Direct North Buttress, Middle Cathedral 5.11 or 5.10 A0


Yosemite Valley, California USA

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The GPS coordinates for this route are shown below. See the GPS Marker Legend at right for details on each marker. Click on the Marker to see the actual GPS coordinates.

If driving from Camp 4: take Northside Drive to El Capitan Meadow. Turn left at the triangle and drive east until just before you meet Southside Drive (the one way road.) Park on the side of the road and walk 300 feet west on Southside drive to the pullout on the left (south). If driving into Yosemite Valley: on Southside Drive, park 300 feet before the turnoff to El Capitan Meadow on the paved pullout on the right.

From the middle of the east most pullout, locate a trail and walk 300 feet, passing a climbers’ information sign, to the Valley Loop Trail. (Don’t start from the pullout to the west or all the following distances will be wrong.)

From here, follow different trails depending on which route you are climbing: GET Yosemite Valley Free Climbs and read the rest this approach as well beta for over 200 other classic Yosemite routes.

From the Kat Walk, follow a ledge trending slightly downward for 200–300 feet. When you reach a pillar (tree below it, ledges at base), work up the pillar to its top, then drop steeply down the other side through brush and small trees (careful!). About 100 feet after the pillar is the most dangerous section, a sloping ledge with no good holds (careful!). Another 200 feet around on the ledge, you will spot the trees, dirt and brush of the East Buttress walk-off about 150 feet below you. Continue contouring, then drop down 3rd class dirt until you gain the obvious East Buttress descent trail just before the campfire ring/large cairns (see descent below).

Middle Cathedral - Direct North Buttress 5.11 or 5.10 A0 - Yosemite Valley, California USA. Click to Enlarge
DNB follows a direct and intimidating line up the North Buttress.
Photo: Chris McNamara