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The Cathedral Route

5.11c, Sport, 300 ft (91 m), 3 pitches,  Avg: 3.3 from 12 votes
FA: Jim Gregg
Nevada > Southern Nevada > Mt Charleston > Cathedral Rock > Church Pew
Access Issue: Mount Charleston Wilderness Area Details

Description

The crux of this route is encountered on the first pitch, and consists of a tricky sequence of moves as you move onto and off of the arete at the bottom. This is followed by a series of small edge crimps on lower angled black rock. There is another crux right below the first set of anchors.

Pitch 1: 8 bolts to LO (5.11c)- Follow the bolts through an initial loose section to an arete that leads to lower angled rock full of thin black ledges. Climb this slab to a corner with no more bolts in sight until you move right. Climb past two more bolts on clean gray rock to the anchors and a small belay ledge.

Pitch 2: 7 bolts to LO (5.10b)- Climb up and right from the anchors on clean gray rock. The starting moves are tricky, and felt hard for 5.10-. Follow the black horizontal bands upward. There is a short loose section encountered just before the next anchors.

Pitch 3: 11 bolts to LO (5.11a)- Head up and right from the anchors on good gray rock. The first three bolts through the roof are quite sustained. After about 100 feet of wavy gray rock, and several sustained sections, finish the pitch up a semi loose corner crack to anchors twenty feet below the top of the cliff. I thought this pitch to be more challenging than the first due to the continuously difficult climbing on vertical to slightly overhanging rock.

It is highly recommended that you climb to the summit, especially to see the faces of the surprised hikers as you emerge from the cliff. Another fun alternative is to have someone meet you at the top with a picnic lunch! Be careful as the final 20ft of rock is loose... but easy.

Hint- This route is in the shade most of the day, and has lots of sharp limestone points so be sure to dress appropriately (long sleeves and long pants recommended).

Location

Park just before the Charleston Lodge at the end of S.R. 157, in the Cathedral Rock parking area. Be sure not to park along the streets as I received a $120 ticket for doing so even though the nearest sign instructing people not to do so was 100 feet away! From the parking lot walk up the stairs and take the trail leading off right. Be sure to watch the path for the point where an old water pipe angles left up the hillside (next to a couple felled trees. Follow this up the hill until it comes to an obvious talus slope that continues to the right side of the face at the top. Traverse left along the bottom of the wall until you reach what seems to be an impassable section of 4th/5th class scrambling down a 70 ft staircase. Don't go down! At this point look up to the headwall to your right and you will notice a large (about 6 ft) ledge 60ft up the wall with two small tree/bushes and a set of stainless chains hanging slightly behind them. This can take a few moments to locate... You will need to scramble up to the ledge via the slanted slope/straircase at the base of the wall to the starting anchors.

Protection

14 draws (or 12 draws and a couple slings for the bolted anchors).

Photos [Hide ALL Photos]

An aproximate topo of the route.
[Hide Photo] An aproximate topo of the route.
Just another pretty chunk of limestone viewed from the summit of Cathedral Rock.<br>
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Taken 4/21/09
[Hide Photo] Just another pretty chunk of limestone viewed from the summit of Cathedral Rock. Taken 4/21/09
One of my favorite views of Mummy Mountain is from the Cathedral Rock summit.<br>
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Taken 4/21/09
[Hide Photo] One of my favorite views of Mummy Mountain is from the Cathedral Rock summit. Taken 4/21/09
Sitting on the large ledge at the start of the route. (Be sure to look up to see this spot!)
[Hide Photo] Sitting on the large ledge at the start of the route. (Be sure to look up to see this spot!)
Enjoy the beautiful panoramic views from the summit of Cathedral Rock; snowy Mt. Charleston Peak in the distance.<br>
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Taken 4/21/09<br>
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[Hide Photo] Enjoy the beautiful panoramic views from the summit of Cathedral Rock; snowy Mt. Charleston Peak in the distance. Taken 4/21/09
'Clown' shot of Josh and I...
[Hide Photo] 'Clown' shot of Josh and I...
Looking down from the start of the route at the valley floor and approach trail.
[Hide Photo] Looking down from the start of the route at the valley floor and approach trail.
Hanging at the belay after the first (crux) pitch.
[Hide Photo] Hanging at the belay after the first (crux) pitch.

