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Routes in Lower Cathedral Rock

76 Degrees in the Shade T,S 5.10c 6b 20 VII 20 E2 5b
Beggar's Buttress T 5.11c 6c+ 24 VIII- 24 E4 6a
Bridalveil Falls East T 5.10c 6b 20 VII 20 E2 5b
Compass Rose T 5.10b 6a+ 19 VII- 19 E2 5b
Crack immediately right of Unnamed But Beautiful T 5.10a 6a 18 VI+ 18 E1 5a
End of The Line T 5.10c 6b 20 VII 20 E2 5b
Flying High T 5.8 5b 16 VI- 15 HVS 4c
Gash T 5.10b 6a+ 19 VII- 19 E2 5b
Groom's Variation, The T 5.10d 6b+ 21 VII+ 21 E3 5b A0
Kung Fu Panda T 5.9 5c 17 VI 17 HVS 5a
Mac Daddy S 5.11a 6c 22 VII+ 22 E3 5c
Overhang Bypass T 5.7 5a 15 V+ 13 MVS 4b
Overhang Overpass T 5.11c 6c+ 24 VIII- 24 E4 6a
Spectacle S 5.11d 7a 24 VIII 25 E5 6a
Sub-Mission T 5.10d 6b+ 21 VII+ 21 E3 5b
Too Many Darts (Free Ascent) T 5.11+ 7a 24 VIII 24 E4 6a
Unnamed N3 with chimney start T 5.11a 6c 22 VII+ 22 E3 5c
Unnamed but Beautiful T 5.10c 6b 20 VII 20 E2 5b
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Type: Trad, 400 ft, 5 pitches, Grade III
FA: Bill Dunmire, Ed Robbins, Bill Long, & Dick Long - June, 1952
Page Views: 6,018 total · 57/month
Shared By: Osprey Overhang on Feb 7, 2010
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

A classic line up the western side of Lower Cathedral Rock. Expect a mixture of scrambling, climbing, and walking the reach this cool summit. Route finding can be an issue for first timers, especially on the approach. But persistence and effort are rewarded by a route defined with good clean cracks and edges at a moderate grade.
While the crux of the route is disputable, most parties who successfully navigate the approach and make it to the actual climb find that a short vertical section from the top of the Hog Trough to the traverse ledge is the technical crux.

Pitch 1) Climb up a ramping corner (easy fifth) into a roof. Traverse the roof to the left (5.5) and set up a belay from old pitons and gear below a striking corner. The length of this pitch is dependent upon how high up you can push the belay from the top of the approach.

Pitch 2) Climb the strikingly clean corner with great exposure called the Hog Trough (5.6) until you can go no further and belay from bushes. Protect this pitch with finger sized pieces, doubles not necessary. 100+ft.

Pitch 3) Crux. Time to make a decision. Do I climb up a groove passing a bolt, or do I inch my way out left over exposure and make a big move with small pro to reach an obvious ledge? Both are difficult 5.7 so you be the judge. Belay from bushes and or gear. 30ft.

Pitch 4) Bump the belay the right until you come to a bolted belay with rappel chains. This is the top of the Overhang Overpass corner and the beginning of pitch 4. (Easy escape down the Overpass to the base of the climb is possible here.) From the chains face climb (5.7) up good edges with pro, trending slightly left, and aiming for a bushy ledge. 100+ ft.

Pitch 5) No need to bump the belay, just move right and round a corner. Climb up easy fifth class face with good edges and crack. The angle will gradually ease up. Belay wherever you feel comfortable.

From the top of pitch 5, unrope and walk up to the summit.

Location

Finding the route is challenging but totally doable on the first attempt. Follow the picture of the route found on page 308 of the Donald Reid guide.
1) Park where there are two long pullouts on both sides of the road just up river from the Bridalveil Falls parking lot. This is a popular tourist area and is at the northwestern toe of Lower Cathedral Rock.
2) Walk the trail toward the falls but turn left well before the falls are reached. Follow the base of the cliff up and to the right until you can't go any higher. You have just passed the approach gully/cleft on your left.
3) Some parties may want to rope up for short sections of this approach. Make sure you can identify Overhang Overpass and use it as a guiding point as the climbing starts just under that corner. Scramble left and up the clean and dirty rock gully for a few hundred feet. Soon you will reach a sandy area where you can't really go left anymore. This is where you start to angle to the right. Continue up and right mostly on a trail until you find yourself scrambling again. Do this until you reach a low angle ramp/corner system leading to the bottom of the Overpass. This ramp/corner is pitch one. Set up a belay on one of the trees to begin the climb. The higher you can push this belay up the better.

