Southeast Buttress, Cathedral Peak 5.6

 
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Tuolumne Meadows, California USA

  • Currently 5.0/5
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Summary of All Ratings

SuperTopo Rating:   
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  • 5
 (5.0)
Average Customer Rating:   
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Your Rating:     (none)
Rating Distribution
37 Total Ratings
5 star: 81%  (30)
4 star: 16%  (6)
3 star: 3%  (1)
2 star: 0%  (0)
1 star: 0%  (0)
dmayers311

Trad climber
Mammoth Lakes, CA
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   Nov 19, 2013 - 03:11pm
just did this route (again…yesss) yesterday nov 18. a bit chilly but awesome. trail easy to follow, and there are a couple raps off of trees to descend which was awesome; had anticipated walking off.

funny thing happened though on the drive out to the east side. apparently is was supposed to snow last night, and we got locked inside at the tioga caltrans gate (not the park gate…a ranger opened that one for us)…for 6 hours! no cell service…what a nightmare! didn't anticipate that one haha
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Stewart Johnson

climber
lake forest
Nov 7, 2013 - 07:52am
 
please dont climb here anymore.
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pvalchev

Social climber
Truckee, CA
Nov 6, 2013 - 04:16pm
 
Did W Face of Eichorn two weekends ago - the descent will have snow, a foot or two at most - not a big deal but a bit chilly. (it doesn't really melt there, this time of year)
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Reedkrause

Trad climber
Loma Linda, CA
Nov 6, 2013 - 01:38pm
 
Anyone know the conditions of Eichorn pinnacle right now? has snow made the descent treacherous or ice in the north face route up the pinnacle? Thanks! Its really important for me to know!
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mslaysh

Trad climber
Marina, CA
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   Nov 5, 2013 - 07:48pm
Any thoughts on the conditions right now? I think I'm going to charge up this baby again on Sunday given that it's been a few weeks now since the last snow and that the route faces south-ish.
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Brian Bauer

climber
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   Sep 9, 2013 - 02:22pm
Credit: Brian Bauer

This is the second half of the route taken from our walk back down to the car. 14 people on the upper half, on a thursday, when Tioga pass was closed from traffic coming from the west. Crazy crowded...glad we woke up early. Great route though!
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khanom

Trad climber
Greeley Hill
Jul 2, 2013 - 06:43pm
 
Vitaliy -- it's all in the timing
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fishtrap

Trad climber
Bass Lake, CA
Jul 1, 2013 - 10:16am
 
Woland, No snow on the approach right now, tennis shoes will be sufficient.
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Woland

Trad climber
Seattle, WA
Jul 1, 2013 - 09:51am
 
Anyone knows how much snow there is on the approach? Will boots be needed or can I get by in sneakers?
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Vitaliy M.

Mountain climber
San Francisco
Jun 17, 2013 - 02:25pm
 
Only a fool can expect solitude on Cathedral in June. Oh wait, that was squishy...nevermind.
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squishy

Mountain climber
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   Jun 17, 2013 - 10:57am
So so crowded...avoid this place in June!!

There was countless rude parties on the routes, all criss-crossing, yelling, dropping stuff, learning to pull trad gear. To be honest, this route was not one of the more enjoyable routes I have done in Yosemite, I enjoyed the mountaineers route much more.
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Mike Bolte

Trad climber
Planet Earth
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   Jul 16, 2012 - 05:17pm
After almost 40 years of climbing in Tuolumne, I finally climbed this route two weeks ago. It is a really excellent outing.

Bit of a stroll getting back there through very nice country.

We started on the left and climbed the obvious 5.4 handcrack. Then more or less straight up a corner crack system taking the beautiful knobby face halfway up. Then up the corner to the left side of the long ledge from which the chimney takes off. The cracks to the left of the chimney are an excellent alternative to the chimney. Pretty much straight up from there. Don't miss the summit! It is incredible. No bolts in July 2012 on the summit, but it is 4th class up that final block.
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harmonydoc

Trad climber
Rohnert Park, CA
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   Jul 16, 2012 - 10:15am
Climbed this yesterday 7/15. We started somewhere around the C route, didn't follow the topo, never ran into anything that felt harder than 5.6. Never saw the chimney, think we stayed to the right of it. Did climb past a pair of rusty bolts somewhere on pitch 3. Topped out in 5 pitches, just before 3 other parties. Thankfully the storms stayed to the north (could see the rain off in the distance). My second time on this, what an awesome climb, worth doing more than once! Descended the slabs toward Cathedral Lake and cut through the woods to hit the John Muir Trail instead of the usual descent on the Budd Lake side; this took us a really long time (especially as we were tired and moving slowly by then).
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Erin Kim

climber
San Francisco, Ca
Jun 18, 2012 - 10:04am
 
Lost: My friend's right shoe, Vasque women's size 8 hiking boot. Greyish green
Lost: 1 Panasonic Lumix DX-3 digital camera
Lost: my mind

On descent of the backside of Cathedral Peak, 16th June 2012.

