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5.11b/c, Trad, 500 ft, 5 pitches,  Avg: 3.3 from 23 votes
FA: Phil Bircheff and Steve Williams 1969. FFA Kevin Worrall and George Meyers 1973
California > Yosemite NP > Yosemite Valley > Cathedral Spire… > Middle Cathedral Rock
Access Issue: Yosemite National Park climbing closures and conditions Details


This is a five pitch line left of Central Pillar of Frenzy. I have only tried the first pitch, which can be toproped after descending the rappels for Central Pillar. The first pitch is thin climbing up a clean dihedral, leading to a short section of off-width that is easier than it may look. The crux is obvious as the finger crack peters out, and you have to negotiate 20 feet of extremely strenuous stemming on glassy feet. Consider the use of the arete out right if you are tall. There are two pins in the crack, and you can get some small cams, but still a heady lead. The remaining four pitches look interesting, although I have not tried them.


Directly left of Central Pillar, and follows the final rappel pitch for that route.


Small gear (doubles) (offset Aliens, micro cams, lowe-balls) up to 3". Perhaps a #4 Camalot for the wide crack. Pitch one can be toproped from the rappel anchors with a 70 m rope (although you just barely reach the ground with rope stretch so be careful not to lower your partner off the end!)

Photos [Hide ALL Photos]

An unknown climber finishing up the first pitch.
[Hide Photo] An unknown climber finishing up the first pitch.
Ron Kauk in action
[Hide Photo] Ron Kauk in action
Hb going for the tronsite
[Hide Photo] Hb going for the tronsite

Comments [Hide ALL Comments]

[Hide Comment] 1st pitch easier if taller, fixed pins when we did it. Don't be scared, fire it. Fabulous! Need to go back for the rest sometime... Apr 14, 2008
[Hide Comment] 11b: all-time sandbag. Oct 12, 2008
susan peplow
Joshua Tree
[Hide Comment] "11b: all-time sandbag"

More people should write such Concise comments. That fun eh? Oct 13, 2008
[Hide Comment] It doesn't have to be 'fun', to be fun, right?

What was truly not that great was watching Mama Bear introducing her cub to the joy of pack-raiding at the base as we sorted helplessly through our tangled rap lines. Probably best to hang your gear a few pieces up on the off chance you've ever kept food in there. Oct 24, 2008
Dave Vuono
Reno, NV
[Hide Comment] Yes, we had a similar experience with a bear but managed to scare it away. May 10, 2009
San Diego, CA
[Hide Comment] 1st pitch crux is getting slicker due to people descending from Frenzy.

Upper pitches are SICK! but also sandbagged, thin, and a little vegetated. Go up the corner to another set of rap bolts (pitch 2) up the corner for another pitch (more rap bolts out right). Then cut left of onto the face doing a rising traverse to change corner/crack systerms. This pitch has bomber Rap bolts above the "11c lunge left" (was not a lunge) the remainder of the route looked to vegetated to be worth it.

as of 9/18/10 beware of small wasp hive near the end of the of the second pitch (2nd pitch in the Falcon Guide) They were friendly and didn't sting, just surprising. Sep 18, 2010
Bryan G
[Hide Comment] This climb would be stellar if it was cleaned out better. The rock face is pristine, but the crack systems have a lot of dirt, grass, and bushes. Pitch 3 in particular was overgrown, but it looks like there's a cleaner variation straight up the corner (instead of switching to the left crack/corner, as shown in Reid guide). Pitch 4 crux could probably be anywhere from 5.10 to 5.12 depending on your height. Place gear high in the corner then climb back down to do the moves. I left a stopper with a carabiner for my second to lower out on. All of the belays are bolted with rap hangers/rings except for pitches 5 and 6. Pitch 6 ends at the rappel tree atop pitch 6 of the Kor-Beck, where you can either continue on that route to the katwalk, or rap back down to the ground. Also this climb is about 800ft long, not 500. Oct 3, 2014
San Francisco
[Hide Comment] If someone told me the crux section near the pin was 11+ I wouldn't argue. I'm tall and the arete didn't seem to help much, techy stemming was the key. Bring lots of tiny gear and small brass offset nuts. One #4 and one #5 sews up the OW section, for the rest of the climb bring doubles to #1, single #2. Oct 10, 2016
Erik Griffith
Yosemite National Park, CA
  5.12a PG13
[Hide Comment] This is the ultimate sandbag forsure! Having lived in the valley for the last two years and climbing numerous 11's and a handful of 12's this thing is legit, hard and heads up!! I'd say it's closer to 12b than 11b. I think 11d or 12a would be a fair grade. Small rps, offset cams protect the bottom okay, some good cams in the middle 5.10 lieback and jamming section, then the crux. Polished stemming over small wires and an old piton. Send it!! If you're tall you can kinda use the arete. I am not. So I just have tell myself my feet are going to stick!! Haha fantastic pitch of climbing.. need to go back and do the whole route. Second pitch looks beautiful. Bring that #5 if you don't wanna run the last 20+ ft out. Sep 24, 2017
Brian Prince
morro bay, ca
[Hide Comment] Ha yeah... such a good pitch that first one though. Bottom gives A nice warmup for the top. I've got this thing super dialed and now it maybe feels 11b.. for me, it's super sequential. Makes a huge difference exactly where my feet are and order I move em. May not seem that important cause it's basically blank but yeah.. I'm not terribly tall but do use the arete for one move with my refined beta. Probably best not to mess with it onsighting. Ah, good fun Sep 25, 2017
[Hide Comment] This route sucks up nuts. I thought the hardest part was right before the pin. Luckily the last twenty feet are easy, something like 5.9. I would definitely bring a #5 next time though. The route actually protects okay, just arm yourself with lots of offset small and med nuts. Oct 25, 2017
[Hide Comment] Believe it or not, I was hesitant to rate the first pitch 5.11, as I had only done Butterfingers and New D, a couple of the only 11's in the Valley at the time. Not saying it wasn't hard for me - it was the first route I ever worked at all, and it took me at least ten tries to finagle my way up that section, in eb's btw. I did it later by liebacking the arete with both hands and dynoing to the jug on the second crux section. If somebody took the time to clean the long, long finger cracks up higher it would be an amazingly good route for many pitches. Jan 3, 2018