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Higher Cathedral Rock
Routes Sorted
L to R R to L Alpha
Blind Man's Bluff T 
Book of Job T 
Braille Book T 
Crucifix, The T 
Mary's Tears T 
Northeast Buttress T 
Perfect Vision T 
Remain in Light S 
Sequel, The T 
Syllable, The T 

Braille Book 

YDS: 5.8 French: 5b Ewbanks: 16 UIAA: VI- ZA: 15 British: HVS 4c

Type:  Trad, 6 pitches, 700'
Original:  YDS: 5.8 French: 5b Ewbanks: 16 UIAA: VI- ZA: 15 British: HVS 4c [details]
FA: Jim Bridwell, Chris Fredericks, Brian Berry and Joe Faint, June 1966
Season: Spring thru Fall
Page Views: 15,459
Submitted By: Anonymous Climber on Jun 15, 2006

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Coming up P3 in the thin nuts section.

Closures for Peregrine Falcon Protection MORE INFO >>>


Braille Book is an awesome route perched way up high at the top of the Cathedral gully. Named for the many knobs that would "allow even a blind many to climb it", this is some fun climbing! An extra bonus to the extremely enjoyable climbing is belaying with a ringside seat to the two Cathedral Spires and Yosemite Valley spread out below you. Although it comes with a bit of a grunt approach, it's well worth the effort for such a nice route. Get up early, this one is popular!

P1) Climb steep and featured wall just right of right-facing corner system. 130'

P2) Jam a crack that heads up and left into the corner. Continue in wide (fist) crack and belay at a small tower with slings. 100'

P3) Climb up crack to right of corner, that dumps you into a slick chimney (watch out tricky move!). Continue up the chimney to belay on small shelf on left at the base of right-arching offwidth crack. Long pitch 185'

P4) Climb right-arching offwidth crack up and right to a shelf. You can continue 20' up to another shelf via a nice and obvious crack. 60'

P5) Climb up face around the corner to the right (tricky!) crossing up and right to gain the top of the buttress above. 90'

P6) Climb up featured face, up and left across the face, headed for the top. Lots of places to go here. Jugs at the top.

Descent: Scramble off the back and then come around to descend gully. Beautiful hike down!


Park on the side of the road (south side) in front of Middle Cathedral Rock. A climbers trail can be accessed from this pullout. Follow the climbers trail all the way up the gully. Approximate time 1.5 hours.

Start climbing on the left side of the base of Higher Cathedral Rock at a right-facing corner system. Watch out that you're not starting up the Book of Job route!


Standard rack; soup to nuts. Don't forget the big stuff!

Photos of Braille Book Slideshow Add Photo
Rock Climbing Photo: Braille Book
BETA PHOTO: Braille Book
Rock Climbing Photo: Braille Book. The big obvious corner that goes up ...
BETA PHOTO: Braille Book. The big obvious corner that goes up ...
Rock Climbing Photo: Starting up Pitch 1 of Braille Book
Starting up Pitch 1 of Braille Book
Rock Climbing Photo: The last easy pitch of Braille Book, one of Bridwe...
The last easy pitch of Braille Book, one of Bridwe...
Rock Climbing Photo: At the P1 belay of Braille Book.
At the P1 belay of Braille Book.
Rock Climbing Photo: Pitch 3
Pitch 3
Rock Climbing Photo: Approaching the P4 belay on Braille Book.
Approaching the P4 belay on Braille Book.
Rock Climbing Photo: Braille Book, looking up at Pitch 3
BETA PHOTO: Braille Book, looking up at Pitch 3
Rock Climbing Photo: On the summit of Braille Book with Higher Cathedra...
On the summit of Braille Book with Higher Cathedra...
Rock Climbing Photo: maybe just a little sandbagged?
maybe just a little sandbagged?
Rock Climbing Photo: Braille Book follows a line to the left of the obv...
BETA PHOTO: Braille Book follows a line to the left of the obv...
Rock Climbing Photo: Dihedral Fun
Dihedral Fun
Rock Climbing Photo: First pitch of Braille Book.
First pitch of Braille Book.
Rock Climbing Photo: Start of P5
Start of P5
Rock Climbing Photo: Kevin Sargent belaying from top of pitch 1. Braill...
Kevin Sargent belaying from top of pitch 1. Braill...
Rock Climbing Photo: Coming up P1
Coming up P1

