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

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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.


Standard rack plus a 4 inch piece.