Type: Trad, 11 pitches
FA: FA: Long, D'Arcy, & TarverFFA: Sacherer & Dozier - 1964
Page Views: 27,082 total · 161/month
Shared By: Josh Janes on Sep 21, 2006 with improvements by Brice Pollock
Admins: M Morley, Adam Stackhouse, Salamanizer suchoski, Justin Johnsen, Vicki Schwantes

You & This Route


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Description

The Northeast Buttress of Higher Cathedral Rock has a reputation for being a fantastic climb -- Don Reid refers to it as one of the best grade IV's in the Valley, and SuperTopo raves about its 5-star quality. Most people I've spoken with who have climbed it enjoyed the route but didn't necessarily go on and on about it. Personally, I thought the climb was average in quality and less than the spectacular classic it is made out to be. The NEB has some things going for it: such as a few stand-out pitches (but only a few), very sustained climbing pitch-for-pitch, and a relatively steep line. Going against it is much less-than-memorable climbing, and of course a pretty lengthy approach and walkoff. Climb it and decide for yourself.

Follow the standard Higher Cathedral Rock approach. The NEB is before one arrives at Braille Book -- these two climbs bookend the large, steep, mostly blank east wall of Higher Cathedral. It begins at a blocky, left-facing corner.

P1: Scramble to the top of the blocks, then trend left to a long right-facing corner of 5.6 cracks. Belay on a ledge at bolts. 5.6.

P2: Climb a steep 5.8 crack or an ugly slot to the right. Trend right and then wander up crack systems to a belay by a tree and a weird pillar of rock. 5.6.

P3: Climb 5.8 & 5.9 hands through some roofs and continue up crack systems to a belay on a ledge.

P4: Climb a long, steep left-facing corner through several bulges. Link this pitch easily into the next one with a long runner. 5.8.

P5: Traverse straight left across an exposed face. Various gear, some fixed pro, and some bits of downclimbing lead to a bolted belay on a long flake/ledge system. This pitch is where Mary's Tears crosses the route and continues into the Crucifix. This is also the halfway point and where the climbing turns physical. 5.8.

P6-8: Climb steep crack systems of all sizes, including ugly squeezes, belaying where necessary, until exiting a 5.8 chimney and belaying to the left at bolts. The supposed crux pitch is a nice, clean corner protected with a few pins. Not too bad compared to the steep squeezes and OW on other parts of the climb. 5.9.

P9: Traverse left past a beautiful looking fist crack in a right-facing corner, downclimb a bit, then continue left to easier flakes and tree climbing. Belay here, or if you runner things very well it is possible to link to the next pitch. 5.9.

P10: Climb up the crack system to a belay at a tree. 5.8.

P11: Perhaps the true crux of the climb. Continue up very steep, awkward cracks to a face traverse to an obvious tree out left. Runner your gear well, and launch up from the tree to a strenuous, possibly unprotected, 5.8 squeeze to a dirty mantle to the top. 5.8+.

Descend towards the top of Braille Book, continue past it and down the saddle to the east, eventually some manzanita tunnelling will return you to your packs.

Protection

Standard rack plus a 4 inch piece.

Photos