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Routes in Cathedral Peak

Cave Route T 5.5 4b 13 IV+ 11 MS 4a
Dream Weaver T 5.10a 6a 18 VI+ 18 E1 5a R
Long Gone Bong T 5.6 4c 14 V 12 S 4b
Sea Urchin V2- 5+
South Face T 5.7 5a 15 V+ 13 MVS 4b
Southeast Chute T 5.4 4a 12 IV 10 VD 3c
West Face T 5.5 4b 13 IV+ 11 MS 4a
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Type: Trad, 350 ft, 3 pitches, Grade II
FA: Mike Forkash and Gary Anderson, late 1970s
Page Views: 4,974 total · 37/month
Shared By: Jeff Dunbar on Jun 11, 2007
Admins: andy patterson, M. Morley, Adam Stackhouse, Salamanizer suchoski, Justin Johnsen, Vicki Schwantes

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The South Face route offers 3 pitches of fun 5.7 liebacking and face climbing in one of Santa Barbara's most wild and scenic locations overlooking Santa Barbara, the Goleta Valley, and the Channel Islands. The route starts at the base of the prominent left-leaning lieback flake approximately 50 ft right/uphill from the huge cave at the base of the crag.

P1: This is the steepest pitch, and probably the technical crux of the route. Follow the lieback flake until it ends, then face climb up a few more feet via face holds out left to a small belay ledge with tattered old slings and build yer own anchor. (5.7, 80 ft, pro: bigger cams to 4")

P2: Trend up and left the whole way, zig-zaging past a series of small right-facing dihedrals to a shady belay in a large cave. You'll get some nice exposure when you move left over/around the last small dihedral. The last 30 feet is runout, but much lower angle. (5.7, 180 ft, pro: cams to 3" plus small nuts and micro stoppers)

P3: Exit the cave on climber's right and head up/right over a bulge via the slingable manzanita to a low-angle chimney with good face holds that leads to the summit. (5.6, 80 ft, pro: small cam, then manzanita, then 4" cam)

From the summit block, scramble off the backside down then right to reach the ridgeline and the trail back to La Cumbre Peak.


Start 50 ft right/uphill from the huge cave at the base of the crag, scramble up 15 ft of easy slabs to the start of the lieback flake.


2 sets of nuts, 1 set of micro stoppers, and 1 set of cams to 4” plus many long slings. If you bring a few large hexes to potect the initial massive flake/crack, you can skip the 3" and 4" cams.
Jeff Mahoney
Santa Barbara, CA
Jeff Mahoney   Santa Barbara, CA
You can fairly easily run the South Face in two pitches with a 60m (see photo) Feb 11, 2008
A rather committing adventure, it's worth the approach. Good training for Snake Dike. May 28, 2008
Brett Brotherton
Arvada, CO
Brett Brotherton   Arvada, CO
Great route a lot of fun definitely not a lot of pro on the second pitch but it was easy climbing, 3rd pitch I wouldn't really call that a chimney definitely seemed like an offwidth to me but doesn't make a difference since you use the face holds anyways. Make sure to bring lots of water (we didn't bring enough). And pay better attention on the approach so you don't end up bushwhacking through chaparral on the way back when you get off trail. All in all a great adventure climb and excellent workout! Also be careful with gear placements on the first pitch as some of the sandstone behind the flake sounds hollow and may not hold a fall if gear is placed there. But there is still plenty of good pro on the first pitch. Jun 29, 2008
Brett Brotherton
Arvada, CO
Brett Brotherton   Arvada, CO
Confirm two pitches, I did a 190 ft first pitch and belayed off of a small tree/bush 15 feet below the cave. Try hiking in from tunnel trail for a real workout. Nov 9, 2008
Brian F
Brian F  
P1: >80ft
P2: ~120ft
P3: >60ft

Classic climbing; combining gross approach, liebacks, bushy ledges, dirty trees and amazing views of Santa Barbara. The low angle and easy climbing make bringing the SLR a no-brainer.

