Type: Trad, Alpine, 8 pitches, Grade III
FA: Richard and Joyce Rossiter, 1984
Page Views: 5,318 total · 20/month
Shared By: Julian Smith on Jun 23, 2001 · Updates
Admins: Leo Paik, John McNamee, Frances Fierst, Monty, Monomaniac, Tyler KC

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Access Issue: Closures Details
Access Issue: 2022 Seasonal Falcon Closure Details


This route is located on the second buttress of Cathedral Wall. Approach from the Sky Pond trail, traversing across a talus slope to get just to the right of a large right-facing dihedral, located in the middle of the buttress. The descent is down the back-side and then down Andrews Glacier trail. Coming back to the base of the route is only an option if you are into punishment. So, up and over with everything. The Rossiter guide does list an optional descent as scrambling west up the Cathedral Spires ridge until it is possible to descend talus and a gully to Lake of Glass and the Sky Pond trail.

Pitch 1. Work your way up to gain an unlikely looking crack that goes to a roof. Continue angling up to a ledge on the right (5.9). Locate a blocky face below the trees and roof. Climb a blank face for about 20 feet to gain a faint crack system. Follow intermittent cracks up to the base of the roof making the most of any gear placements. Save a #3 cam for the wide crack below the roof. Either build an anchor or continue up and right to the tree ledge. If you continue, use a double length runner.  

Pitch 2. Climb up through some grubby trees, and follow a right-facing corner up to a ledge (5.6). Step behind the trees to locate a right-angling crack that leads to a long narrow roof. Traverse right for 20 feet an pull the roof where it narrows. Attend to rope drag. After pulling the roof, climb unprotected 5.6 to gain easier terrain. By managing rope drag, P2 can be combined with P3 with a 70m rope.

Pitch 3. Climb a ramp that goes up to the left and belay at the bottom of a right-facing dihedral (5.4).

Pitch 4. Climb the corner and a short, steep crack to a ledge (5.8). From the corner, climb up and left to gain a short headwall (the first of two) with a crack. Pull through the vertical section avoiding loose rock to gain a ledge. Repeat this process for the next headwall and ledge (you have the option to combine with P5 using a 70m rope).

Pitch 5. This pitch is basically a scramble. Go up the ridge through a chimney and belay on a grassy ledge (5.4). Belay among loose rock at the base of the dihedral.

Pitch 6. Climb a right-facing dihedral, and turn a roof at the top. Continue to a belay on a ledge beneath a steep wall (5.8).

Pitch 7. Climb straight up the crack. The Rossiter guide says that this pitch is 5.10a, but it is a very short section of hard stuff. The crack gears up well, and it is really more of a boulder problem. Definitely go for this variation. The other variation hand traverses out to the right from the crack and climbs up the face to a ledge, reportedly, 5.9.

Pitch 8. Climb up the right side of a leaning pillar, turn a small roof, and run the rope out to spot to un-rope and rack the gear (5.6).

Continue to scramble up the gully. Once you reach the notch, angle down to the left over talus, aiming to find the gully described in the descent for Cathedral Wall. Overall, this route is sort of loose, and not continuous in difficulty. An ascent of Cathredral Wall is definitely worth the effort, though. At least this route does not have the letter "s" attached anywhere.


Standard RMNP alpine rock rack.