East Corner of Higher Cathedral Spire Trip Report


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Trad climber
Topic Author's Original Post - Oct 26, 2009 - 12:58am PT

East Corner of Higher Cathedral Spire Trip Report 10/24/09

This weekís ragged crew of gray hairs was spyork, Bob and Zander. I had never climbed Higher Spire and Bob wanted to do East Corner 10a. When we heard spy was in Camp 4 looking about for a Saturday partner the cast was complete. We met up at the Lodge for breakfast and got a rather casual start from the trailhead around 10:00. A party of four sprinted by us on the uphill trudge but we had little fear anyone would be on our route. In fact, four parties did the Regular Route on Higher Spire while we were by ourselves on East Corner.

Hereís a pic of Lower Cathedral Spire from the rope up spot.

Getting to the rope up spot is a bit exposed at one place. I got Bob to give me a hip belay. You can see from the pic, the climb starts way above the valley floor.

Hereís spyork.

Hereís a pic looking up P1.

We started climbing around 11:30. You can see the crux through the tree. Itís a small roof that is turned on the right. Itís a tricky, steep, physical little rascal.

Hereís a pic of spyork on the follow.

The next pitch is short and fun, full value 5.8. Spy lead this. Hereís a pic of Bob on the follow.

We were getting higher.

Over the course of the day we saw a couple of folks cruising South By Southwest, 11a on Lower Spire. Hereís a pic of them.

The next pitch is the crux. This is a sustained 10a corner with two distinct physical cruxes. Hereís Bob about a third of the way up.

This is a great pitch! Hereís a pic higher up at the chimney/roof.

You all are going to love this pitch!!
There is a choice of pitches off the big ledge at the belay. I chose the 5.9 and it was great too. Spy took the 5.6 squeeze to the summit. Here he is happy as can be on top.

Four parties had come up the other side so as we waited to rap we chatted with one of them. Iíve forgotten their names. She is Denali guide and he was from Alaska as well. Nice folks.
Hereís a pic of Spy on the first rap.

All the raps are 100 feet or less. We finished rapping about 4:30.

On the hike out I looked and took this pics of another party rapping. This guy is in the same place as spyork is in the pic above.

This is a great route! Every pitch is good. The pro is excellent.
Now that IĎve done it here is my suggested rack.
13 slings and draws
BD nuts #4 to #11
TCUs Blue to Orange.
Doubles of C4s Gray to #4
Extra BD .75, 1 and 2
60 meter rope for the raps

Climb on!

Trad climber
Truckee, CA
Oct 26, 2009 - 01:09am PT
What lucky timing to be surfing just when this post comes up. Nice TR! I absolutely love this climb too, it is way more fun than the Regular (maybe doesn't have the history, but a much better climb). Great to see people are doing it.

Social climber
Wolf City, Wyoming
Oct 26, 2009 - 01:09am PT
Nice, z! i really liked the rporting style, as well.

Should that be two, 60's for the rap?

Trad climber
Topic Author's Reply - Oct 26, 2009 - 01:12am PT
Hi Jay,
All the raps are OK with one 60 meter. The first one is very close though. You kind of hold the last foot of rope as you lean down to your feet level to clip yourself into the tree. Maybe our rope was a little short. It's good though.

Trad climber
Fresno CA
Oct 26, 2009 - 02:22am PT
Zander, you've done it again. I was looking at that climb last night and realized I'd never tried it, so I added it to my list. Next thing I know, you post one of you wonderful trip reports. Thanks again.


Trad climber
Oct 26, 2009 - 06:50am PT
Was not familiar with this climb. Now I will have to get more so at some time in the near future. Great TR and photos!

Social climber
A prison of my own creation
Oct 26, 2009 - 10:16am PT

Thanks for the pics Zander! What a great day with two solid partners. The spire is very awe inSPIRing. That 10a pitch is pretty stout, and it doesnt seem to see much traffic.


Oct 26, 2009 - 10:26am PT
Nice going, Zander. Cool pix and reportage. One of the most high value summit views anywhere, eh?

Trad climber
Berkeley, CA
Oct 26, 2009 - 12:11pm PT
Damn you Zander! That has been on my radar for a few years, one that I was nursing because I never talk to anyone about it.

Good job you guys!

Trad climber
Santa Clara, Ca.
Oct 26, 2009 - 12:22pm PT
Well done, lads!!!

Mountain climber
The Ocean State
Oct 26, 2009 - 12:57pm PT
Great TR. Thanks for the pictures.

Trad climber
Davis, Ca
Oct 26, 2009 - 01:02pm PT
NICE!! Thanks for posting.
Clint Cummins

Trad climber
SF Bay area, CA
Oct 26, 2009 - 02:09pm PT
Nice, Zander.

Here are a couple more angles on the first 3 pitches, from a 2006 trip with Claire:

following the tricky undercling on p1

leading the cool double crack on p2

following the crux flaring corner

Trad climber
Stanford, CA
Oct 26, 2009 - 02:34pm PT
That was me (green helmet) and my partner Sarah Kate (blue helmet) on South by Southwest! Did you get any other photos of us? That was awesome weather on Saturday. We were psyched to have Lower Cathedral Spire to ourselves.

Social climber
Oct 26, 2009 - 04:52pm PT
hey there zander.. say, thanks for the fine share.... wow, you even got folks shook to the brim with desires of their own now, too...

once again, thanks so much...

and as always fine pics here on supertopo, for sure...

Trad climber
Lake Tahoe
Oct 26, 2009 - 05:27pm PT
Awesome, Zander, way to go!
Your climbing accomplishments keep me all fired up
if not completely envious!

What a cool dihedral, do you get to
stem / bridge that rascal?

I'm going to have to check that out.
In the next life, I'll request to live
on the west side, not the east side.

Trad climber
Oct 26, 2009 - 05:33pm PT

Trad climber
Seattle, WA
Oct 26, 2009 - 07:00pm PT

Nice climb lads (and lasses in the reply postings). Does Bob read Supertopo? If so hi. Anyway, I loved the photo of the flare "Hereís Bob about a third of the way up." It's probably not as solid feeling as his technique makes it look.

It has started to dump rain up here in Washington, and I'll leave it up to you all to imagine how wistfully I look at these photos and double check the dates that you were climbing.


Trad climber
Topic Author's Reply - Oct 26, 2009 - 08:44pm PT
Nice pics Clint.
You can see in the last one how the crack in the corner varies in width. Thin hands is my nemesis. I didnít tape so I could slot my large mitts as far in as possible. Worked well, actually. It looks like you belayed below the roof to get that last pic. Good way to get a good pic.

I took one other pic of you folks. Unfortunately my camera doesnít zoom any more than what you see. The quality of the image is a little better on the original, though. Send me E-mail through Supertopo and Iíll send you the original shots. You both looked pretty casual over there, which knowing how hard it would have been for me, was pretty cool to watch.

We should grab Tony and go over to Phantom Pinnacle. Tony and I still have forty feet to go. We need your helping hand.

Climb on!

Trad climber
Mountain View, CA
Oct 26, 2009 - 10:15pm PT
HA, Zander I did that route 15 years ago...LOVED it. I still remember the sweet a** 10a corner, the views from the top and the scariest no headlamp rappel I've ever done.
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