Trip ReportEast Buttress of Lower Cathedral Rock
I’ve 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, it’ll feel odd to be on your first pitch in about 20 easy minutes.
Soul Sacrifice - a good warmup for the day? We didn’t think so.
Here’s 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 pard’ struggled up the crux pitch, logging a small bit of airtime onto a red C3 at the crux before figuring it out. “Sorry, sorry, sorry!” We moved more quickly after that lead, linked with the 70m and simuled a fair bit, and didn’t 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 pard’s 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 didn’t 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 we’d only ever placed it to get it off of the harness. So the doubles to #3 plus one #4 is what we’d use next time. Even on pitches 1 and 3, it’s usefulness was minimal.
Upper corners, roofs, all laced with positive holds and good jams where you need them:
The views throughout the day are absolutely fan-tastic.
You’ll have a stupid grin on your mug, too
In case you needed evidence on the raw visual pull of Crocs:
Here’s a series of shots illustrating my twin beefs with Middle Cathedral: it’s just not a pretty piece of stone, and it doesn’t have interesting texture.
Drainage behind the crown made of LCR, LT, etc.
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. We’ll do it next time, when we come back for Soul Sacrifice (rrrright!)
All day long, the Cap’s 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 you’d 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.
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