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Cathedral Range

California > Yosemite NP > Tuolumne Meadows
Access Issue: Yosemite National Park climbing closures and conditions Details

Description

An ocean of granite in the southwest portion of Yosemite National Park, running from Cathedral Peak southeast to around Parsons Peak and Simmons Peak. Between those it includes the remarkable sculpted ridges of the Matthes Crest, Echo Peaks + Ridge, Cockscomb, and Unicorn. Also the summits of Rafferty Peak, Fletcher Peak, Vogelsang Peak.

GPS: Many helpful latitude/longitude points and navigational tracks (especially for the northwestern part) are in a GPX file linked from this page

Climbing peaks and routes include:

  • Cathedral Peak (lat/long approx N37.8478 W119.4055) (alt 10911 ft / 3326 m)
. . . Famous very popular route is SE Buttress (5.6)
. . . The summit is great no matter how you get there.

. . . Famous route is West Pillar (5.9)
. . . Many people also enjoy shorter N face (5.4)

  • Echo Peaks (1 mile / 1.5km S of Cathedral Peak)
. West group
. . . #1 (lat/long ~ N37.83389 W119.40299) - S ridge class 3
. . . #2: S of #1 and N of #3
. . . #3 (N37.83269 W119.40336) (alt ~ 11100ft/3385m)
. . . . . Highest of the Echos - class 3 by N ridge from col betw 1+2.
. . . #4: A narrow fin SSW from #3
. Middle group (W side of Wilts Col)
. . . #5: W of #7
. . . #6: S of #5 and #7
. . . #7: E of #5 and W of Wilts Col
. . Wilts Col (lat/long ~ N37.83426 W119.40073) between #7 and #8.
. East group (E side of Wilts Col)
. . . #8 (N37.83384 W119.40005) - N face, short class 3 from near Wilts col.
. . . #9: (S of #8) The most difficult summit of the Echos.

  • Echo Peaks 1-2-3-4 aretes
. . . Between 1-2-3 (accessed from col 1-2): class 3 with some knife-edge sections
. . . N arete of #1: reported class 5
. . . arete between #3 and #4: not sure of difficulty

  • Echo Ridge (lat/long ~ N37.8348 W119.3959) (alt ~ 11150ft/3400m)
. . . (S above Budd Lake, E of Echo Peaks)
. . . East arete: Interesting climbing with some "knife-edge" sections (class 4/5).

  • Matthes Crest - (lat/long ~ N37.8237 W119.3972) (alt ~ 10880ft/3318m)
. . . Amazing narrow fin of granite (S of Echo Ridge)
. . . S ridge is famous + popular (despite long approach) as a traverse,
. . . usually stopping at the N summit, or the notch betweeen S+N summits.
. . . But it's especially the N ridge which has incomparable arete-climbing features.

  • Wall of E face of ridge S from Cockscomb (lat/long very approximate N37.8215 W119.3865)
. . . perhaps called "Sunrise Wall" - W above Echo Creek.
. . . Three routes 5.8-5.9 reported in R.J.Secor guidebook: The High Sierra (Mountaineers 2009).

  • Cockscomb (lat/long ~ N37.8356 W119.3847) (alt ~ 11050ft/3370m)
. . . (0.5 mile / 0.9km E of Echo Ridge ; 0.7 mile/ 1.1km SSW of Unicorn)
. . . easiest way is W face (class 5) (not very long)
. . . other routes on other aspects - see R.J.Secor guidebook: The High Sierra (Mountaineers 2009).

  • "Althuski" (lat/long ~ N37.8411 W119.3801) (alt ~ 10875ft/3315m)
. . . (0.3 mile/0.5km SSE of Unicorn ; 0.45 mile/0.7km NE of Cockscomb)
. . . Fun if you like scrambling/hopping on big granite talus (some us do), otherwise just a hump of rubble.

  • Unicorn (10823ft/3300m) (lat/long ~ N37.8457 W119.3821)
. . Normal route from E side (Elizabeth Lake trailhead) has some interesting moves (class 4/5) to the highest N summit from the notch between Mid + N summits, but pretty short compared to the length of approach.
. . NNW face to near notch between Mid+N summits from Budd Lake has longer climbing (class 4/5) (but longer approach), can find some additional interesting (optional) moves along the S arete, then descend slabs on the W face of S ridge back toward Budd Lake.
. . other longer routes on other aspects (direct N reported as 5.8 A3) - more info see R.J.Secor guidebook: The High Sierra (Mountaineers 2009).

  • Peak 11357ft (lat/long ~ N37.8033 W119.3637) (about 1 mile SW from Rafferty Peak)
. . . Boss Man (5.11)
. . . reported also a nice 5.8 route - see R.J.Secor guidebook: The High Sierra (Mountaineers 2009).

  • Vogelsang Peak (lat/long ~ N37.7776 W119.3495) (alt ~ 11500ft/3500m)
. . . has at least one route 5.9 or harder (though just reaching the summit does not require climbing moves) - see R.J.Secor guidebook: The High Sierra (Mountaineers 2009). See also Nightingale Arete.

  • Fletcher Peak (lat/long ~ N37.7924 W119.3380) (alt ~ 11400ft/3480m) has routes ranging from class 2 - 4 - 5 - 9 - 10b. See R.J.Secor guidebook: The High Sierra (Mountaineers 2009).

The high-altitude sparsely-vegetated rock-slab terrain makes cross-country travel straightforward, so there are "enchainments" / traverses with sequences of multiple climbing peaks and routes:

Getting There

The interesting climbing is usually accessed from the north, from trailheads on the Tioga Pass highway rt 120 by Tuolumne Meadows.

Photos [Hide ALL Photos]

tricky moves by north end of (optional) overhanging hand traverse
[Hide Photo] tricky moves by north end of (optional) overhanging hand traverse
Free soloing with a friend
[Hide Photo] Free soloing with a friend
Cathedral <br>
Dawn at dawn
[Hide Photo] Cathedral Dawn at dawn
Matthes Crest Sphinx topo
[Hide Photo] Matthes Crest Sphinx topo
Climbers on Pitch 5.
[Hide Photo] Climbers on Pitch 5.
Francesco, below the summit block.
[Hide Photo] Francesco, below the summit block.
From upper cathedral lake
[Hide Photo] From upper cathedral lake
looking down the chimney
[Hide Photo] looking down the chimney
Sunset finish
[Hide Photo] Sunset finish
The massive south face of Cathedral Peak.
[Hide Photo] The massive south face of Cathedral Peak.
Early light on Cathedral Peak
[Hide Photo] Early light on Cathedral Peak