Thank you!
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Chris McNamara

SuperTopo staff member
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   May 18, 2012 - 11:47pm
Conditions report: only a tiny bit of snow on the approach. Descent looks clear.
Cathedral Peak on May 18, 2012
Cathedral Peak on May 18, 2012
Credit: Chris McNamara
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Aerili

climber
SLC, Utah
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   Oct 31, 2011 - 04:17pm
Condition report: as of 10/30/11, trail, route and descent are still dry and in prime condition. We had to cross three steps of icy snow on the descent, but otherwise things were complete perfection.
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pell

Trad climber
Sunnyvale
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   Sep 19, 2011 - 06:25pm
Take a couple of walkie-talkies to the climb. Communications with your climbing partner could be difficult due to a lot of parties simultaneously shouting "on belay!", "belay off!", "climb on!" etc.
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norma r

Mountain climber
Ventura County
Sep 9, 2011 - 09:24am
 
Tahoemnts2, 9/3/11 was empty in Cathedral terms. Talked to friends who did it the next day with 1.5 hr waits at belay stations even though climbers were all over the place. They said there were at least 40 climbers at one time on the SE butt. And yes, i did see Alex.
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jfailing

Trad climber
PDX, North Slope, The Open Road
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   Sep 7, 2011 - 08:54am
Did this a month or two ago for the first time - stupendous! At the same time, most crowded route I've ever been on. Thanks to the many variations, we only had to wait at the top for a party of three, and had a great sunset once they were gone.

A piece of beta for those looking for it: you don't need to bring a backpack!! When you hike off the top, you end up back at the base anyways (unless of course, you plan to not return to the base).

We saw a couple that were wearing what looked to be 50 pound packs - sleeping pads and all - preparing to have an epic. The girl was having a total meltdown, screaming at her boyfriend and everything. It seemed absolutely pointless to do this! Have fun and go light... er.
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tahoemnts2

Trad climber
Truckee, CA
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   Sep 4, 2011 - 11:37pm
Climbed this on 9-3-11 for the 3rd time. It was our easy day after the NE Butt on Higher Cathedral. I've never seen so many people on one climb at the same time. It was pretty entertaining, but still fun. We passed 4 parties and about 10 people. Everyone looked like they were having a blast...that's what counts. I would recommend wearing a helmet regardless your level of climbing on this route...you never know what's gonna come wizzing down from above...hint.

I think I'm learning Czech now from all the Czech commands I keep hearing yelled out on the routes. Do all Czechs climb?

Was told by another climber that Alex Honnald was spotted on the route that day. I should have got some solo tips when I was up there. But then again, since I got married, I did vow to never solo again...oh well;)
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Stewart Johnson

climber
lake forest
Jul 31, 2011 - 09:04pm
 
please dont climb here anymore.
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Vitaliy M.

Mountain climber
San Francisco
Jul 31, 2011 - 08:56pm
 
Yup, wescrist, I think that is the 5.7 var. I took last time I was there. There were two pitons there actually as I remember.
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weschrist

Gym climber
left sac
Jul 28, 2011 - 12:46pm
 
The "C" variation to the right of the chimney was confusing on the topo, felt more like 5.8 in the corner, its offwidth, and didn't see any pitons (the 5.7 corner may have been the next corner over, but it looked thin.

The pins were there. I didn't clip them.

This is the pitch. Good holds, only one semi tricky move.
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Mtbphoto

Trad climber
Mammoth Lakes, Ca
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   Jul 28, 2011 - 12:28pm
Climbed this for the first time on July 28th
*No snow
*approach was a lot easier and well maintained than expected, cut off the main trail earlier than we should have, but ended up finding the trail 5 or 10 minutes later. Just follow within a few hundred feet of the creek and you will run into it sooner or later.
*Climbed the "B" and "C" variation and has a lot of fun. Did the 5.6R knobs section a go, I didn't think it was too runout at all, and it was fun.
*The "C" variation to the right of the chimney was confusing on the topo, felt more like 5.8 in the corner, its offwidth, and didn't see any pitons (the 5.7 corner may have been the next corner over, but it looked thin.
*About 8 or 10 parties on the rock made the last pitch take almost 2 hours, although we weren't in any hurry and broke the pitch up 2 or 3 times.
*Mosquitoes were bad at the base and the hike out, and for some reason, there were a few on pitches 4 and above.
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murcy

Gym climber
sanfrancisco
Jul 14, 2011 - 10:24am
 
A quicker, wilder, less rope-draggy, and still easy alternative to the topo finish (which is going around left and up the "fourth-class" cracks you will descend by down-climbing) is just to go straight up and over the block in front of you; hidden behind it are more blocks for an easy and secure path across to the summit.

The giga-pan below is really cool. Try clicking the link to view it in Google Earth.
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davidji

Social climber
CA
Jul 7, 2011 - 01:19pm
 
@Robert: I was up there a week and a half ago. Less snow than I expected. I've been there when I had to rap over snow on the west side to get to the descent. This time there was little snow on the west side (at least getting to the standard descent).
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WML

climber
Edge of the Electric Ocean Beneath Red Rock
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   Jul 7, 2011 - 12:00pm
I know of a few folks who have climbed it recently


Also saw a TR of some folks who climbed it during the winter. With its South-facing aspect it is 'in' pretty rapidly after storms.
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Robert

Trad climber
San Mateo, CA
Jul 7, 2011 - 10:34am
 
anyone climbed this route yet? is it doable?
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fat-n-sassy

Social climber
San Francity, CA
Jul 4, 2011 - 06:45am
 
Too much snow now. Stay away.
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russellg

Sport climber
Malibu, CA
Jun 20, 2011 - 12:12am
 
Has anyone been up there since they opened Tioga? Any problems getting off the summit with snow still there?