Comments [Hide ALL Comments]

Josh Audrey
LAS VEGAS
[Hide Comment] sweet whipper/sweet rain, i owe this thing another run Feb 27, 2007
meo
[Hide Comment] An excellent 3 pitch route!
Sustained at the grade. It never stops coming at you especially the 3rd pitch. The route kicked my ass:( Need to get revenge on this one.
Kudos to my RopeGun (Elisabeth)She got it onsite and clean.
A lot of ROCK FALL from the top. (could be from hikers)But
the line seems to be out of the way of the fall line.
Don't forget your helmet. Jul 3, 2008
[Hide Comment] Mt. Charleston Lodge/bar/restaurant is a hop, skip, and a jump from the Cathedral Rock trailhead. It's not a bad place to get food, and drink after a nice day of hiking, and/or climbing. Apr 23, 2009
Luke Stefurak
Seattle, WA
  5.11d PG13
[Hide Comment] I agree that the pitches seem sandbagged. I would say P1- 11d (though maybe because I got really flash pumped) P2- 10c/d and P3- 11b. I also think the route is PG13 since there are some 5.10- sections well above your last bolt on P1 & P3.

I had a total blast and this route deserves more traffic. Crazy edging on the 1st and 2nd pitches on the horizontal quartz bands. The last pitch links features perfectly and goes all the way to the top!

The walkoff is pretty mellow if you don't want to rappel. Aug 3, 2009
Xavier Wasiak
Las Vegas, NV
[Hide Comment] 70 meter rope gets you to the ground no problem in three rappels. Make sure to not pass the last rappel station. Climbed this last weekend, after a few years of having done the route before, and it felt just as hard. :) Ratings are right on, but last pitch feels harder after having done the first two pitches. I'm sure stronger folks than I would not find the last pitch was as heady as I did.. Great route!!! Sep 8, 2009
[Hide Comment] Keone and I climbed this today and felt the whole route was heady! :-) We both felt the last pitch was the hardest with it's awkward first 3 bolts, then intimidating bulge to slab move that turned out to be relatively easy, but it steepens again and after some poorer holds in a section of less than stellar white rock (crux), it turns into a pinchfest! Seemed quite a bit harder than 11a!

1) The first pitch has 9 bolts.

2) We rapped with one 70m rope - close, but no dangling. Jul 15, 2011
[Hide Comment] Our 70 felt too close for comfort rappelling pitch 3, I would suggest an 80 if you have it. Or just hike off. I think the P3 anchors might be a hair higher than they used to be - or our old 70 was stiff and wasn't stretching much.

Had a blast again on this today, contender for my favorite multipitch on the mountain - feels quite a bit easier overall and less heady than Imaginator. Sep 14, 2019
Cameron C
Las Vegas
  5.11 R
[Hide Comment] This thing is for sure classic for the area. Adventure sport climbing. I would not describe going to the anchor on p1 as run out. Getting to the anchor on p2 is about 15-20ft runout. Getting the the anchor on p3 is somewhere around 20ft+ runout. The headiness of the runouts has less to do with the difficulty and more to do with the rock quality. Big props to the FA for putting it up.
Edit: I just did this route again and I honestly think the run to the anchor on p3 is flirting with R. The climbing is not hard, i'm not even sure what grade it is. Somewhere between easy 5th class and 5.9. If something breaks on you up there, and you take that fall, it will be a whip you remember. The likeliness of a 5.11 climber falling there is almost negligible, but it feels like it might happen to someone when you factor in the choss and the dirtiness. And one last thing, the line is way out of the way of any hiker on the summit who wants to throw rocks. The birds and the chipmunks do dislodge stuff however, it's a little spooky. Sorry for the extremely long comment. My hope is that someone finds this somewhat helpful. I never want to scare people. I'm a wuss and I got up this, just be careful and everything will be just fine! Aug 29, 2020