North Face 5.4
Trip ReportEichorn Pinnacle TR
Yes, it's the continuing adventures of Brave Sir Robin and Princess Buttercup ..
Saturday morning dawned a bit chilly. My friend Laura and I started from the Cathedral Lakes trailhead around 8am, and headed up the JMT towards the west face of Cathedral Peak.
We stopped for a break, and got a look at our goals.
Soon we were heading up the talus and slabs, finding ducks to mark the way.
Eichorn's north face was getting closer. The 'aplite band' noted in the supertopo was apparent -
I'd only followed this route in 2006 after Cathedral Peak's SE Buttress, so I was looking forward to leading it. I'd brought a pretty spartan rack and a 50m x 8.5mm rope, figuring "hey, it's only 5.4 and the pitch is only 160 feet". Hmm .. (foreboding music begins)
We snacked and I slung a horn for a belay anchor. I could see the 'tiny stance' a little ways away, but mentioned in passing that we might have to do a little simuling. I don't think Laura knew what I meant, or I didn't explain it well enough. Anyway, up I started -
It was chilly in the morning, and in the shade the breeze cut like a knife. Glad the climbing was easy. The aplite band / dike was a little chossy, but nothing too bad. There was a place where I had to step down and around a bit, with some nice exposure.. that took a while to figure out :)
From there it wasn't too hard .. I located the pitons and clipped one, then up to the 'awkward' wide crack. Laura yelled up -- 10 to 15' of rope left. I think that ought to be enough ..
I looked to the left, then the right, finally decided to commit and head up center .. oh yeah, that's how we did it 3 years ago. Some nice holds on the right, chimney and smear .. then emergence into the sun and up the beautifully textured rock.
The rope is tight.. I yelled down to Laura. She said "that's me". Oops .. I yelled down "start walking". She was a little surprised. We simuled a bit until she was scared, and fortunately by then I found a nice horn I could sling and put her on belay. It was within five feet of the bolts.
Up she came. Whoa, scary stuff .. she didn't much care for the wide crack. I wasn't wearing a pack, and she was. Man, is my name mud now ..
But up she came, and I apologized profusely. Brr, my exposed ankles were freezing in the wind (well, my left one anyway, still can't feel temperature in the right one). We were in the sun though, and she signed us into the register (which needs a new notebook).
I rapped off first and took some hero shots -
So in summary, a 50m rope is fine for the rappel from the summit to the saddle, but probably NOT for the climb itself. Next time I'm bringing a 60 ..
We gathered up our stuff and headed up the third class ledges to the summit pinnacle of Cathedral itself. I'd put my approach shoes back on, and scrambled up the fourth class crack to the top, then set up an anchor and belayed Laura up.
"Trust me, it's easy .."
We enjoyed the tiny summit, and I belayed Laura back down to the usual belay stance. Then I flipped the rope over the west face of the pinnacle and had her belay me on toprope as I downclimbed. It was a nice day, but windy and chilly .. we were so out of there :)
We descended the ledges until we could traverse east to the mountaineer's route / descent, and then headed down the talus past the SE Buttress.
We got back to the car at a reasonable hour .. off to the Mobil Mart !!
Recent Trip Reports
Other Routes on Eichorn's Pinnacle