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climbingcook

Trad climber
sf
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   Aug 16, 2010 - 08:38am
Great route, we climbed it in four pitches on a 70m rope. Lots of people on the face but it's incredibly easy to pick another line to the top. To top it all off, we had perfect weather and no mosquitoes.
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schaffner

Trad climber
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   Jul 19, 2010 - 10:20am
Tons of mosquitoes right now on the approach and the base. We could have easily done the route in 4 70m pitches, but ended up doing it in 5 because of some miscommunication. Belay ledges are everywhere.
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Stevee B

Trad climber
Oakland, CA
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   Jun 28, 2010 - 12:44pm
Found a pair of climbing slippers dropped on the descent - call me for return - 4 one 5 six one 3 nineteen eighty three.
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Byrner

Mountain climber
Berkeley, CA
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   Oct 12, 2009 - 06:18pm
photo not found
Missing photo ID#130806

I printed out the topo for the SE Buttress the day after climbing and added some thoughts fresh from my experience. Love the route. For some reason, I approached it thinking that everything backed way off past the chimney--I guess the beefy ledges stuck in my head from my first climb last year and not the fun, steep sections--but I was a bit off in my memory. Either way, the route is super exciting all the way through. One thing I would stress to those that get sketched at the top is that the 4th class swing around left is not bad and actually SUPER fun. I almost enjoyed those moves more than making the step.
E. Pinnacle at sunset from the summit of Cathedral Peak.
E. Pinnacle at sunset from the summit of Cathedral Peak.
Credit: Byrner
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Chris McNamara

SuperTopo staff member
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   Aug 7, 2009 - 10:55am
I got this beta from a supertopo user

To respond to one of your previous emails, the time quoted for the approach to Cathedral Peak was similar to what we experienced. I think we were a bit surprised though by how long and consistently uphill the approach was with the long scramble at the end to reach the base. The combination of the steepness and the altitude left us a bit tired by the time we got to the base. We are relative novices when it comes to high alpine routes though so in retrospect it should have been obvious that in order to climb a 700 ft. route on a near 11,000 ft peak we were going to have to gain some altitude from where the trail began under 9,000 ft. Either way we had a great time climbing the route. I couldn't believe the number of parties starting the route late in the day with thunderstorms looming!
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Toreador

Trad climber
York, UK
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   Sep 25, 2008 - 07:56am
Wish we'd read the new approach info before we left, we ended up half way to Cathedral Lakes and had to bushwack through the trees for a mile to get back on route. At least it meant that the pair in front of us were already climbing by the time we arrived!

Took the 'C' approach for the first pitch (by mistake), then the standard line. This seemed to give a more consistently graded route, all pitches 5.6, would recommend this. Climbed Eichorn Pinnacle afterwards.

One of the best climbing days of my life.
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Tom Johnson

Trad climber
Guerneville, Cal
Sep 23, 2008 - 10:57am
 
Lost Camera - Sat, Sept 22, on or just below Chimney Pitch. Probably nestled in a crack somewhere. Silver colored Pentax. If found, please contact Tom, 707 565-3167. Thanks
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Chris McNamara

SuperTopo staff member
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   Sep 7, 2008 - 09:09am
NEW APPROACH BETA

I got some feedback from friends who climbed the route two days ago that my approach description in the Tuolumne Free Climbs book could be more clear. Specifically that if you are counting stone steps you could get frustrated so...

Here is my new beta for the first part of the approach: from the car, hike about 10 minutes on the Cathedral Lakes trail. On the left, keep an eye out for a well defined climbers trail that leaves the main trail at a 45-degree angle (at about 11-o'clock)
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Chris McNamara

SuperTopo staff member
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   Aug 24, 2008 - 09:52pm
CF Just posted a gigapan of Cathedral Peak - Southeast Buttress

http://share.gigapan.org/viewGigapan.php?id=8096
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Mungeclimber

Trad climber
Nothing creative to say
Aug 3, 2008 - 10:34pm
 
http://www.summitpost.org/phpBB2/viewtopic.php?t=39176&sid=57f9153d5b073cbe9b2fca4cdf4e5eeb

apparently a loose block to watch for... will cross post to summitpost
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phile

Trad climber
SF, CA
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   Jul 14, 2008 - 01:30pm
Climbed Sunday, 7/13/08. Counted 22 people on buttress or at base when i was at top of first pitch at 7:45ish, with more approaching. Many parties must have bailed by early afternoon due to huge thunderstorm approaching. A few were still summitting with thunder booming all around and sprinkles starting. Probably would not try to do this climb on a weekend morning again--it was a zoo. People were inventing new lines to try to get to the chimney and get in line--massive traffic jam. Brought camalot #.75, #2, and an in-between DMM cam, full set of nuts, pink and red tri-cams. Didn't use any of the small nuts.

Got a wilderness permit and camped near the base. Friendly ranger asked us to move tent 200 yards to get out of 4-mile no-camping zone around tuolumne (ridge below the climb is split down the middle by the zone boundary).

Moderately bad mosquitos around base.
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maestro8

Trad climber
Sunnyvale, CA
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   Jul 14, 2008 - 11:04am
Classic route with comfy belay ledges. We took the "C" variation to the chimney, then the standard route the rest of the way. Starting the climb at 8 AM, we found only two other parties on the mountain; just an hour later, there were several more parties at the base.

The "5.6 fingers" section near the bottom wasn't much for fingers... but well-protected and short. In most places, we found the rock favored nuts over cams... although we did end up using #1, #2 and #3 camelots at a couple belays... could've done without.