Comments on Braille Book Add Comment
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Comments displayed oldest to newestSkip Ahead to the Most Recent Dated Jul 23, 2016
By M.Morley
From: Sacramento, CA
Jun 26, 2007

The approach hike is straightforward but steep, gaining 1600' in elevation from car to the base of the route. Count on a solid hour at a brisk pace.

Pitches 5 & 6 link with a 60m rope (180').
By Wesley Ashwood
From: Squamish, BC
Oct 26, 2009

This is a great route to move into 5.8 territory. The 5.6 and 5.7 sections are steep and well protected with fun features everywhere.

I brought an old BD 3.5 that came in handy a few times, you could probably get away with a 3 but for that extra pro its worth lugging along.

Avoid a backpack, its definitely a nuisance in the chimney as well ad the 5.8 OW which is in a pretty sharp corner.

We linked 5 and 6 together with some nasty rope drag and wind, but everything worked out alright.
By Daniel Max Christiansen
From: Green Bay, WI
Jun 18, 2010
rating: 5.9 5c 17 VI 17 HVS 5a

I would say, and the word around the valley is, that due to the greasyness of the 5.8 OW the rating is fairly sandbaged
By mark felber
From: Wheat Ridge, CO
Jul 14, 2011
rating: 5.8 5b 16 VI- 15 HVS 4c

This climb gets my vote for the best 5.8 around. I did it for the first time in 1982, did it many times after that. The hike to the summit of Higher Cathedral Rock is well worth doing, the view of El Cap is spectacular. I've sometimes lowered down a bight of rope and hauled the pack up the OW section, then left it clipped to some gear while I finished the pitch, just to save the second having to carry the pack up that stretch.
By Bonesaw
From: CA
Jan 4, 2012
rating: 5.8+ 5b 16 VI- 15 HVS 4c

One of my favorites of all time! Did it on Jan 2nd, 2012. Can be done in four pitches with a 70m rope.
By thecornyman
From: Oakland, CA
May 25, 2012

Second time up so I tried the 10c variation on p4 and it was really good. The final 10a finger section looked dirty so at that pointed you can also stem back to the regular route. Perfect hand jams on slight overhang. Really fun.
By Sirius
From: Oakland, CA
Jun 11, 2012

Fun and exposed variation goes out right after traversing around the roof that caps the chimney/corner. Up to a ledge on right-slanting corner, then out right to good hands with lots of air under you feet and an amazing view of the complex, tiger-striped face of Higher's east face.

5-star route, no sandbag at 5.8, bring the #4 if in doubt.

Edit: This is not a PG-13 route, and none of the anchors on this route are sketchy if you do 'em right.
By dindolino32
Jul 6, 2012

Good time, there was a lot of easier face climbing that was pretty damn run out especially the 2nd pitch. Bring a #4 for piece of mind. Also 2 #3 camalots helped for piece of mind. I also found my C3s were handy. There was a lot of fixed gear that I clipped but never tested them. Also the pitons on the crux chimney was welcome, otherwise the chimney would have been more dangerous. I still thought it was a PG-13 route. I was also tired from climbing the week before though.
By Brian Prince
From: morro bay, ca
Oct 15, 2012
rating: 5.9 5c 17 VI 17 HVS 5a

I've climbed this twice over two years or so and I still think the crux pitch is harder than anything on the Northeast Buttress. And if you don't bring bigger gear it will sure be scarier too. When I think of the two now, therefore, this one makes me uhhhh way more nervous. Even though the NEB is way longer, I'd say it's way more doable as far as the climbing and pro go. Seriously, one should bring a 4 or 5 if there's any doubt. It's just for the one spot but I'm sure it could probably be used elsewhere
By Xtine
From: Las Vegas and Sierra Eastside
Oct 15, 2012

