Type: Trad, Alpine, 600 ft, 5 pitches
FA: Gary Colliver and Mike Cohen, 1972
Page Views: 11,589 total · 86/month
Shared By: Michael Schneiter on Feb 21, 2008
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


The West Pillar route is a fun route and a great link-up with a route on Cathedral Peak. When linking these two routes, you effectively make a loop, hiking out on the John Muir trail, instead of the Cathedral Peak approach trail. The first pitch begins with a wide crack (5.9). There are two ways to go on the next section. The original route moves right and climbs 5.9 cracks to a horn in one pitch and climbs back left via 5.7 and 5.8 climbing in the next pitch. A direct route is also possible at 5.10 and is popular. This variation climbs directly above the first pitch belay for two pitches, both 5.10, and meets up with the original route where you can belay on the ridge. The 4th pitch is mostly 3rd class and ledgey with some 5th class terrain. It traverses underneath the ridge proper. The final pitch appeared to have some options but should stay left of the ridge, climbing one section of 5.8 and easier climbing before the summit.


If climbing Eichorn's West Pillar after Cathedral, you will have to descend Cathedral to the ground and traverse around Cathedral to the west to reach the West Pillar route. If climbing the West Pillar route from the car, approach via the John Muir trail and Eichorn's West Pillar route is visible from the trail. The West Pillar route starts with an obvious, wide crack. Descent from Eichorn's is possible with one rope via a rappel from the summit.


Nuts, double set of cams to #1 Camalot and single set of cams to #4 Camalot. One rope.
Redwood City
stuart.h   Redwood City
In the Reid & Falkenstein, 1983 guide book it says the original 5.8 route is by Colliver & Cohen in 1972 and the 5.9/10 variation was put up by Alan Bartlett and Don Reid in 1979. Interestingly, the original rating was at 5.9 and then it was upgraded to 5.10a in the 1992 edition. Apr 9, 2013
Reno, NV
BruceB   Reno, NV
Highly recommend the direct variation.
Pitch #2 starts with some beautiful hand jams through a committing bulge (5.8) followed by a steep ramp with more great hand and fist jams (5.8+) to a sloping ledge.
Pitch #3 starts with a committing layback or finger jam up a steep corner. Good hands but thin feet, it only last for about 8 feet. IMO 510a/b. Then there's a good rest followed by another nice but easier layback. Then a bunch of easy 5th to a great belay. Jul 3, 2013
Mike McL
South Lake Tahoe, CA
Mike McL   South Lake Tahoe, CA
I found doubles of hand sized cams (green-blue camalots) useful for the standard route. 2 #4s are helpful as well if you want to sew it up. Of course, YMMV. Jul 24, 2013
David Knowles
Palo Alto, CA
David Knowles   Palo Alto, CA
We did the direct variation which I would recommend. The direct approach from JMT however... sucks. With no defined trail it is a) unpleasant and b) causing a lot of erosion. Do cathedral first and then go down the 3rd class slabs to the base - there's actually a trail(ish) doing that. Jul 2, 2018
Peter J
Ford E-150, wherever
Peter J   Ford E-150, wherever
Amazing climb. But there is some sort of piss all over all the jugs/in the cracks? Especially on P2. Aug 20, 2018
Peter J
Ford E-150, wherever
Peter J   Ford E-150, wherever
Also, there is a large loose block in the crack about 20 feet up the third pitch--directly above the belay/rappel station! I was nervous to trundle it so I just pushed it into a slightly more stable position. Beware! Aug 20, 2018
Peter, that is indeed marmot piss. I would highly recommend to anyone else that climbs this to be wary of hantavirus from contact. Just make sure to keep the wrappers on your cliffbars when you eat em and you should be fine. Oct 19, 2018