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Cardinal Pinnacle
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West Face 
Unsorted Routes:

West Face 

YDS: 5.10a French: 6a Ewbanks: 18 UIAA: VI+ British: E1 5a

   
Type:  Trad, 4 pitches, 550'
Consensus:  YDS: 5.10a French: 6a Ewbanks: 18 UIAA: VI+ British: E1 5a [details]
FA: ?
Season: Not Winter
Page Views: 9,595
Submitted By: Adam Winters on Apr 7, 2007
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Unknown climber enjoys the second pitch. May 2010

Description 

A perfect introduction to the Pinnacle...

West Face consists of four pitches featuring great climbing on immaculate white Sierra granite. The route joins up with the second pitch of 'Cucumbers' near the start of pitch 3. As a bonus, the first pitch of 'Cucumbers' can be rapped into and/or top-roped by building an anchor on a good ledge 30 feet to the right of the third pitch belay station of 'The West Face'. We rapped off our gear, pulled ropes and led the first pitch of 'Cukes' (recommended) because it looked too good to pass up, and it was...

Pitch 1: Start at the detached block/flake with finger cracks in both sides (the right side is slightly easier, both 5.8-9ish). Climb cracks and corners with good gear straight up then make a big step out right just below the bush into the next finger crack (crux). Make some fun moves using a thin crack and face holds up to a huge ledge that runs to your left (this will be your last rappel station on your descent), then continue up and right a short distance to a bolt anchor on a ledge (5.10a)

Pitch 2: Follow the nice clean corner with good hands over the lip, then traverse right towards the next clean-cut, left-facing dihedral. Good features on the face just left of the seam lead to the top of the corner. Step right around the arete (crux) to the bolt anchor on a small but comfortable stance. (5.10a)

Pitch 3: (joins pitch 2 of 'Cucumbers') Step up and traverse right for 20ish feet, continuing straight up on face holds and broken crack systems to gain the short but beautiful finger and hand crack on the slab. Go left at the horizontal break and belay with hand-size cams at the base of the chimney. (5.9+)

Pitch 4: Climb the chimney and handcrack, then instead of going straight up the corner, break left onto semi-chossy face holds to the exposed block with the rappel anchor. (5.7-8)

Descent: Four 35 meter rappels (two 60m ropes/one 70m). On the first rappel head for the (climber's) left side of the giant roof. You can also walk off around the back, but why would you do such a thing?


Location 

Hike up the steep talus to the left side of the pinnacle under the giant roofs. Find the short block with cracks up both sides and you're off.


Protection 

Standard rack to #3 camalot (#4 possible), bring one or two extra hand-sized cams for the belay at the top of pitch 3.
Two 60m ropes/one 70m.



Photos of West Face Slideshow Add Photo
'The West Face'
BETA PHOTO: 'The West Face'
another view of Sabrina
another view of Sabrina
J on the final traverse on P3
J on the final traverse on P3
Josh at what felt like the crux of pitch 3.
Josh at what felt like the crux of pitch 3.
This is one scary-ass rap off the prow of Cardinal.
BETA PHOTO: This is one scary-ass rap off the prow of Cardinal...
The money shot on pitch 3.  <br /> <br />
The money shot on pitch 3.

The big step across on pitch 1. A good view of the starting block/face.
The big step across on pitch 1. A good view of the...
Start of p2. The money pitch.
Start of p2. The money pitch.
Jascha following P1
Jascha following P1
The beautiful finger crack high on pitch 3.
The beautiful finger crack high on pitch 3.
almost at the P1 belay
almost at the P1 belay
pretty nice views for a roadside crag
pretty nice views for a roadside crag
looking back down P2 from just after the crux
looking back down P2 from just after the crux
Mitch Musci stems in a nice opposing corner in the middle of pitch 1, just before stepping out right to the next crack (crux)
Mitch Musci stems in a nice opposing corner in the...
closeup of the second 10a crux
BETA PHOTO: closeup of the second 10a crux
Pitch 4 chimney. Felt more like 5.7 to me.
Pitch 4 chimney. Felt more like 5.7 to me.
looking to Sabrina
looking to Sabrina
rap
rap
Setting up the belay at the first station.
Setting up the belay at the first station.
at the first rap head climber's left
BETA PHOTO: at the first rap head climber's left
Another look at Mitch on pitch 3.  The top rap anchors can be seen in the upper left corner on the protruding block.
Another look at Mitch on pitch 3. The top rap anc...
Barry at the end of pitch 2, just after the 10a corner.
Barry at the end of pitch 2, just after the 10a co...
Leading the start of the sweet pitch 2 corner. <br /> <br />September 2010
Leading the start of the sweet pitch 2 corner.

Se...
Looking down to the belay and talus on pitch 3.
Looking down to the belay and talus on pitch 3.
Mitch Musci making the short traverse at the start of pitch 3.
Mitch Musci making the short traverse at the start...
Josh at the 3rd belay with the fourth pitch directly above.
Josh at the 3rd belay with the fourth pitch direct...
view of Lake Sabrina and environs from the West Face
view of Lake Sabrina and environs from the West Fa...
Barry heading up pitch 3 with a lot of air below. You can see our cars parked on the road below.
Barry heading up pitch 3 with a lot of air below. ...
Tyson rounding the corner on P2 after the second crux.
Tyson rounding the corner on P2 after the second c...
Rap off the West Face. Same rap for other routes too.
Rap off the West Face. Same rap for other routes t...
the usual photo op on P3
the usual photo op on P3
3rd pitch belay
3rd pitch belay
Comments on West Face Add Comment
Show which comments
Comments displayed oldest to newestSkip Ahead to the Most Recent Dated Apr 28, 2013
By Sam Prentice
From: CA
Oct 10, 2008

Pitch 1: One airy step right (10a) at the changing corners will keep you on route. An additional fun, airy move further to the right will put you at the bottom of a clean fist crack (20ft, 5.8). A fun deviation, if not part of the route proper.

