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Routes in Gunsight

East Buttress T 5.10c 6b 20 VII 20 E2 5b
Gunsight T 4th 1 2 I 2 M 1b
Myth of Sessyphus, The T,S 5.12b 7b 26 VIII+ 26 E5 6b
Soul Sacrifice T 5.11c 6c+ 24 VIII- 24 E4 6a
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Type: Trad
FA: unknown
Page Views: 2,246 total · 21/month
Shared By: Osprey Overhang on Feb 9, 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


Gunsight is named for the distinctive V-groove made by the notch between Middle and Lower Cathedral Rocks. It is most prominently viewed from the vicinity of El Cap Meadow as the steep gully on the northeast side between the two rock formations.

Gunsight is the usual descent route for climbs that end on the summits of Middle and Lower Cathedral Rock, and sometimes as the easiest descent route from Leaning Tower when water in Bridalveil Creek is low enough to make crossing safe. It is a very short, but steep route with 1,300ft of elevation gain from the valley floor.

The Gunsight is also a great way to ascend the summit of Lower Cathedral Rock. This option may appeal to beginners looking for a good fourth class climbing route, as well as for those looking to scope the descent route for future climbs. Both are excellent reasons to venture into this good notch.


No pro is necessary as this is a popular solo outing. However, mortals should take a standard rack, slings, and one rope for this climb.


Jessica Pemble
Yosemite, CA
Jessica Pemble   Yosemite, CA
Fixed ropes are still good - no gear is really necessary. If you get nervous with some exposure or with down climbing, I would recommend bringing a short rope for a rappel or two, as some of the ropes have knots in them. A gri-gri or ATC will make coming down the fixed ropes pretty easy. May 26, 2014
Gunsight, when dry, is a super fun scramble, and the amazing swimming pool(accessible only in low water) on the backside of Bridalveil is icing on the cake, for sure. In winter and spring, gunsight is super treacherous, because there is abundant wet rock and lichen, and snow often makes the going even tougher (can have snow into May).

That said, this is not a completely trivial ascent, and most folks will probably find themselves making several fifth class moves from time to time. The fixed lines here are good for getting down, so I recommend bringing a lightweight harness and rappel device, which is more difficult than scrambling up.

Gunsight challenge level:

Solid 5.9 Yosemite leader: trivial

5.7 / 5.8 Yosemite leader: wear approach shoes, will seem exciting in spots. Bring harness to rappel.

Inexperienced climber: wear approach shoes; bring climbing shoes for sketchy spots; expect some 'omg I'm on a huge cliff' moments (in other words, not a good girlfriend's first climb ;). Bring harness to rappel.

Erik - Aug 5, 2017

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