Great climb at the start of a cold day...I just wanted to warm though: I got stung up pretty nicely by a swarm of yellow jackets that my partner accidentally riled up in the brush as we were hiking off. It was where you hike up an obvious trail right after topping out and it parts faintly to the left or right. We took the left - which included passing through the brush that the hornets reside in. Additionally, later I learned of a girl that was stung up two weeks ago on the same hike off after climbing Book of Job. Be warned!
By mark felber
From: Wheat Ridge, CO
May 13, 2013
rating: 5.8 5b 16 VI- 15 HVS 4c

Regarding the location of the climb, the best place to park is NOT on South Side Drive in front of Middle Cathedral Rock. There are quite a few climber's trails here, most of them leading to various routes on Middle Cathedral Rock. Park on El Capitan Drive, the cross over from North Side Drive to South Side Drive. Walk down to the 3 way intersection of El Capitan Drive and South Side Drive, and there's a very obvious climber's trail at the west end of the intersection. This leads to what is probably the most efficient line up the Spires Gully.There are a few too many climber's trails leading into the Spires Gully, so keeping as much traffic as possible on this trail should minimize our impact on the area.
By Rude Boy
From: San Francisco, CA
May 20, 2013
rating: 5.8+ 5b 16 VI- 15 HVS 4c

The approach description in the previous post is spot on. You will gain a large obvious trail that heads up the gully between Higher Cathedral Rock and The Spires. Use this trail for any routes on Higher Cathedral Rock or Spire. I lead the first four pitches and there was a good amount of runout on some of the face parts and the large gear I plugged into the corner system was questionable at times. The fourth crux pitch felt 5.9 to me but I was kinda tired and not using the best technique at the moment. I was able to get good gear in the corner on the fourth pitch though (two #4 and one #5 Camalot). I was not able to clip the lower fixed pin on pitch 4 because my Black Diamond OZ carabiner would not fit through the eyelet of the pin. Started late and climbed the last pitch in the dark sans head lamp. FUN! That made the route live up to it's name, literally. Easy to get down off of Higher in the dark. You have to go south toward Hanging Valley until it almost cliffs out and then trend south east. It is not harder than class 2 so if you run into cliffs you are going the wrong way. Eventually you wrap around (keep trending left) and then are north east facing. Now follow the obvious trail all the way down the gully and back to the road (same one you came up on). Micro nuts would have been good for some of the belays but we got by without. The belay at the top of pitch 3 was sketchy. The rest are all pretty solid.
By Luke Mehall
From: Durango, Colorado
Jun 7, 2013

Def. plenty of chimney action on this one, I was happy to have an old 4.5 camalot with me (equivalent to modern #5 camalot).

Old school 1960s Jim Bridwell route! proud line done way before cams. props.
By Avon
Jan 11, 2014

One of the first ascensionist' name is incorrect. Brian Betty is actually Brian Berry.
By Ed Henicle
Sep 13, 2015

We took 2 #4's, and a #5 to protect the wide sections, and a few small cams for the thin cracks - great day in the Valley
By Tatiana C
From: Oakland, CA
May 3, 2016
rating: 5.8+ 5b 16 VI- 15 HVS 4c

Climbed this on April 30, 2016 and there are 2 very loose blocks/pieces on pitches 2 and 3 (or maybe 2 and 4?). Also, make sure you're not going up the descent gully (depicted) on the approach. ;)

Rock Climbing Photo: The descent gully
The descent gully
By Andrew Voss 1
Jun 8, 2016

Dropped an approach shoe from my pack from the belay just below the right arching off width (p4). Message me if found (thanks!).

Did this route in 4 pitches with a 70 m. Pitch 1 to the slings on the vertically aligned pitons. This used the whole rope. Then pitch 2 to the base of the right arching off width. P3 was the standard p4, the right arching off width. Then 5 and 6 (our p4) could be linked to the top, on great easy climbing.
By Alex Wyvill
Jul 23, 2016

Detailed trip report of our ascent can be found at goodlooksandcamhooks.wordpress...

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