Trip Report
East Buttress of Lower Cathedral Rock
Friday April 18, 2014 5:37pm
Iíve wanted to do this climb since, good grief, the Bush years. Always put it off for some reason (probably scared), finally had a chance this spring. This line seems to be getting attention lately. It didn't disappoint.

Good views, good light on the approach. Some excellent pitches up this way.

Lots of birdsong here. This approach is so pleasant and easy. If your Cathedral climbing is mostly on the upper parts of Middle, on Higher, and in the Spires, itíll feel odd to be on your first pitch in about 20 easy minutes.

Soul Sacrifice - a good warmup for the day? We didnít think so.

Hereís the p1 chimney of EB LCR:

View up toward the Fissure Beck:

Top of p1:

P2 .10a sidepulls:

P3 is the Fissure Beck, which was pretty sweet. To reach the corner, I placed a small cam, went way out left to get around some munge, then traversed back right on a foot rail with a hand rail above my head.

Where the feet ended, I had a things-that-make-you-say-hmmm moment as my gear was 10 ft below me now, and I was skeptical about mantling up and pulling on what looked like a loose plate. It worked out.

Some really nice people offered to let us pass them (yep! two parties on this line on the same morning, what are the odds) at this point. We then slowed them down as the pardí struggled up the crux pitch, logging a small bit of airtime onto a red C3 at the crux before figuring it out. ďSorry, sorry, sorry!Ē We moved more quickly after that lead, linked with the 70m and simuled a fair bit, and didnít slow them down anymore that day. Again sorry!

Did you know that Crocs, yes, are a source of formidable sex appeal, but also a lightweight descent and approach shoe. My Red Baron Crocs are a jillion times lighter than the pardís Five-Tennies. We both made it up to and down from LCR in one piece. Only one of us turns heads at the Berkeley Bowl. You do the math.

Higher up we had the route-finding beta dialed and didnít experience any problems. We did experience misgivings when taking in the lichenous and untraveled look of the upper pitches, but we stuck to the game plan and hit the summit without getting lost.You end up climbing lots of sections that look a bit like this (which I love pretty much):

But also some steep and clean sections like this:

As you can see, we brought the big cam, and felt at the end of the day that weíd only ever placed it to get it off of the harness. So the doubles to #3 plus one #4 is what weíd use next time. Even on pitches 1 and 3, itís usefulness was minimal.

Itís solid!

Upper corners, roofs, all laced with positive holds and good jams where you need them:

The views throughout the day are absolutely fan-tastic.

Youíll have a stupid grin on your mug, too

In case you needed evidence on the raw visual pull of Crocs:

Hereís a series of shots illustrating my twin beefs with Middle Cathedral: itís just not a pretty piece of stone, and it doesnít have interesting texture.


Drainage behind the crown made of LCR, LT, etc.

Dip anyone?

Gunsite is a neat part of the Valley - cousin to the gully between HCR and the Spires. The westerly wind that pushes through these notches in the afternoon is laced with something magical, you can feel it. Places of power.

Nice to have good hardware and a fixed line or three:

You can make out a closely bolted line here. Thought about giving it a try, later heard it was a newish .12b. Weíll do it next time, when we come back for Soul Sacrifice (rrrright!)

All day long, the Capís got your back:

Headed to the bridge for a swim. Water was cold, glorious. That feeling when you get back out of Sierra water into the sun like someone could unload an uzi into your chest at close range and youíd be just fine.

Mellow scene in the Meadow:

Many years of wanting to do this line. Now I get to do two things: look up there and remember how sweet it was, and move on to the next semi-obscure obsession.

Credit: le_bruce

  Trip Report Views: 2,281
About the Author
le_bruce is a climber from Oakland: what's not to love?

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Trad climber
Livermore, CA
  Apr 18, 2014 - 06:54pm PT
Good job le_bruce. Looks like your getting after it. Keep chasing them down.

-Eric Gabel

Social climber
  Apr 18, 2014 - 07:03pm PT
Very Nice!! Thanks for posting this up! No matter where you look, there is some OW to be had. Definitely a nessessary skill for the all round climber.

