Type: Trad, Alpine, 7 pitches, Grade III
FA: Laton Kor and friend
Page Views: 5,135 total · 20/month
Shared By: paco on Jan 23, 2002
Admins: Leo Paik, John McNamee, Frances Fierst, Monty, Monomaniac, Tyler KC

You & This Route

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


Cathedral Wall is similar in nature to Hallett but is often steeper, more runout and sees little or no traffic.

Keep in mind the three stars I gave this route is on the Cathedral wall quality scale. So, don't expect a Culp-Bossier or a Syke's Sickle. However, DO expect a super, steep route that will always have you on your toes and wondering where the hell to go next.

The Rossiter guide seemed to have a fairly accurate topo for this route, and don't forget the trusty 60m rope to link a few of the pitches.

I still can't believe Kor sent those runouts in his natty old hiking boots! What a bad ass.

Per PatrickV:

For those wanting to avoid the 5.9x terrain that lurks about, read further.

The Rossiter topo shows pretty accurately how to get to the base, look for a large, right-facing dihedral about two pitches up that is about 100 feet long and capped with a small ledge with some Bonsai type trees. The climb starts in the obvious weakness/dihedral leading up to this larger dihedral.

P1. 5.6 lead up and left over an easy face and ledge into the base of the smaller, right-facing dihedral system that leads up to the base of the large dihedral, belay once the dihedral system is reached. This is a short 40 foot pitch.

P2. Go up the dihedral system until at the base of the large, landmark, open-book dihedral. 5.8 and a little loose.

P3. Take the intermittent finger crack in the left wall of the large, open-book dihedral almost to the top, and when it starts to peter out step right into the dihedral proper and follow it to a cramped tree filled ledge, 5.9+ and the best pitch on the route.

P4. Above the ledge is a small, white, right-arching arch with thin gear, surmount this (5.8), and once above move over the easy runout Culp-Bossier style face (5.6/5.7) to the left and then straight up to a ledge system. Just above this ledge system is a 40-foot, left-facing, open-book dihedral with a ledge at the base, belay here (I seem to remember some pins here), 5.8.

P5. this is where the climb starts to get more serious, looking back on it I think we were off route on this pitch, so take the description with a grain of salt. Move up the dihedral on 5.9 terrain with several fixed pins climbing a crack in the left wall of the dihedral. After about 50 feet, I reached an obvious balancy no hands traverse left.

Now you are headed for a stance at the base of an obvious, right-facing dihedral capped by a blackish roof that you have to undercling (this is the next pitch). The guidebook says to look for a roof to surmount off the traverse ledge on jugs, but the closest I came was a small overlap (not a roof at all) about 60 feet out with some jugs above it. My last piece was a good cam 25 feet to the right on the ledge, I placed a sling around a horn (which protected the moves off the ledge, but it promptly came off when I was above it) and pulled some 5.8 moves on jugs to a stance about twenty feet of the ledge. The only gear here was a smallish 3 or 4 RP in a good placement. I traversed up and left on licheny mildy loose faceclimbing with some off balance .8+ face moves a good 15 to twenty feet above the rp to reach the stance at the bas of the dihedral on the next pitch. This pitch was exciting to say the least, 5.8+R/X (if the RP breaks, it is 50 ledgy feet to your next piece), but I think there is an easier way to do it, perhaps further to the left.

P6. climb up the licheny but cool dihedral and undercling right around the roof (5.9), and make sure you head right instead of following the incipient crack straight up. I believe there is a good belay out right after this roof. For I went straight up the incipient crack and could only get a marginal hanging belay.

P7. for the next pitch, I led up and left on crappy rock below a left-angling roof system towards the now close arete. This pitch was definitely off route with scrappy 5.9X moves protected by psychological pro (I left a blue TCU and RP which are probably still there luring people off route) and a marginal belay. The arete which I turned to the left of the roofs via a .10a move (also poorly protected). Later, I found good gear and lowered to the belay.

The real route goes out right through a small roof on standard, alpine runout 5.8R terrain up into a large, right-facing dihedral which ends at a massive ledge. Above this ledge is 150 feet of easy 5.6 to the top of the wall. Head up and to the left (west-ish) around the cliffs at the top to get on the easy west trending ridge that leads to the Petit and Sharkstooth. Search around for the right descent gully and gain the Andrews Glacier trail.

This route is a great adventure route on one of the most adventurous walls in the par. It has the potential to lure the climber into some truly scary terrain. Keep your head about you, and you'll find your way up, a reasonable route does exist through all those roofs. You will also have a true apprectiation of Kor's abillities once it is all over. It has a short approach, too.

Per Henry Lester: Here are some additions/corrections to Pat Vernon's description that will help anyone using these comments and description.

Pitch 5: Above the grassy ledge there is a large sloping ledge (with some fixed gear); there are two corners above; the larger one faces left and a smaller one faces right. Climb the right-facing corner; this leads to a 1 to 2 foot ledge. There is an old pin in a flake; as you move left on the ledge you can put a large cam(s) into the crack formed by the ledge and the wall. As you move left along the ledge, you will come to a point where the ledge pinches down; carefully traverse past this point. Now you are directly below the black roofs and the corner leading into them. Move up on a large handle hold and with a little difficulty get stood up on the hold. There is an old style #1.5 Friend placement on the right in a shallow horizontal slot; move a little higher to good RP placements; the anchors are 10 feet above.

Pitch 6: up the corner and around the overhangs. We belayed out right as suggested. It is OK but requires some of the same gear as the pitch. In retrospect, I think the small crack above the right side of the overhang would be satisfactory. The route then goes up right of this crack or, if you belay out right, straight up. Straight up is 5.7 onto a sloping ledge at the base of a short, right-facing corner. Go up the corner and out around the left side. Move up and left on thin cracks with small pro. You will see the exit dihedral above.


Bring your standard high peak rack up to maybe a #3 Camalot. RPs and HBs may also come in handy. This route is of good rock quality but has some fairly serious runouts and devious route finding.