Southeast Buttress 5.6

  • Currently 5.0/5

Cathedral Peak

Tuolumne Meadows, California USA

Trip Report
Cathedral Peak TR
Monday June 29, 2009 1:16pm
I'd only done Cathedral Peak's SE Buttress once before, in August 2006. My intent was to do it again in 2007, but instead I wrecked my car on the way up (late night + deer), broke my neck, and sustained a spinal cord injury.

My friend Matthew has a thing about death marches. His goal for the past several years has been to day-hike all the peaks on the Sierra Peak Section list. In fact, he is almost done with the list (only a few left to go). So he hasn't been climbing much.

I started technical rock climbing outdoors with him though, and we climbed stuff like Mt. Starr King and the Cosmic Wall (up in Castle Crags state park). He also helped me while I was in the hospital, and after I got out. So I owe him.

Saturday I drove up to Tioga Pass and spent the night nearby to acclimatize a bit. Here's Dana from Saddlebag Lake Road -

Sunday we got an early start (7am), but not early enough. There were already several parties hiking up with us. Still, the SE Buttress looked beautiful as we approached.

I hadn't slept as well as I wished, and above ~9500' I always slow down. The other parties beat us to the start and staked out their positions, but we had a decent line. Matthew hadn't led for a while, so I decided to lead this one.

Matthew following

I'd forgotten how nice the rock was on this peak ! I kept on leading. The second pitch flew by, and I managed to get some nasty rope drag on the third, but fixed most of it before embarking on a 5.7 variation up to the left of the base of the chimney.

The fourth pitch we did was the 5.7 knobs + arete to the left of the chimney pitch.

I thought this was the best pitch of the day. The views were stellar of course -

It goes without saying that on a nice weekend in Tuolumne this climb gets crowded -

this belay would shortly become home to 2 or 3 more parties ..

Last pitch

We decided to bail on the last bit of 4th class to the summit because of the crowds and the fact that we had already been up to the top before. We also wanted to do Eichorn's Pinnacle -

Turns out Matthew hurt his foot slightly while we scrambled down to the base of the NF route, so we just traversed back to the standard descent. But on the way I spied the West Ridge of Conness -

The weather was pleasant, sometimes a bit cloudy and breezy. I was worrying about thunderstorms, but things stayed dry all day. The mosquitoes were out in force though .. they followed us up most of the climb.

  Trip Report Views: 2,770
About the Author
rhyang is a climber from SJC.


Big Wall climber
Terrapin Station
  Jun 29, 2009 - 01:21pm PT
Awesome. Nice TR bro!

Beautiful pix, although you could size 'em down a smidge.
(700 by 800 or so?)

Dang, I love that place. Thanks for the journey!

  Jun 29, 2009 - 01:46pm PT
Captain...or Skully

Boise, ID
  Jun 29, 2009 - 02:17pm PT
Good Shtuff, that.

Trad climber
Santa Clara, CA
  Jun 29, 2009 - 02:43pm PT
Nice job. I have yet to do CP.

I was up there this weekend but did some easy stuff with some first-timers.

Good times!

Author's Reply  Jun 29, 2009 - 02:55pm PT
Thanks all !

Bluering - what fantastic weather last weekend ! Prepare to climb this thing with 40-50 of your best friends :)

Fat Guy - don't hold your breath :)

Trad climber
Fresno CA
  Jun 29, 2009 - 03:12pm PT
Thanks for the post. It brings back good memories. The first time I did the route, we had the mountain all to ourselves. That's not likely to happen again in Summer. Still, bluering, the route is well worth it, and the side trip to Eichorn's Pinnacle is frosting on a very tasty cake.


Random Nobody
  Jun 29, 2009 - 03:20pm PT
Cool TR.

I got a couple of friends heading up this route in the next couple of weeks....

Thanks for the post.. I can point them to this to give them the heads up on the squeeter problem...

Really cool for you after the neck injury. Congrats to both of you...

P.S. The climb and the rock looks steller

Social climber
  Jun 29, 2009 - 04:32pm PT
what a sweet peak... done it 3 times now.

Social climber
Lida Junction
  Jun 29, 2009 - 04:51pm PT
I really like the last pitch. easy cimbing, good exposure, and a fun finish.

Social climber
Wilds of New Mexico
  Jun 29, 2009 - 04:57pm PT
Thanks for the TR. CP is so fun. It's amazing how many people can climb the thing in a day. It absorbs the crowds.

Trad climber
The state of confusion
  Jun 29, 2009 - 05:08pm PT
Great stuff!
Glad you're back and 'goin up'!
scuffy b

heading slowly NNW
  Jun 29, 2009 - 05:32pm PT
Great to read that you got back up there.
You're an inspiration.

Trad climber
Fresno/Clovis, ca
  Jun 29, 2009 - 06:45pm PT
Good job lads. Thanks for the report. I think I'll do it as a Full Moon climb next time. We had crowds too last summer.

Boulder climber
Institute of Better Bouldering-DirtbagDad Division
  Jun 29, 2009 - 08:12pm PT
Thanks... very nice. A good snack/treat to read this in a few minutes.

Once of these days I'll get around to this climb.


El Presidio San Augustin del Tucson
  Jun 29, 2009 - 11:21pm PT
For me, Cathedral Peak TRs will never get old.
Thanks for posting.

Trad climber
Erik O. Auburn, CA
  Jun 29, 2009 - 11:27pm PT
Thanks for the report rhyang! I wanna go!
Cathedral Peak - Southeast Buttress 5.6 - Tuolumne Meadows, California USA. Click to Enlarge
One of the finest routes in Tuolumne Meadows.
Photo: Greg Barnes