I hung out with a couple marmots on the last belay ledge. Fearless little buggers sat there munching on gravel, giving me the stink eye. Glad I left my pack in a tree at the base.

The "4th class" topout is super-exposed... I ended up getting a belay to the summit and back down. Once over the notch and onto the north side of the summit, there's another huge ledge to relax and take in the views. From there, simple 3rd class ledge hopping takes you to the descent trail.
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Mav

Trad climber
San Francisco, CA
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   Nov 4, 2007 - 10:29pm
Climbed it today and it felt like summer. My partner and I had a lazy morning, ate breakfast at the Yosemite Lodge, left the Valley at 11am and were at the summit by 2:15.

There was no wind at the summit. What is with this weather?! Saw one other person there, a soloist who started ahead of us and disappeared.

No snow on the approach, and a bit of snow on the descent on the north side of the peak. Just enough to make it spicy, but I only had to step in snow once.

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Brew Monkey

Big Wall climber
Bend Ory-Gun
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   Jul 26, 2007 - 03:54pm
Great climb. I brought up a girl from the mid west who had never been in the Sierra before. Very happy with the outstanding views. We did the whole start the route at 3pm thing and made it just fine. We maybe spent two full hours climbing. Personally I am glad the summit rap got chopped going for it John Muir syle made the day. As far as a rack...one each to #2 camalot worked well. This was just a fun and historic climb with nothing to worry about. The rope drag on the last pitch was my only negative thing to say about it. Truly a mega classic!!
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summerprophet

Mountain climber
Cali Via Canada
Jun 12, 2007 - 02:06pm
 
Climbed this route June 11, '07.
Started up Variation C (to avoid other parties) Joined into Variation A at the Chimney.

Here is the slimmed down Rack Recomendation.
1.5 sets of nuts (emphasis on mid to large)
2 green Camalots (0.75)
1 red camalot (#1)
1 yellow camalot (#2)
1 yellow TCU (placed once on the pitch below the chimney)

And of course loads of long slings.
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Sid

climber
Bay area
May 22, 2007 - 12:07pm
 
Climbed this route a day after 120 opened up. The trail was covered in snow in most parts but we were able to snow slog/walk over snow in sneakers. It took us about 2 hours. The climb itself was bone dry. We saw two other parties. Descending was a little tricky but not too bad.
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sharon

Trad climber
Bay Area, CA
May 21, 2007 - 08:33pm
 
Hey -- I know it's really early in the season, but has anyone ventured out to Cathedral yet? Two questions -- is the trail passable and is the climb wet?

Thanks.
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TShimkus

Trad climber
Lake Tahoe, NV
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   Oct 23, 2006 - 02:49pm
Hiked in to the lower Cathedral Lake by headlamp on Friday 10/20 where we camped for the night. We hiked to the buttress shortly after the sun reached our campsite. The approach was nearly an hour from here. Camping at the upper Cathedral Lake would have shortened the hike considerably.

There were four of us and a party of two was already on the first pitch of the center route when we arrived so we started up on the leftmost route. By the time our party was reaching our first belay ledge two more climbers were starting on the middle route.

When we reached the chimney both of the other parties were there so we took an alternate route some 50 feet to the right. This variation started with a short offwidth crack, connected to a dihedral system for about 50 feet to huge flake abundant with large crystals. I would say this variation is about 5.7.

There were 3 solid-looking old steel pitons protecting the dihedral system and an ancient hanger above the cracks, making the most difficult section of this pitch much like a sport climb.

The sun set on us just below the summit as we awaited the last party of two to rappel off the top. We all reached the top in the twilight.

We knew that the short autumn days left us with the potential of an epic so we were prepared for a dark descent. A couple rappels , an hour of scrambling, and a short hike later we were back at our campsite.

We reached the consensus that the days were too short to do the Matthes Crest traverse as originally planned so we hiked out early on Sunday and spend the day in the Valley.
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Crodog

Social climber
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   Sep 18, 2006 - 01:12pm
Climbed on 9/16. Very congested with many other climbers. Did variation C rated 5.7 to the right of the chimney with the three pitons. This corner was shaded/cold and difficult. My partner reported a loose hold but I missed it. Bad rope drag at top as noted in guide book due to traversing route. Suggest setting belay on large ledge before summit ledge. At one point had three different sets of ropes overlapping eachother with climbers unclipping eachother's ropes. Finish to the left is a bit of an exposed puzzle if your leader doesn't put any gear in. Started from the car at 9:00 am and returned at 7:30 pm. Rappelled down the 4th class ledges from the summit with two ropes combined from another team.
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Ney Grant

Trad climber
Pollock Pines
Aug 15, 2005 - 09:23am
 
Climbed this Friday August 12, '05. Mosquitos have quieted down some. Not sure if we were lucky, but not crowded. Only one other party on route during our climb, although 3 or 4 soloists strolled by.

We did this with our 11 and 13 year olds. Good climb for that - roomy belays, great climbing and not too long. There are some traverses near the top, so we belayed our 11 year old from both ends to reduce the pendulum potential.

Also, as previous post said, we split up top pitch into multiple pitches, which helps greatly with rope drag, communication, etc.
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e$

Mountain climber
wilson, wyo.
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   Jul 18, 2005 - 10:06am
Word of warning: I was up on Cathedral on July 17th and the mosquitos are absolutely FIERCE. In my experience, they're normally not that pleasant in TM this time of year (esp around Budd Lake), but they seem especially bad this year. They were biting as high as the 4th pitch. I've never encountered *that* before.

