Cathedral Peak (Sierra Nevada; 10,911')

Cathedral Peak is one of many granite summits in the Tuolomne Meadows section of Yosemite National Park. It's Southeast Buttress offers a great moderate alpine route with many variations. The standard descent is towards the west, which makes it easy to combine the climb with Eichorn Pinnacle .

Topo Map

Routes: SE Buttress, Variation B (I-II, 5.7)


Cathedral Peak in late August from the North

Date: August 26, 2006

Party: Dietrich and Paul Belitz

Route: SE Buttress

Equipment: Alpine rack to Camalot #3

Time: 11 hrs roundtrip from Tioga Road, including Eichorn Pinnacle

Comments: We got stuck behind a very slow party

Trip report:

Our first big objective in Tuolomne Meadows was Cathedral Peak, which we had seen from Cathedral Lakes the year before. When we arrived at the buttress there were already at least two parties ahead of us. We followed them on what seemed to be Variation B in the supertopo. The climbing was nice and easy, and we combined the first two pitches into one by Paul simulclimbing the first 20 or so feet. Paul led the pitch leading to the ledge and moved left, past the chimney, to Variation B on the left side of the buttress.

I led the next (crux) pitch, which turned out to be harder than I expected. The moves are not all that hard for 5.7, but the crux traverse into a good crack to the right turned out to be tricky to protect, and hence unnerving. I finally found a no-hands stem, placed an okay small stopper, and made it into the crack. The rest was much easier, and we soon caught up with the party ahead of us. After waiting for a long time we finally got to the summit, which offers room for just two people.

The standard descent is to the west, which took me a while to realize. Paul downled the first 20 feet, placing pro for me. After that the terrain eases to third class, and we unroped. We decided that we had enough food left in camp, so we did not have to be at the store before 6pm, and continued over to Eichorn Pinnacle (see separate trip report). Then we descended the third-class slabs to Cathedral Lakes Trail and hiked out past Fairview Dome.

Very nice climb!

Photo Gallery:

Click the thumbnails to see a higher resolution image

The buttress from the approach.

Dietrich leading the first pitch.

Paul on the ledge, waiting for another party.

Dietrich on the next-to-last pitch.

Paul taking a self-portrait on the summit.

View of Eichorn Pinnacle and Cathedral Lakes from just below the summit.