Cathedral Peak (Elk Range, CO; 13,943')

Part of the Elk Range that includes the Maroon Bells and Pyramid Peak, Cathedral Peak is composed of the same rotten maroon-colored rock as its brethren. The most common approach is via scenic Cathedral Lake and the large talus basin behind it.

Topo Map

Routes: South Ridge (I, Class 3)

References: Garratt and Martin, Colorado's High Thirteeners , Cordillera Press 1992

Picture coming soon

Date: August 8, 2009

Party: DB solo

Route: S Ridge (attempted)

Equipment: none

Time: 6 hrs roundtrip to a high point of about 13,300'

Comments: I picked the wrong gully

Trip report:

Cathedral Peak is hard to see from anywhere but another high summit. As a result, one cannot see the approach gully until one is in the large boulder basin east of the mountain, and at that point one sees at least four approach gullies! Turns out the correct one is the one that leads to the lowest point in the South Ridge, but alas, that's not the one I picked. I chose the next one to the right, which turned out to be a nightmarish mix of steep dirt and rotten rock. I fought my way up to about 13,300', where steep icy snow stopped me dead in my tracks as I was wearing sneakers and carried neither ice axe nor crampons. I went up ten feet or so using two sharp rocks in lieu of ice tools, but soon decided that what I was doing was way too dangerous, and backed down. Going back down the gully while staying in control was even harder work than going up. I'll have to come back and try the correct gully!