Mountain climber
The Other Monrovia- CA
  Apr 18, 2014 - 07:10pm PT
You've wanted to do this since the Bush years? I did it in the
bush years, like when it still had bushes!

Nice TR! :-)

Oh, and you can thank the retard Swiss guys who got up earlier than
us for cleaning all the loose rocks off the route. They're lucky we
didn't find them afterwards. It might have gotten ugly.
No, it definitely would have.
Clint Cummins

Trad climber
SF Bay area, CA
  Apr 18, 2014 - 07:30pm PT
some OW
Normally you don't use any OW technique on this climb, unless you extend your definition of OW to include chimneys.
p1 has some chimney moves, and lots of faceholds (no armbars needed, which is OW technique).
And most people do a couple of lieback moves on the Fissure Beck.
mouse from merced

Trad climber
The finger of fate, my friends, is fickle.
  Apr 18, 2014 - 07:42pm PT
MCR gets all the ink. This is a good change.

And what, exactly, are the odds of meeting others on this? Pretty low. But not as low as the Bushes' chances for re-election.

You do look good in those trippy clogs...
Vitaliy M.

Mountain climber
San Francisco
  Apr 18, 2014 - 08:14pm PT
Wow a few parties ahead? That's a huge surprise for this route, I would think!

When I was there someone was bolting many one pitch climbs right below the descent gully. You probably saw one of those. Don't think there were many 5.12s there, looked fairly straight forward.
Peter Haan

Trad climber
  Apr 18, 2014 - 10:47pm PT
It's a great route. The crux is worthwhile and there is a lot of adventure climbing. Many get off route on the upper reaches of the line too, so if it went well, you have done well. Hargis and I did it in 1971. I think it was a very early free ascent although Hargis grabbed a fixed pin in the crux, that tilting left increasingly shallow flare and diminishing finger crack.
Ŗ ő ō T « H

Boulder climber
  Apr 19, 2014 - 01:59am PT
Funny that that section of Gunsight is now pimped with a new bolt and the velvet (chicken) rope.
I descended it from Pohono trail in 1990, and it definitely gets your attention - good hold(s) tho.
A fixed line got installed around 2000 I think.


Big Wall climber
Seattle, WA
  Apr 19, 2014 - 02:11am PT
Really nice trip report, and it looks like a great route, too.

Gym climber
sawatch choss
  Apr 19, 2014 - 11:44am PT
If you take a dip in that pool at the top of Bridalveil, bring a rope. It's really slick and hard to get out of.
mike m

Trad climber
black hills
  Apr 20, 2014 - 09:49pm PT
Awesome to see some parts of the Yosemite that you often time don't see.

Mountain climber
Draperderr, Utah
  Apr 20, 2014 - 11:05pm PT
Nice! Thanks for shedding a bit more light on a route that has had my attention, TFPU!

Social climber
Oakland, CA
  Apr 21, 2014 - 01:37am PT
good stuff. love the munge!

Trad climber
South Pasadena, CA
  Apr 21, 2014 - 05:28am PT
So glad to see you finally get on this route! How many years, how many weekend planning conversations did you bring this up and we picked something else? A lot of pretty pics. Much more sedate trip down the Gunsight this time! Good stuff.
this just in

Justin Ross from North Fork
  Apr 21, 2014 - 10:57am PT
Another great TR le bruce. Way to get it, thanks a lot.

Trad climber
Fresno CA
  Apr 22, 2014 - 03:53pm PT
Wonderful TR, le bruce. I loved it all, but it was particularly reassuring to read your comment about Soul Sacrifice. The thought of doing any of those face routes on the South Face of Lower Cathedral Rock always terrified me.

It still amazes me that the first ascent party did the route in one day, nailing over that bulge to the right of the Fissure Beck and the Fissure Thompson, almost 60 years ago. I find it particularly audacious that they didn't even bring bivy gear. Those guys knew how to climb.

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