Bring your DEET and other toxins... or, better yet, mosquito netting for your face.

The route, as always, is fantastic.

-e
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earlybird

Trad climber
UK
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   Jul 17, 2005 - 04:32am
Climbed this route 8th.Oct.'03.

Set off on the climb at about mid-day and caught another party of two up at the chimney; only other party on the route although I think some other climbers had been close to topping out when we started.

This party, from Sacramento and on their first grade III, were carrying a large rucsac.Entering the chimney with this encumberance resulted in a kind of reverse re-birthing experience for the second man, a protracted one at that so we outflanked the chimney to the right via a steep corner/crack. This deviation felt like UK 4c(VS) so I guess is 5.7.

We returned to the road with the last glimmer of daylight. I suspect the other party may have been benighted as they were still on route when we descended to the base of the peak, in twilight. 8 1/2 hours car to car. Great day out!

We climbed with 60m ropes and still split the climb in to six pitches; rope drag would have made the final, fifth, pitch very unpleasant without that intermediate stance.

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Rev.

Trad climber
Visalia, California
Jul 15, 2005 - 05:20pm
 
We climbed Cathedral Peak on Tues. July 12 (South Buttress variation). Last time we climbed it was Sept. 7, 1977, almost 28 years ago. We should have repeated it long ago, but thats how life gets; too busy. We inadvertantly lost a white Petzl helmet that ledged out on the route. It's marked "Dan Spaite" with a black marker. It you find it,could you please return to the visitor center and we will retrieve it later this summer.

The snow is almost gone, but there are still alot of patches around. Unfortunately, the snow has been replaced by mesquito's
all the way from the saddle down. Happy climbing and pass the Deet.
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Rev.

Trad climber
Visalia, California
Jul 2, 2005 - 05:27pm
 
Update on the Budd Creek climbers Trail to Cathedral Peak.
My wife and I hiked it on Thurs. June 30. While it still has
snow patches, it's melting fast as temps climb in the upper 70's in the Meadows. The first two miles are pretty clear with only patches in the shade and little that blocks the trail. After two miles and across from the wall below Unicorn Peak, leave the trail when you lose it due to larger snow patches and begin to angle up along open slabs towards the base of the peak. We hiked almost to the base of the buttress without a problem. We plan to climb it on Monday, July 11th. I think that you can get by without boots as we were hiking in tennies. It doesn't look like you would need an ice axe or crampons either. Although we didn't climb the peak, it looks as if you could get around the snow on the uppper part of the peak from what we could see (the 3rd class desenct on the east side towards Budd Creek trail). If you're thinking about taking that ice-axe or snowshoes to help you contend with the heavy snow, leave 'em at home. Not worth the weight.
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whatsupdoc

Trad climber
South Lake Tahoe, CA
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   Jul 1, 2005 - 08:29pm
We did this on June 24, the first day Tioga road opened. Plenty of snow on the approach. Definitely recommend boots for now. Snow on the descent gully as well. Snow made it tough to follow the climber's trail but it would be pretty tough to get lost. Just keep heading for the buttress. Amazingly, we were the only 2 on the route all day. Excellent fun!
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Rockdude

Trad climber
South Lake Tahoe, CA
Sep 21, 2004 - 07:42am
 
Fun Climb with Great views. Started about 5 mins before sunrise. We were the first to the climbs, it took us about 1:15 mins without any stops and at a fast pace. By the time I lead the first pitch, 5 parties were getting ready. I got off route several times but no problems, everything was easy climbing, 5.6 to 5.7 climbing. We climbed the A line in supertopo. We did it in 6 pitches, not five as the book indicated. On the fifth pitch, I experenced pretty heavy rope drag early in the pitch so I stop at the top of c's line fifth pitch. I think it is pretty tough to do the climb in 5 pitches without a lot of rope drag on the last pitch. It took us a little less than 4 hours to complete the climb. On the decent, I lowered my girlfriend down the 5 class down climbing section. I laced the rope over the right side of the summit block where the summit is only 3-4 feet wide and had her to stand on one side and lower/Belay me down the other. Pretty easy deal with no risk of falling during the down climb. All the other parties were real slow climbing. An hour after we finished, no other party had topped out. When we went back to the start of the climb to get our packs, there were over 16 people still climbing. I don't know how long the decent took us but I bet it was near two hour. We hiked out in about 1:22 mins.
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Chris McNamara

SuperTopo staff member
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   Jun 8, 2004 - 12:56pm
climbed this on Saturday. basically no snow on the approach. However, there is snow on the descent--spend some time routefinding. There were about 10 teams on the climb. Everything started fine since everyone was doing different variations at the beginning. But there was a huge bottleneck on the last few pitches. Just a reminder: there are many different ways to finish the climb so if you are behind many people consider going left or right of the standard finish.
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FTB

Trad climber
Near the Vally, CA
May 24, 2004 - 03:01pm
 
Climb away. There is still snow on the approach. I heard that people were post holing on the way out last weekend. Thanks for breaking the trail.

