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Elevation: 6,234 ft 1,900 m
GPS: 37.7165, -119.6363
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Shared By: Josh Janes on Jun 15, 2006 · Updates
Admins: Mike Morley, Adam Stackhouse, Salamanizer Ski, Justin Johnsen, Vicki Schwantes
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Description Suggest change

Anywhere else in the world, a rock formation the size and quality of Middle Cathedral Rock would be a full-on climbing area in it's own right. It has the unfortunate problem of residing right across the road from THE ROCK (El Capitan), however. Still, Middle Cathedral has some excellent, long free routes on it that are well worth checking out. The most popular route on MCR is probably The East Buttress (5.9 A0 or 10c), included in the 50 Classic Climbs of North America. The next most trafficed route is probably Central Pillar of Frenzy (5.9), a nice crack line to the right of the East Butt (most parties climb five pitches and then rappel).

Warning: Some rockfall has occurred on MCR in the area of the Direct North Buttress (DNB) route and in the descent gully. Ask around for the latest scoop and watch your head!

Getting There Suggest change

Middle Cathedral Rock is the (surprise!) middle of the three Cathedral Rocks, found just south across the valley from El Capitan.

Descent

Suggest change
Rap Route beta - Supertopo (scroll down page for full color picture of the rap route)

Bryan G. adds descent beta from the summit of Middle Cathedral: "There are several potential ways to get down from the top of Middle. The option which looked the best to us is as follows:
Begin by hiking downhill towards Higher Cathedral Rock. Heavy bushwhacking will be encountered. By staying near the left edge of the ridge (above Cathedral Gully) and with careful route finding we were able to make it down to the notch without too much difficulty. From here you scramble up 3rd class ledges and ramps with only minor bushwhacking until you're nearly to the summit of HCR. Then you can simply walk east and pick up the well-established descent trail which leads into the Spires Gully. **Don't try avoid scrambling up HCR by contouring east too soon or you'll encounter a ridge of 5th class rock blocking your path.

A couple other descent options mentioned in the Reid guide include:

-Descending slabs to the northeast to gain the Katwalk. Depending on the number of rappels required, this option could either be great or terrible, I don't know. It probably involves some fairly complex route finding in any case.

- Descending to the Middle-Higher notch, then hiking southwest toward Bridalveil Creek before contouring into the Gunsight. I'm pretty sure this is an ungodly bushwhack. Don't even think about it."

60 Total Climbs

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Location: 6. Middle Cathedral Rock Change
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Classic Climbing Routes at Middle Cathedral Rock

Mountain Project's determination of the classic, most popular, highest rated climbing routes in this area.
5.8 5b 16 VI- 15 HVS 4c R
 7
The Flakes
Trad 8 pitches
5.9 5c 17 VI 17 HVS 5a
 1,099
Central Pillar of Frenzy
Trad 5 pitches
5.9 5c 17 VI 17 HVS 5a
 172
Kor-Beck
Trad 13 pitches
5.9 5c 17 VI 17 HVS 5a R
 12
Quicksilver
Trad 4 pitches
5.10a 6a 18 VI+ 18 E1 5a
 129
Pee Pee Pillar
Trad
5.10b 6a+ 19 VII- 19 E2 5b
 40
Direct North Buttress (DNB)
Trad 17 pitches
5.10b 6a+ 19 VII- 19 E2 5b R
 16
Freewheelin'
Trad 5 pitches
5.10c 6b 20 VII 20 E2 5b R
 63
Stoner's Highway
Trad 10 pitches
5.10c 6b 20 VII 20 E2 5b
 15
Ramer
Sport
5.10c 6b 20 VII 20 E2 5b A0
 892
East Buttress
Trad, Aid 11 pitches
5.10d 6b+ 21 VII+ 21 E3 5b
 23
Ho Chi Minh Trail
Trad 19 pitches
5.11a 6c 22 VII+ 22 E3 5c R
 6
Space Babble
Trad 7 pitches
5.11d 7a 24 VIII 25 E5 6a
 38
Bircheff-Williams
Trad 5 pitches
5.12c 7b+ 27 IX- 27 E6 6b R
 28
Border Country
Trad 12 pitches
5.13b 8a 29 IX+ 30 E7 6c PG13
 10
Father Time
Trad 20 pitches
Route Name Location Star Rating Difficulty Date
The Flakes
 7
5.8 5b 16 VI- 15 HVS 4c R Trad 8 pitches
Central Pillar of Frenzy
 1,099
5.9 5c 17 VI 17 HVS 5a Trad 5 pitches
Kor-Beck
 172
5.9 5c 17 VI 17 HVS 5a Trad 13 pitches
Quicksilver
 12
5.9 5c 17 VI 17 HVS 5a R Trad 4 pitches
Pee Pee Pillar
 129
5.10a 6a 18 VI+ 18 E1 5a Trad
Direct North Buttress (DNB)
 40
5.10b 6a+ 19 VII- 19 E2 5b Trad 17 pitches
Freewheelin'
 16
5.10b 6a+ 19 VII- 19 E2 5b R Trad 5 pitches
Stoner's Highway
 63
5.10c 6b 20 VII 20 E2 5b R Trad 10 pitches
Ramer
 15
5.10c 6b 20 VII 20 E2 5b Sport
East Buttress
 892
5.10c 6b 20 VII 20 E2 5b A0 Trad, Aid 11 pitches
Ho Chi Minh Trail
 23
5.10d 6b+ 21 VII+ 21 E3 5b Trad 19 pitches
Space Babble
 6
5.11a 6c 22 VII+ 22 E3 5c R Trad 7 pitches
Bircheff-Williams
 38
5.11d 7a 24 VIII 25 E5 6a Trad 5 pitches
Border Country
 28
5.12c 7b+ 27 IX- 27 E6 6b R Trad 12 pitches
Father Time
 10
5.13b 8a 29 IX+ 30 E7 6c PG13 Trad 20 pitches
More Classic Climbs in Middle Cathedral Rock »

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