So I decided on a solo daytrip to the meadows yesterday. Easy climbing. North Face of Eichorn Pinnacle followed by the Cathedral Peak summit were on the agenda, and maybe others if conditions permitted.
As I start the hike I look up. Oh my, I wonder if I could find granite to climb a little closer? Too hard for today though...
In a few minutes I glimpse my destination:
Looking around, this one shows conditions on the NW Butt of Tenaya Peak. That would have been a fun way start the approach to the Eichorn Pinnacle. And it looks climbable. The snow streak below the roof midway would push you into doing a friction traverse under the roof. Not exactly hard (at least if everything is dry) but not my choice for a solo. If I'd only worn my brown pants...
And looking back towards Tenaya Lake:
Here's a waterfall, as I follow the Lower Cathedral Lake spillway up:
At this point there were granite slabs to the left of the stream, dirt hiking on the right. If I were backpacking I'd be on the right of the stream here to avoid this crux of the hike. Yes it's slick-as-snot where it's shiny. My approach shoes have stealth rubber, else I would have changed to rock shoes.
Getting somewhere now. Here's where the water exits Lower Cathedral Lake.
And the lake itself. It took me an hour to reach here from the car, and it wasn't a fast pace. I stopped to take lots of pix, and even to delete a lot of old ones from the camera when it filled up. This is a least twice as fast as I could have gotten here on the John Muir Trail at the same pace.
I'm already on Cathedral Peak, and I think into the approach to the pinnacle at this point. the usual way seems to be 3rd class slabs, but I had done plenty of slab hiking, and chose a 4th and some 5th class route to the pinnacle. The crux of that approach was a little harder than the crux of the north face.
My way up doesn't look popular. In 2 separate places I found no-longer-attached-to-anything rap slings with biners. One was an ancient rusty Liberty biner. This stuff had been there a long time!
There was a party of 4 above me. Leader was at the 1st belay when I got there, and the first follower was traversing to it from the side (on belay). The leader was taking 3 beginners out which seems really cool. I think he picked a great route for it.
The move off the belay was committing, and looked improbable for a solo. The rest of the short North Face was fun too. A stellar route for an onsight solo.
I signed the summit register. The only one I got that day. I had forgotten that the Cathedral Peak summit register & associated bolts were removed.
Looked around and took more pix. Here you can see the north & south summits of Matthes Crest past some of the Echo Peaks.
Rapped off the Summit with a long 6.5mm cord, a DMM Bugette, and a long sling for a harness. Used a leg wrap too to add friction, although I've rapped this way without. The bulk of my pack was the rap cord, and it's tempting to leave it behind, but this is one easy route that I'd rather rap than solo downclimb.
From the base of the pinnacle I made my way along the summit ridge to the true Summit. From my perspective here, it looked like the summit block is the skinny spire in the middle. Looked harder than I wanted to climb. The actual summit is the farthest peak.
Looking back at Eichorn Pinnacle.
I was thinking about climbing Coxcomb & the Unicorn afterwards, maybe traversing from the echo peaks. After descending the scree slope on the east of cat peak, I walked towards the echo peaks ridge to scope it out a little closer, but I decided against because of the snow.
Here is the Coxcomb from cat peak. See the cornice on the ridge to the west.
And the Unicorn:
One of many marmots by the base of the SE Butt of cat peak:
After I decided not to climb further, I hiked down the budd creek trail, eventually going to tenaya lake for a nap, before the drive home. By the lake there was beautiful warm sun, and just enough breeze to keep the mosquitos away. Heaven on earth?
North Face 5.4
Tuolumne Meadows, California USA
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Trip ReportEichorn Pinnacle photo TR. Not dialup safe.
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