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HalHammer

Trad climber
CA
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   May 24, 2004 - 01:11pm
Hey are conditions good enough to climb this thing yet? Is there too much snow still etc?
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Chris McNamara

SuperTopo staff member
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   Aug 25, 2003 - 08:08am
The American Safe Climbing Assn. may have replaced anchor bolts on this climb. To find out visit the ASCA Replacement Page

The ASCA is a non-profit organization dedicated to replacing unsafe anchors. To learn about helping the ASCA click here


DONATE NOW
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BR

Trad climber
The LBC
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   Aug 22, 2003 - 10:18am
Climbed this on 8/18 and had a great time! A couple of comments:

1. Even on a Monday morning, on which we were at the trailhead by 6:30, there were a lot of people on the rock. Traffic jams at a couple locations high up on the climb, especially the last two pitches. But with only one or two exceptions, everyone was really friendly, so it was a nice way to spend the day. Most everyone I talked to did the route in 6 pitches, rather than 5, largely due to managing the traffic.

2. Unlike the previous commenter, we didn't have any problems with loose rocks. In general, I found Cathedral to be remarkably clean and free of potential rockfall. There are a few decent sized blocks that could be trundled if someone really wanted to, and a couple of gravelly sections where you might get some sand kicked on you or something, but that was about it.

2. The summit bolts are gone (good riddance -- I'm not sure the downclimb off the summit even qualifies as 5th class), but whoever chopped them did a really messy job. One of the stubs is sticking about 3/4" out of the rock. Kind of a bummer. The fourth class slabs on the downclimb below the summit suck, but some people were making two or three raps down to the talus from small trees and shrubs to avoid the slabs. That looked preferable to the big traverse to the southwest that we used (unless you're going to climb Eichorn Pinnacle, in which case you're going to have to traverse across the summit ridge anyway).

All in all, an amazing climb in an amazing location. Highly recommended!

br
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dougs510

Trad climber
The LBC
Jul 1, 2003 - 09:20am
 
I did this route last Saturday (06/28/03). We started in the middle (B route on SuperTopo). Here is the beta as I remember:

--We took 3 quarts of water. Consumed one on the approach, carried one with us (NOT enough) and left one at the base.

--We had rain jackets but neglected to carry a backpack up so my second was shivering after the 3rd pitch as well as dealing with a serious altitude headache. She was not a happy camper.

    lots of people, horseplay, and rocks being knocked off constantly. It seemed that many of the folks climbing this route approached it as very casual and non-committing.

    Fun route not to be underestemated as the approach, climb, routefinding (unless you follow the hordes), descent, and altitude are commiting.


P1: went easy 5.6

P2: I tried the recommended face climbing was but found the "Not recommended" Right facing corner more comfortable as it takes better pro. I eased up into a left facing slot ,left side in or back against the wall where I got a solid #3 in, after which I pulled around onto the face. After 20 feet, I moved back into the corner system to finish.

P3: since the B route was completely overran with people, I opted to move to the C route out right. This was a fun pitch, the 5.6 fingers toward the end of the pitch are very comfortable and secure.

P4: I moved the belay to the base of the chimney (short pitch.. about 20 feet) so my 2nd would be out of everyones way and in the shade. She started to get cold here and altitude sickness began to set in.

P5: 5.7 corner with 3 pitons. NOT THE FIRST CORNER SYSTEM, LOOK AROUND THE CORNER TO THE 2nd or 3rd FLAKE SYSTEM WITH PITONS. This is a great pitch. I found the 1st piton without any trouble and climbed up to a knife edged flake system which traverses out right. Searching for the 2nd piton, I wound up at the end of the flake and stood there looking at a dicey face smear over to another flake system 5 feet further on (off route). After setting a cam there, I decided that there is no way this is going 5.7 and dug out the ol' topo for another look. After gazing back over my left shoulder, I found the 2nd piton about 15 feet up a flake system 25 feet back from where I stood. Not much further up, is the 3rd piton. There is a big slot, too big for hands but there is a vertical ledge back in there so if you throw yourself into the slot, everything is there. At the end there is a nice hand crack, sort of overhanging with a big hold out left to finish up on. The belay is a blue sling around a tree, a VERY MANKY 1/4 inch bold (Needs replacing), and a #1 or #2 cam down left.

P6: instead of using the 5.7 corner, I got out on the face just left of the corner. There are lots of knobs here and easy climbing. This pitch went fast with minimal pro. We were out of water and my partners diminishing health, along with dehidration for us both, became a very real concern. We needed get down ASAP.

P7: Climbed hand crack up left to just below the true summit. We traversed out across a dropoff to a 3rd class system of ledges.

Decent: These became 4th class soon so we rapped off of trees, to the scree field below. After walking for awhile we made it around and over the ridge mentioned in supertopo and down to the path. Once I made it back to our backpack, just before getting to our water, I swallowed a mosquito and thought I was going to die having a coughing fit. I stumbled back to my couragous partner with our water, we shared water and advil and began our trek back out of the woods.

