Type: Trad, 1400 ft, 12 pitches, Grade IV
FA: Mark Powell, Jerry Galwas and Don Wilson, 1956 FFA: Steve Thompson and Chris Fredericks, 1965
Page Views: 6,411 total · 42/month
Shared By: George Bell on Feb 6, 2007
Admins: M. Morley, Adam Stackhouse, Salamanizer suchoski, Justin Johnsen, Vicki Schwantes

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Access Issue: Yosemite National Park climbing closures and conditions Details

Description

This climb is often confused with the classic climb of the same name on Middle Cathedral. Do not let the 10c rating scare you away, the crux pitch is well protected and the crux section is not long. Because of this, the climb may seem easier than several long climbs rated below it, such as the Steck-Salathe and NE Buttress of Higher Cathedral. I'd rate it harder than the East Butt of Middle Cathedral done free, however.

Directly east of this climb is the monstrous bulk of Middle Cathedral, with the result that this climb is surprisingly shady. In September, the lower portion only gets a few hours of sun a day.

The first pitch is "only 5.8" but is a run-out chimney which can be scary if you let it get to you. The second pitch follows a mostly thin crack to gain a brushy ledge. You may want to move the belay to the left after this pitch. The next few pitches follow a left leaning, left facing dihedral and should be obvious above you.

The third pitch starts up the dihedral with the "Fissure Beck", likely named because Eric Beck was the first to free this pitch. The base of the crack is grungy, you can move into it from the left to avoid the first part. The crux is about 6 inches wide, but you can avoid offwidthing by using face holds. Continue up to a tree, the topo shows a belay here but due to ants you are well advised to continue for another 50 easy feet or so to a ledge.

The next pitch is the crux of the climb, and continues up the dihedral, which is now a weird looking flared chimney. The crux looks potentially awkward but is a beautiful pitch which involves no chimneying. This long pitch ends at a large terrace, somewhat less than half way up the formation.

The first pitch above the terrace is tricky, and several options exist (see the Reid topo). The buttress above is somewhat lower angle and there is no distinct line, so many different routes can be followed. The next pitch (#8 on the Reid topo) follows a 5.6 ramp back to the left. I believe at this point we were lured too far left up a series of giant stacked flakes (5.9). The actual route goes more directly up (5.9), and continues with 3 more pitches of 5.6-5.7 to the summit.

Protection

Standard rack to #4 Camalot. A 6+ inch piece could be used on the first and third pitch, but is not necessary.

Descent

This is pretty easy. From the summit, walk down into the Gunsight notch. Head north to the Valley floor, down the slot, which usually involves a couple of rappels off trees, although you can also downclimb.

Photos