By fossana
From: Boulder, CO
Jun 28, 2010

#4 not really necessary. For me the slab traverse felt harder than the the 10a moves.

By PumpkinEater
From: Sacramento
Aug 16, 2010

This is an awesome route! Great views, great climbing and quick approach.

Note: it's quite easy to miss the traverse left on big holds at the end of the last pitch by mistakenly making a few 5.9 moves up a clean corner finger crack. If you do this, you'll be at the base of a 5.10ish OW right slanting crack on your left. My partner and I mistakenly ended up here but, rather than top out, we down-climbed a little to get back on route. If you do go up the OW, it will be possible to downclimb 4th class to the rap anchor at the top of the descent.

By trying hard
From: East side Sierra
Aug 23, 2010

great route! Best views. Scary as trash on the repels.

By Aerili
From: Salt Lake City, UT
Sep 8, 2010

Pitch 3: "Go left at the horizontal break and belay with hand-size cams at the base of a chimney." Hand-size meaning GIANT hand-size. 3-4" hands! Ideally one 3" and TWO 4"! (But, mind you, one of each will work.) 1-2" hand-sizers won't do if you want to sit on the comfy ledge below the wide crack, geez.

If the slab traverse felt harder than the 10a moves, I would say you are off route. There is no hard slab on this route.

By C-Tuttle
Sep 29, 2010

One of my favriote routes of it's grade! I would sudgest on the last pitch after the short chimney follow up and right up a fingercrack to a wide right leaning crack, for some this may be O/W but climbs around 10c. This is a much more exciting finnish that actually put's you at the summit! The rap off is prety exciting!

By fossana
From: Boulder, CO
May 21, 2011

Climbed the route again. I definitely traversed too high last time.

By slim
Administrator
Jul 12, 2011
rating: 5.10a 6a 18 VI+ E1 5a

really fun route with good rock, good pro, exciting and varied climbing, grat views, nice belay ledges. fantastic. crux seemed like the end of the 2nd pitch. kind of blank (like a sheet of glass), but it comes together.

at the end of P3 you can use smaller hand sized pieces (#1 and #2 camalot) on top of the block. aerilli probably missed this because she might be vertically challenged ;) (just giving you a hard time). when i got to that spot i was kind of like WTF? then i looked on top and was able to get some pieces in.

By Aerili
From: Salt Lake City, UT
Jul 15, 2011

slim, I didn't miss those pieces up higher, but those placements make for a more uncomfortable belay...and I wanted to sit on the ledge.

By slim
Administrator
Jul 15, 2011
rating: 5.10a 6a 18 VI+ E1 5a

i used the pieces and sat on the ledge. were you tied into the anchor with the rope, or a daisy chain? i just made the anchor with the rope. definitely nice to sit on the ledge. we had climbed for quite a few days, and that pitch was a bit slabby. wanted to rest my toes a bit and vedge out while staring at the awesome view.

By Adam Winters
Administrator
From: the Shire
Sep 15, 2011

Yeah never had a problem sitting on the ledge myself.

By Simon Hatfield
From: Oakland, CA
Sep 22, 2011
rating: 5.10a 6a 18 VI+ E1 5a

The first rap is 30m, the next 35, and the next two are 60 combined. You can make it to the ground in 3 raps with two ropes.

I was very glad to have brought a set of C3's, and dont forget plenty of small-med stoppers.

I ended up on a splitter .5 camalot crack on P3, by cutting possibly more right than I should have. While turning the corner on P2 is certainly a mental crux, I was surprised by P3's difficulty, and thought it deserving of a 5.10a rating as well.

By Brian Treanor
Oct 11, 2011
rating: 5.9+ 5c 17 VI E1 5a

I'd call this route 5.9 (and we climbed it with significant snow and ice on the first two pitches). However, I'd also add that the second pitch is one of the best 5.9's I've ever done, rivaling the final pitch of the 3rd Pillar of Dana. Highly recommended.

By Tom Fralich
From: Fort Collins, CO
Aug 8, 2012

Great climb! Easy for the grade and very well protected.

By grega
Apr 19, 2013

Umm yeah. Looks to be a cool route. In fact today (4/19/13) it was way too cool. Kicked, slipped, groveled, and belly flopped myself up the first (or mostly) pitch. No it's not really that hard of a climb. When your wife talks you into climbing this route (in April) keep in mind it'll be quite the Alpine experience. The routes stays in the shade until at LEAST 3pm and the first pitch could be full of snow and ice thus boots and crampons may have had better traction than wet/icy 5.10 rubber. ;-)

cheers..

By Zirkel
From: Bishop, CA
Apr 28, 2013

End of April: Arrived at the base at noon. Climbed P1 in the shade, the rest in the warm direct sunshine. You will be glad you packed 3 C2's for the start of P2.

P3 WAS UTTERLY AMAZING!!!

Placed a C2, 3 and 3.5 for the P3 belay. Placed another C3 and 4 in the short chimney section at the start of P4. Four raps with a 70 meter rope. The rappels were some of the most engaging I've done in 30+ years of climbing.

Sustained climbing, multiple cruxes, good pro, lots of exposure. Classic high Sierra route. And Bishop Creek Lodge has Arrogant Bastard Ale on tap for post-climb ruminations!