The next day we went to the grill for a greasy hamburger. While there, I noticed a guy had a t-shirt on which said: "Out of pain grows strength"
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Pete Bresciani

Trad climber
Las Vegas, NV
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   Jun 17, 2003 - 04:15pm
My girlfriend, Cheryl, and I climbed Cathedral Peak on June 12, 2003. We had a great time. The Supertopo was very helpful.
When hiking in, the Supertopo mentions to take the climber's trail 200 ft. after 30 granite steps. Well, you'll encounter many granite steps before the "real" 30. The first granite steps will be large, grouped in sets of 3 or 4, and 8" - 9" high. Wait for another set that are only 4" - 6" high, and grouped closely together like something you'd see leading to someone's front door. I think they were like 12 to 15 in a row, then another 12 or 15 right after that. 200' later take the sandy trail to the left. Follow this trail (there was a lot of snow patches on June 12th) until you end up on a large flat rock area. Follow the cairns straight down the middle, all the while trending right when cairns are sparse. Eventually the trail will pick up again on the right side of this rock area. It had water running down it when we went.
At the top of the climb, there were no bolts. I lowered Cheryl then downclimbed. Pretty easy. She didn't want to downclimb the slabs either, so we downclimbed left as far as we could then found slings around good bushes in the middle of the slabs and made two 100' rappels (we had one 60 meter rope) to the base of the slabs.
A perfect day of climbing on an awesome route! A must do.
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dougs510

Trad climber
Las Vegas, NV
Mar 17, 2003 - 01:06pm
 
I did the climb in June of 2000. It is by far the most incredible climbing experience I have ever had. Here are some excerpts from my Journal: "The climb was about 6 pitches of perfect alpine granite with awesome flakes and great belays. For the first couple of pitches a marmot followed us. Somewhere around the 3rd pitch, there is a double flake system, where you had to 'Ride the pony' over it, and the 4th pitch has an easy chimney. After topping out, there is an awesome view of half-dome. Incredible! On the decent, we did a couple of raps across waist deep snow. Lots of fun."

Be sure to hang your backpack or the marmots will eat your stash.

--Doug
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micheal

Novice climber
Las Vegas, NV
Oct 27, 2002 - 10:28am
 
It's getting cold up in Tuolumne Meadows, but the crowds seem to have thinned. There was only one other party on the peak for the whole day that we saw. We encountered some snow flurries while climbing. The climbing is easy and fun on this route, I recommend doing the chimney on the 4th pitch. It was a higlight for us. It starts very narrow, then widens to a comfortable width. Get to the climb early this time of year, unless you climb very quickly -the days are getting short.
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Glowering

Novice climber
Las Vegas, NV
Oct 22, 2002 - 11:16am
 
For max fun do it with a bivy.

We hiked up on a Sat. night. Bivied in the trees, had breakfast. Got on the route 15 min. before anyone else (the next party must've started hiking in the dark). Had a leisurely lunch on the summit and left before anyone else got up there.

On the hike down we saw a clusterf*ck of 7+ parties moving slowly, as a thunderstorm was moving in. We got to the car just as it started to rain.

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James

Intermediate climber
Las Vegas, NV
Oct 20, 2002 - 05:30pm
 
Climbed the route on the afternoon of 10/19/02. There was one other party on the route. Beautiful Sunset from the top, and a big moon to get us off and back to the car.

I noticed to that the bolts that were there a few years back are gone. Oh well, I don't really care. The last time I climbed it, my partner and I down climbed the thing. However, if you want beta, don't be foolish and rap/lower off a spectra sling girth hitched around a micro nut. Some one left that great setup up there. I forgot to rmove it, I had already grabbed a bunch of other gear off the climb.
Advise to those not wanted to down climb. You can desert/simul lower/rap off the main tower.
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Charles Miles

Trad climber
Tucson, AZ
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   Oct 1, 2002 - 06:34am
I did this climb on September 18th and the rap bolts at the top of the climb (shown on the Cathedral Peak Supertopo) had been removed.
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CR

Intermediate climber
Tucson, AZ
Sep 28, 2002 - 07:57pm
 
A spectacular climb! My wife an I started up the crack shown on the far left side of the topo, and then proceded up the obvious steep offwidth lieback directly above it (not on the topo... rating?). Outstanding! Although a bit difficult to protect unless you've got some larger cams along with you (I didn't). It does taper to a nice fist in the back, however, so with some mid to large size pieces and long runners, very doable.

Lots of parties on Cathedral, even early on a Thursday in late September, but so many different ways up, that it wasn't a problem.

Billy's tip about top belaying the first off of the summit block, and then draping the rope over the block and having the first belay the second down worked great! Thanks much!
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wohduuuude

Novice climber
Tucson, AZ
Jul 31, 2002 - 03:31pm
 
If you're parnterless, hike up the descent route. Something to do when you feel like hiking but not roping up.
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Charlie

Novice climber
Tucson, AZ
Jul 28, 2002 - 11:40am
 
What a great climb; spectacular views! This climb has lots on it: face, crack, chimney, knob hopping in some places (reminded me of Pinnacles without the worry that a knob might pop). It protects very well although we agreed that we'd use cams more than nuts next time; the latter proved a little difficult to remove on occasion in this type of rock. Watch rope drag on the final pitch just before the pinnacle. Down climb from the pinnacle is easy although somewhat exposed.
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B

Trad climber
Oakland, Ca
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   Jul 6, 2002 - 09:40pm
Lots of fun. easy hike and fun climbing. Start at the trailhead at dawn and you may have it to yourself..we did on a tuesday. so try weekdays. the bolts are chopped..so, keep the 2nd on belay and have them descend the solo-able but exposed downclimb (south), have them get below the steep wall (west), flip thei end of the rope over the wall and have the lower climber belay the climber above. untie and pull the rope..whallah. easy but descent.
if you start real early you can climb something else too. if the thunder storms don't roll in like they did at Tenaya lake. Resting for the GWB on stately.
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Evil Guy

