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Routes in Church Tower

East Arete T 5.5 4b 13 IV+ 11 MS 4a
Wrong Arete T 5.7 5a 15 V+ 13 MVS 4b PG13
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Access Issue: Yosemite National Park climbing closures and conditions Details

Description

Church Tower is a relatively little known spire, yet thousands of people walk right by it every year on their way to Middle and Higher Cathedral Rocks, and Lower and Higher Cathedral Spires. The Tower, and 3 or 4 routes on it, were described in Roper's Guide to the Valley (the Green Book), and it is obliquely mentioned in Reid, but has mostly fallen off the radar.

According to Valley legend, Church Tower is frequently climbed in the mistaken belief that it is actually Lower Cathedral Spire!

Getting There

From the Spires Gulley parking area(s), head up the climbers' trail toward Lower Cathedral Spire. This consists of following the trail back into the woods, walking left (east) a few dozen yards along the horse trail, then taking a trail toward the right (south). After a few dozen more yards, where the trail forks, take a left toward the Cathedral Boulders. Walk back through the boulders and continue up the trail that exits south and up, out of the back of the area. This steep user trail heads up a slope to the left (east) of the Spires. Continue up through the forest until you emerge into a boulder-strewn gulley. From here you can see the lower northeast side of Church Tower. For the East Arete or the SW Arete routes you want to continue up the boulder-strewn gulley until you can clearly see the saddle between Church Tower and Lower Cathedral Spire.

2 Total Climbs

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The "trail that exits south and up" is easy to miss. There are two cairns on the left side of the well worn climbers trail. This turn off is only a couple hundred feet past the boulders. Otherwise great description of approach! Apr 2, 2018

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