Descend the Gunsight (single rope rappels required for most parties) to the talus gully between Middle and Lower Cathedral Rocks. Find the hiking trail that parallels the road and follow this back to the parking area.

A brief word of caution: When entering the Gunsight on your descent. Do not enter the Gunsight too early unless you enjoy sliding down sandy slopes and drop offs. Make sure you walk past the entrance, then cut back and enter it straight on.

Protection

Bring a standard rack of friends, stoppers, and slings. A #4 camalot or larger is not necessary. There are a few fixed pitons and a couple of bolts on the route.

Photos

Osprey Overhang
...
  5.7
Osprey Overhang   ...
  5.7
  • note - While this climb is 5.7 grade III, beginners may find themselves descending the Gunsight in the dark. It may be wise to treat the climb as a grade IV and/or be experienced with the Gunsight prior to starting out on Overhang Bypass.
Feb 21, 2010
Rodger Raubach  
  5.7
Did this back in the ironmongery days, June 1965, with Peter Williamson (RIP). The climbing on this route is decent and there is some nice exposure on leads 3 & 4. The "Hog Trough," which Peter led, is definitely a memorable experience. I led the next pitch after the hog Trough, and it is definitely the crux climbing at solid 5.7+ (5.6, BITD!) I recommend the traverse left variation as there are decent holds and possibly a fixed piton at the crux.

This climb was very fashionable at one time, but has fallen out of favor due to the indistinct approach on steep dirt, as well as the descent via the Gunsight. Roper's green guidebook gives adequate directions for finding the start. Apr 16, 2011
Sayfe
Scottsdale, az
  5.7
Sayfe   Scottsdale, az
  5.7
Did it back in the 80s with mike Powell. Great cimb. Long decent. Apr 19, 2012
Tony Lobay
  5.9
Tony Lobay  
  5.9
A flake broke off at the end of the hog trough. The move out is closer to 5.9 now. It's only one move, then it gets easy again. Feb 7, 2014
Ed Henicle
Santa Rosa, CA
Ed Henicle   Santa Rosa, CA
I agree that the missing flake move is close to 5.9, but it's protected by a small wire at your chest, and a piton a few feet to the right. I thought the 5.6 airy traverse finish was spicy. TR here: supertopo.com/tr/Overhang-B… Jun 1, 2016
Melissa Thaw
Livermore, CA & South Lake…
Melissa Thaw   Livermore, CA & South Lake…
While the information on this page is useful, there are a couple of points that I'd like to add.
Approach: If you park on the side of the road close to Lower Cathedral rock, you can take the trail on the south side of the road toward Bridal Veil Falls and right before the first bridge, you can turn off the trail, hike up the hill to the base of what I would call 3rd-4th class approach pitches. You scramble up until you get to the top of sort of a separate buttress on the formation (you can see this flatish area from the road, below the overhang). From this point on the approach, you can get a good look at the "overhang" pictured here. Head toward that.

For the above description of pitch 1: maybe I wasn't in the right spot, but I didn't see more than 1 piton to belay from.

There was 1 piton at the bottom of the "overhang bypass" section and 1 piton with a ring on it on the "bypass" traverse section. After that section is the hog tough. At the top of the hog trough there is a bush to belay from. I led the overhand bypass section and then went right into the hog tough because to belay from the top of the overhang bypass you might use all of your finger-sized gear in your belay. Drag was not an issue.

For the description of pitch 3: it's easy to see that if you go left, that's where the flake fell off and it's a hard move with an old piton protecting it (I didn't see any bolt). I didn't see any great gear potential in that spot. If you go straight up from the bush instead of going to the left, I didn't see any bolts on this part either and there was a lot of vegetation in the crack.

While I wouldn't call myself a "beginner," I'm also not the most awesome climber and I would definitely recommend either leaving lots of time for the approach or figuring it out ahead of time. Apr 27, 2018

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