Advanced climber
Oakland, Ca
Jun 26, 2002 - 03:40pm
 
I have done this route a zillion times. One of the best routes in the Meadows besides the West Ridge of Conness. I put the bolts in on top in 1998 because people were rapping off the old plate that was nailed to the summit. Put it this way, it came out really easy. Some old timers thought that it was a disgrace and that it was not really going to add to the Enjoyment of the Route and didn't belong. Like all bolting some people don't mind, some do. I actually never even rapped off the thing, always soloed it, but I was trying to look out for those who wished a safe alternative to the down climb. I'm I going to hell for it, probably not. Was it out of place, that is for everyone to make their own judgement.
By the way, if you get bottle-necked at the chimney, like someone is in it, climb the outside face though it is a tad more diffuclt. Either side is about the same rating in my opinion.
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Devin Jones

Intermediate climber
Oakland, Ca
Jun 25, 2002 - 10:15am
 
Just to update what I wrote in about yesterday, my friend contacted the ASCA yesterday and found out that indeed the bolts wren't supposed to be there. My mistake for thinking they were. Also we found out that the summit register was removed because some people were appearently using it as a anchor for a rappel, talk about crazy. Once again my mistake about the rap bolts, I just expected them to be there and wanted to let others who thought the same know. Happy climbing!
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Sue

Novice climber
Oakland, Ca
Jun 24, 2002 - 02:55pm
 
Yeah, sorry. I realized my mistake as soon as I hit the submit button. How about this:

There is a great 5.7 variation to the left of the chimney pitch on Cat Pk. It is not to be missed and is a good way to geat around a slow party. Look for the big "jug" handle near the start of the crack.
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Novice climber
Oakland, Ca
Jun 24, 2002 - 02:32pm
 
Hey Sue- can we please keep the forum stuff in the forum?
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Sue

Novice climber
Oakland, Ca
Jun 24, 2002 - 02:28pm
 
Major bummer! No nice easy rap. I'll bet you had a big frown on your face and nothing nice to say. Imagine the inconvenience of a 15 foot class 4 downclimb!

Guess what? Those bolts didn't belong there. Expect any future bolts up there to be chopped.
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Devin Jones

Intermediate climber
Oakland, Ca
Jun 24, 2002 - 11:41am
 
My buddy and I just did Cathedral on Saturday and much to our chagrine found the summit bolts are chopped once again. The down climb isn't so bad, but it's a major bummer if you are expecting a nice easy rap. Otherwise the route's still a lot of fun and conditions are perfect.
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Tom

Big Wall climber
San Luis Obispo CA
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   Feb 1, 2002 - 12:06am
I did this route in July of 1983. My partners in Tuolumne convinced me to solo this thing, even though I had only led 5.8 before. I took a fifty-foot piece of 9 mil and a few pieces "just in case". I self-belayed a scary-looking 30' crack 2/3 of the way up. It was an awesome solo. Probably the best first solo to do. I never saw anyone else on the way up or down, but that was 1983.
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Richard Miles

Intermediate climber
San Luis Obispo CA
Sep 10, 2001 - 09:49am
 
Found the summit bolts chopped on September 8. They were apparently chopped roughly a week before. Not difficult to downclimb off the summit (~40') - just be prepared for it. Easy to have second protect the route for the last to downclimb, if desired. (This is described in the Supertopo guide.)

The rock was simply overrun: there seemed to be 7+ parties on it throughout the day.
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Rob B.

Intermediate climber
San Luis Obispo CA
Jun 15, 2001 - 10:38am
 
Randy and I had the same idea. Camp at the Saddle between Echo peaks and Cathedral and you will get a nice breeze that keeps the mosquitos down to a tolerable level. Definitely hit Eichorn and Matthes. However, if later in the season one would have quite a walk down to the creek to get water. With snow patches around it was easy to melt and filter for us. Did the Chimney route this time. But what a cluster of people on the summit block. I skipped that this time. If you camp in this area, since Budd lake is off limits to camping, it is fairly easy to traverse the bench just below Echo peaks to get onto the West Flank of Matthes and follow that to the Southern end. This avoids going up even further for Wilt's col. Definitely the preferred access unless coming in via the John Muir Trail???
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Chris McNamara

SuperTopo staff member
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   Jun 5, 2001 - 01:14am
I did this route in early May and found perfect conditions. No snow on the approach and only a little patch on the descent. We avoided this patch by rappelling off the summit. We found out - the hardway - that you need either a full 60m rope or two 50m ropes to rappel off the summit (we were using a 55m rope. doh!)

By now, the snow has probably melted off the Class 4 descent so it is not necessary to rappel off the summit.

We chose a line that started directly below and then climbed straight into the obvious chimney halfway up the face. We choose the most direct line which was by no means easiest and had a few sections of 5.7. The easiest line starts down and left about 100'from where we started and is rated 5.6.

We topped out right at sunset and made it back to the car just before dark.
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RJ Spurrier

SuperTopo staff member
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   Feb 12, 2001 - 05:10pm
If you get an early start, try to climb Eichorn's Pinnacle and/or get a wilderness permit and continue heading south to set-up for a climb of Matthes Crest the following day. All three are great climbs.
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Cathedral Peak - Southeast Buttress 5.6 - Tuolumne Meadows, California USA. Click to Enlarge
One of the finest routes in Tuolumne Meadows.
Photo: Greg Barnes
Submit Beta on this Route
 
*What is "Route Beta"?
It's climber slang for information or tips on a route as in, "what's the beta on that route?" As a service to fellow climbers we ask SuperTopo guidebook users to post tips and updates to this website if they have relevant information to share after a climb.