagine anyone falling out of the chimneys on the upper part of the route though.
Hardman Knott

Gym climber
Marin Hot Tub Country
Jun 4, 2003 - 03:51pm PT
{Lincoln posted this on rec.climbing not long after the accident.
This was culled from a general post -- ommiting the rest
for brevity}

From: Lincoln
Subject: Re: Yosemite Climbing Ranger View:
Original FormatNewsgroups: rec.climbing
Date: 2001-08-19 15:25:59 PST

As most of you know from either being here in person or reading the
posts on this newsgroup, two climbers died while climbing on Middle
Cathedral Rock in the valley a few weeks ago. Those climbers have
been identified as Myra Eldridge and Thomas Dunnwiddie. Various
people posted a number of questions and answers to this group soon
after the accident; some answers more accurate than others. Though
many of these questions will remain unanswered, I'll clear up what I
can. I arrived at the base of Middle Cathedral shortly after the
accident, so all that I say here is first hand information based on my
memory of the events. I know that some of you knew the climbers
involved in this accident, and I will try to maintain the level of
respect demonstrated in earlier posts.

Dunnwiddie and Eldridge most likely fell while climbing on the upper
pitches of the Direct North Buttress (DNB). When I found them at the
base of the cliff both were still tied into their lead ropes and all
of their gear seemed to have fallen with them. It appeared from what
we found that Dunnwiddie was leading on two nine millimeter lead ropes
while Eldridge belayed from a "traditional" anchor (built with their
own gear with no bolts of fixed gear). That anchor remained attached
to Eldridge's tie in point and consisted of the following: a blue
Alien and a small stopper (approximately #5 BD) clove hitched together
to one of the lead ropes, and a .5 and .75 Camalot each independently
clove hitched about a foot apart to the other lead rope. All of these
pieces were somewhat damaged, though it is impossible to know whether
that damage occurred at the time of the accident or during their fall.
We found no "lead protection" attached to the lead ropes between the
two climbers, and they were separated by approximately twenty-five
feet of rope when we found them. We also found a loose quick draw and
a few other miscellaneous pieces of climbing equipment around the

We do not know for sure where they fell from on the route, and
therefore we cannot determine the quality of the rock in which they
built their anchor. Both climbers were apparently very experienced
and had completed a number of difficult ascents in the days before
their accident. This is all we know right now, though the
investigation remains open. Two SAR team members who recently climbed
the route reported finding it in good condition with no obvious rock
scars etc. If I find out anything else I will try to post that
information here. I will also do my best to answer any questions that
people might have about the accident. My apologies for not posting
this information sooner.
big wall paul

Trad climber
tahoe, CA
Jun 6, 2003 - 03:42pm PT
Here's another off-topic reply, regarding the dnb:

I did it in 2001, 1 month after the two climbers that died. Knowing the news of the deaths, I convinced my partner to bring a hammer and about 8 pins (all of which we left fixed), and we put in two pins at the stance that we suspected the climbers fell from. There's a small ledge that has a variety of cracks that might give the impression of offering good anchors, except that if you hit the rock, it all sounds hollow. So we figure they had pro in those cracks, then the leader went up and we noticed the initial 20 feet accepts pro, except it's awkward and prone to rope drag, then the next 20 feet is runout. This is where we figured the leader must have fallen from, shock loading the belay, which pulled from the hollow placements.

Another pitch on the route had a huge 40 foot fresh rock scar, with rock powder all over the place, and an 8 foot, teetering broken rock which you need to climb up. Yikes. I was glad it wasn't my lead. Paul.
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