Maybe because of the location (SB isn't known for long trad routes) this climb has several 'fixed' pieces on it. When we climbed it on 10/9/10, someone must have rapped off the tricam (P1), leaving a brand new locking biner. I didn't booty it. There was also a jammed nut with biner on P2. We left that one too. Oct 11, 2010
Travis Madsen
Denver, CO
Travis Madsen   Denver, CO
With the fire and all the traffic, this route is cleaning up! Now there's dirty cracks, bushy ledges, weak flakes, plus some ash. I didn't need a toilet brush, though. As the summit register says, "best views in Santa Barbara." Hard to argue with that. Feb 7, 2011
Joseph Stover
Batesville, AR
Joseph Stover   Batesville, AR
The hike was brutal, but the tree tunnel wasn't as bad as I had feared. The rock is not too good, lots of hollow flakes and gardens (gives it character). But assuming that this thing doesn't get alot of traffic, it is really not all that dirty for what I might have expected. The actual climbing was fun (but not great), just that the sketchy rock took away from it (but that is also part of the experience). I thought the face move to gain the P1 belay was the crux and is probably extremely height dependent. It felt solid 5.8 to me (but I wasn't about to fall on that gear!). Other than that, it was mostly lower 5-grade climbing with the occasional set of 5.6/7 moves.

Did it in 3 pitches, a set of BD stoppers, single set of cams TCU-#00 to BDC4-#5, 12 trad draws and a cordelette was a perfect amount of gear. Could have done without the #4 and #5, but I placed them.

This adventure is really worth doing, at least once. Apr 25, 2011
Nick Sullens
Nick Sullens   Yosemite
Cordelette* Apr 25, 2011
I think Joe Roland and I did the FA of the top two pitches. Not certain about that. I've camped in the cave, nice spot. This rock is not primarily about great climbing; it's more about a day of adventure, enjoying the chaparral and the hike, and having a fun time with companions. Mar 18, 2012
Alex Bury
Ojai, CA
Alex Bury   Ojai, CA
Right on Amos, I ran into Mike a couple days ago but didn't know at the time I'd be getting on this thing today or I would have picked his brain about some of the history.
This route was great, here are some notes from our climb of it yesterday:
-There is now a black sling with a ring marking the top of the first pitch, threading a natural feature at the belay stance. The tattered slings mentioned in the description are gone
-Bringing an extra hydration res' and stashing it at the summit paid off big time
-Trying to link pitches, as some describe above, might rob you of the opportunity to belay from the cave high on the wall. Untying in the upper cave, sitting in the shade, surveying the expanse....trip highlight)
-Unless you are confident placing hex's with one hand, either bring a number four camalot or be prepared to run it out on steep 5.7 /5.8 terrain
-The trail from La Cumbre Peak has recently been worked on and is wide open. Still a steep approach of course but brush is not an issue. Jul 29, 2013
James Hermann
Ventura, California
James Hermann   Ventura, California
Great time with Carl E. on 5.17.15. The trail is clean (except a bit of poison oak)so get out there. The rock on the SF Route is good but beware the big fat yucca plant at the crux of P2. The runnout on P2 isn't so bad. A good lead head is required on P1 which has some exposure but good handholds on the layback flake. Getting up the face above the flake is thought-provoking. Carl was leading and cut left at the flake going up the corner. I was on TR so I went straight up on thin edgy stuff. I led P2 up to the cave. Used several nuts including the #4 and #5 BD small ones. Agree with previous posts about the larger cams coming into play on the flake and a #3 BD blue below the chimney on P3. May 23, 2015
Eric Seidman
Santa Barbara, CA
Eric Seidman   Santa Barbara, CA
If you bring a 70m, you can make it to the cave in one long pitch. Depending on the exact length of your rope and where the leader chooses to build an anchor, the belayer might have to simul up to the flake to make it. (We didn't have this problem).

If you do this in summer, prepare to get a little cooked! Jul 26, 2015
THERE IS NO BENCH! Please for all that is good in the world go right at the upturned tree

Jun 5, 2016
Great fun alpine style adventure close to home! A bit of beta:
When you walk to the overlook where the bench may have been there is currently a piano and a view of the top of the peak. Turn 90 degrees right and follow the trail that first Head west. Don't get suckered down in to the rock piles that look like cairns.
Take a little water to stash near the top of the rock. You walk right past it on the way in. You'll be happy to have it on the way out.
The second pitch is a bit thin on pro. A few long run outs but easy climbing
The manzanita is long dead. The stump is still there but is not sling-able.
Trail is in great shape albeit quite steep!

GO FOR IT!! Nov 28, 2017
Tony Milici
Los Angeles
Tony Milici   Los Angeles
I backed off this thing back in 1985. The approach was some of the most horrendous bushwhacking I have ever done, and back then it didn't look like it had seen much traffic. I should go back and do it now that it is being climbed. May 3, 2018

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