Approaching Cathedral Peak


Original Post
Jake wander · · Unknown Hometown · Joined Aug 2014 · Points: 165

Hey guys,

Looking for advice for approaching Cathedral Peak from Cathedral Lake. Not sure which lake I will be camping at, hopefully Upper Cathedral, but I will just have to see how crowded it is when we get there.

Based on google earth, it looks like I can make a direct (heading northeast from the lake) approach off trail as opposed to the normal approach which heads south on the Budd Creek trail. Taking the Budd Creek trail would me I would need to essentially circle the peak.

Does anyone know if the approach Ive mentioned is doable/decent? Thanks. 

Ben Ricketts · · Salt Lake City, UT · Joined Apr 2009 · Points: 30

You can easily walk cross country from Cathedral Lakes to the routes on cathedral peak.  You'll be fine, go for it.  The cross country hiking in that zone is super easy and very enjoyable.  

wsperry · · San Jose/Lafayette · Joined Aug 2014 · Points: 110


The approach you mention is totally mellow and accurate .... with no snow. There might be snow at that elevation on the saddle right now, there might not be.
But even with snow, that big ramp that meets the Cathedral Saddle is not steep and is probably manageable if it is patchy. Hope that helps. 

Mei · · Unknown Hometown · Joined Jul 2015 · Points: 40

I recorded my track when I did Tenaya - Matthes - Cathedral last year and took the cross country route back to Tenaya passing by Lower Cathedral Lake. If you are interested, PM me and I can send you the activity page so you can inspect the Satellite image overlay. It shows some big trails once you zoom in. I remember some parts of the descent from Catheral Peak were a bit steep, but I survived. Ascending is usually easier than descending. 

fivefun · · Unknown Hometown · Joined Apr 2011 · Points: 15

A long time ago when I first climbed Cathedral I blew the approach by missing the Cathedral climbers trail. We ended up pretty much doing the approach to Eichorn's West Face and continued around to the base of Cathedral. Super easy. 

JaredG · · Tucson, AZ · Joined Aug 2011 · Points: 0

Two partners and I did exactly this approach yesterday, with camping gear (after bailing on going to Matthes).  No problem.  From Upper Cathedral just shoot cross-country for the ridgeline between Cathedral and Echo peaks, aiming closer to Cathedral.  Not much snow on this part, and what's there is passable.  Getting up to Upper Cathedral Lake, on the other hand, is quite snowy.  I was happy to have crampons for some sections, but they're probably not mandatory if you're going in the afternoon and snow is softer.

Jake wander · · Unknown Hometown · Joined Aug 2014 · Points: 165

Thanks everyone. I'm not going to mid August so I shouldn't have any issues with snow. 

Thanks again

wsperry · · San Jose/Lafayette · Joined Aug 2014 · Points: 110
JaredG wrote:

Two partners and I did exactly this approach yesterday, with camping gear (after bailing on going to Matthes).  No problem.  From Upper Cathedral just shoot cross-country for the ridgeline between Cathedral and Echo peaks, aiming closer to Cathedral.  Not much snow on this part, and what's there is passable.  Getting up to Upper Cathedral Lake, on the other hand, is quite snowy.  I was happy to have crampons for some sections, but they're probably not mandatory if you're going in the afternoon and snow is softer.

Jared, why did you bail from Matthes?

Jake wander · · Unknown Hometown · Joined Aug 2014 · Points: 165

another quick question, is theft from dispersed campsites common in tuolmne? we were hoping to leave our tent set up for the entire trip while we are out climbing or hiking around. any issue there? do people really "lock" their tents?

AndrewArroz · · Unknown Hometown · Joined Jan 2016 · Points: 10
Jake wander wrote:

another quick question, is theft from dispersed campsites common in tuolmne? we were hoping to leave our tent set up for the entire trip while we are out climbing or hiking around. any issue there? do people really "lock" their tents?

"Dispersed campsites?" There's a campground at Tuolumne Meadows but no dispersed camping. And the rangers are VERY on top of anyone just slipping into the woods a few hundred yards to camp. This is Yosemite, after all.

If you mean the main campground, no, nobody is going to steal your tent or sleeping stuff left in it. 

FrankPS · · Atascadero, CA · Joined Nov 2009 · Points: 275
Jake wander wrote:

another quick question, is theft from dispersed campsites common in tuolmne? we were hoping to leave our tent set up for the entire trip while we are out climbing or hiking around. any issue there? do people really "lock" their tents?

You need, and should get, a wilderness permit for overnight camping in Tuolumne outside of the campground.

Jake wander · · Unknown Hometown · Joined Aug 2014 · Points: 165
FrankPS wrote:

You need, and should get, a wilderness permit for overnight camping in Tuolumne outside of the campground.

already have one

FrankPS · · Atascadero, CA · Joined Nov 2009 · Points: 275
Jake wander wrote:

already have one

Good man! 

Jake wander · · Unknown Hometown · Joined Aug 2014 · Points: 165
AndrewArroz wrote:

"Dispersed campsites?" There's a campground at Tuolumne Meadows but no dispersed camping. And the rangers are VERY on top of anyone just slipping into the woods a few hundred yards to camp. This is Yosemite, after all.

If you mean the main campground, no, nobody is going to steal your tent or sleeping stuff left in it. 

there is backcountry camping and there are no campsites. I have a backcountry permit for 3 nights in Tuolumne entering at the Cathedral Lakes TH

FrankPS · · Atascadero, CA · Joined Nov 2009 · Points: 275
Jake wander wrote:

there is backcountry camping and there are no campsites. I have a backcountry permit for 3 nights in Tuolumne entering at the Cathedral Lakes TH

Jake,

I haven't heard of backcountry campsites being burglarized, but if you're close to the road, or a dayhiker's trail,  there is a risk. Don't leave your valuables in camp when you're gone (passport, wallet, smartphone, cash, etc.) 

Jake wander · · Unknown Hometown · Joined Aug 2014 · Points: 165
FrankPS wrote:

Jake,

I haven't heard of backcountry campsites being burglarized, but if you're close to the road, or a dayhiker's trail,  there is a risk. Don't leave your valuables in camp when you're gone (passport, wallet, smartphone, cash, etc.) 

thanks

AndrewArroz · · Unknown Hometown · Joined Jan 2016 · Points: 10
Jake wander wrote:

there is backcountry camping and there are no campsites. I have a backcountry permit for 3 nights in Tuolumne entering at the Cathedral Lakes TH

Got it. In these parts "dispersed camping" normally is a reference to informal, dispersed BLM land car camping like the dry lake outside J-Tree or the Alabama Hills. Camping of all kinds in Yosemite is very closely overseen. I think their rule before they consider it "backcountry" camping is 4 trail miles from Tuolumne Meadows. Which is just before Cathedral Lakes.

Definitely you aren't going to get ripped off leaving your backcountry campsite at Cathedral Lakes unattended. Except maybe by a bear. 

JaredG · · Tucson, AZ · Joined Aug 2011 · Points: 0
wsperry wrote:

Jared, why did you bail from Matthes?

We left kinda late, were moving slowly due to the snow and trail-finding, and we were climbing as a party of 3 with the third person being quite inexperienced (and tired!).

Guideline #1: Don't be a jerk.

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