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Routes in Middle Cathedral Rock

Ants Are Fat T 5.9 5c 17 VI 17 HVS 5a
Bircheff-Williams T 5.11b 6c 23 VIII- 23 E3 5c
Border Country T 5.12c 7b+ 27 IX- 27 E6 6b R
Bottom Feeder T 5.10a 6a 18 VI+ 18 E1 5a PG13
Cat Dancing T 5.10a 6a 18 VI+ 18 E1 5a
Central Pillar of Frenzy T 5.9 5c 17 VI 17 HVS 5a
Desperate for Doughnuts T 5.8+ 5b 16 VI- 15 HVS 4c
Direct North Buttress (DNB) T 5.10b 6a+ 19 VII- 19 E2 5b
East Buttress T 5.10c 6b 20 VII 20 E2 5b A0
Ennui T 5.11a 6c 22 VII+ 22 E3 5c PG13
Exodus T 5.10b 6a+ 19 VII- 19 E2 5b PG13
Fall Guy T 5.10b 6a+ 19 VII- 19 E2 5b
Father Time T 5.13b 8a 29 IX+ 30 E7 6c PG13
Flakes, The T 5.8 5b 16 VI- 15 HVS 4c R
Freewheelin' T 5.10b 6a+ 19 VII- 19 E2 5b R
Ho Chi Minh Trail T 5.10c 6b 20 VII 20 E2 5b
Home Run T 5.10d 6b+ 21 VII+ 21 E3 5b PG13
Kor-Beck T 5.9 5c 17 VI 17 HVS 5a
Monogamish T 5.11c/d 7a 24 VIII 25 E4 6a R
North Buttress T 5.10a 6a 18 VI+ 18 E1 5a
Paradise Lost T 5.10a 6a 18 VI+ 18 E1 5a PG13
Pedestal, The T,TR 5.8 5b 16 VI- 15 HVS 4c
Pee Pee Pillar T 5.10a 6a 18 VI+ 18 E1 5a
Pee Pee Pillar Left T 5.7 5a 15 V+ 13 MVS 4b
Quicksilver T 5.9 5c 17 VI 17 HVS 5a R
Rainbow bridge S 5.11d 7a 24 VIII 25 E5 6a
Ramer S 5.10c 6b 20 VII 20 E2 5b
Slip on Slime S 5.9 5c 17 VI 17 HVS 5a
Space Babble T 5.11a 6c 22 VII+ 22 E3 5c R
Spank Your Monkey T 5.10b 6a+ 19 VII- 19 E2 5b PG13
Stand And Deliver T,TR 5.8 5b 16 VI- 15 HVS 4c
Stoner's Highway T 5.10c 6b 20 VII 20 E2 5b R
Stupid Pet Tricks T 5.10b 6a+ 19 VII- 19 E2 5b
Tapestry T 5.9 5c 17 VI 17 HVS 5a R
Tears of Joy T 5.10a 6a 18 VI+ 18 E1 5a
Together Forever T 5.9 5c 17 VI 17 HVS 5a
Walk of Life T 5.10d 6b+ 21 VII+ 21 E3 5b PG13

Description

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!
Closures for Peregrine Falcon Protection Details

Getting There

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

Descent

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."

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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
The Flakes
Trad 8 pitches
5.9 5c 17 VI 17 HVS 5a
Central Pillar of Frenzy
Trad 5 pitches
5.9 5c 17 VI 17 HVS 5a
Kor-Beck
Trad 6 pitches
5.9 5c 17 VI 17 HVS 5a R
Quicksilver
Trad 4 pitches
5.10a 6a 18 VI+ 18 E1 5a
Pee Pee Pillar
Trad
5.10a 6a 18 VI+ 18 E1 5a PG13
Paradise Lost
Trad 7 pitches
5.10b 6a+ 19 VII- 19 E2 5b
Direct North Buttress (DNB)
Trad 17 pitches
5.10b 6a+ 19 VII- 19 E2 5b R
Freewheelin'
Trad 5 pitches
5.10c 6b 20 VII 20 E2 5b R
Stoner's Highway
Trad 10 pitches
5.10c 6b 20 VII 20 E2 5b
Ho Chi Minh Trail
Trad 19 pitches
5.10c 6b 20 VII 20 E2 5b
Ramer
Sport
5.10c 6b 20 VII 20 E2 5b A0
East Buttress
Trad, Aid 11 pitches
5.11b 6c 23 VIII- 23 E3 5c
Bircheff-Williams
Trad 5 pitches
5.12c 7b+ 27 IX- 27 E6 6b R
Border Country
Trad 12 pitches
5.13b 8a 29 IX+ 30 E7 6c PG13
Father Time
Trad 20 pitches
The Flakes 5.8 5b 16 VI- 15 HVS 4c R Trad 8 pitches
Central Pillar of Frenzy 5.9 5c 17 VI 17 HVS 5a Trad 5 pitches
Kor-Beck 5.9 5c 17 VI 17 HVS 5a Trad 6 pitches
Quicksilver 5.9 5c 17 VI 17 HVS 5a R Trad 4 pitches
Pee Pee Pillar 5.10a 6a 18 VI+ 18 E1 5a Trad
Paradise Lost 5.10a 6a 18 VI+ 18 E1 5a PG13 Trad 7 pitches
Direct North Buttress (DNB) 5.10b 6a+ 19 VII- 19 E2 5b Trad 17 pitches
Freewheelin' 5.10b 6a+ 19 VII- 19 E2 5b R Trad 5 pitches
Stoner's Highway 5.10c 6b 20 VII 20 E2 5b R Trad 10 pitches
Ho Chi Minh Trail 5.10c 6b 20 VII 20 E2 5b Trad 19 pitches
Ramer 5.10c 6b 20 VII 20 E2 5b Sport
East Buttress 5.10c 6b 20 VII 20 E2 5b A0 Trad, Aid 11 pitches
Bircheff-Williams 5.11b 6c 23 VIII- 23 E3 5c Trad 5 pitches
Border Country 5.12c 7b+ 27 IX- 27 E6 6b R Trad 12 pitches
Father Time 5.13b 8a 29 IX+ 30 E7 6c PG13 Trad 20 pitches
More Classic Climbs in Middle Cathedral Rock »

Weather Averages

High
 
Low
 
Precip
 
Days w Precip
 
Prime Climbing Season
Empty
J F M A M J J A S O N D
J F M A M J J A S O N D
Bryan G
Yosemite
Bryan G   Yosemite
To descend 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. Oct 20, 2014

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