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Routes in Phantom Pinnacle

Phantom Pinnacle, Left T 5.9 5c 17 VI 17 HVS 5a
Type: Trad, 500 ft, 3 pitches
FA: Bill Dunmire, Bob Swift (Sept, ’50) – FFA: Rich Calderwood and Mike Borghoff (1957)
Page Views: 894 total · 13/month
Shared By: Bryan G on May 30, 2012
Admins: M. Morley, Adam Stackhouse, Salamanizer suchoski, Justin Johnsen, Vicki Schwantes

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Closures for Peregrine Falcon Protection Details


The Left Side of Phantom Pinnacle is higher quality than the 5.9 "Regular Routes" on either of the Cathedral Spires and you're almost guaranteed to have the place to yourself. It can be done in somewhere between 3 to 5 pitches. I climbed it, and will describe it in 3.

Pitch 1: Climb a ramp up to a ledge (optional belay) and then climb steeper blocks and flakes in a corner past a tree to another ledge.

Pitch 2: A steep and wild pitch! Climb the right side of a large flake (in the corner) off the belay to reach a chimney. Chimney up unprotected and then climb into the featured corner. Different options exist here, but alternate between stemming, liebacking, face climbing, and jamming to get up the corner. I kept climbing past more ledges and trees and belayed all the way in the notch. There is a 2 piton anchor way back around the other side.

Pitch 3: Just when you thought 5.9 couldn't get any steeper! From the notch traverse up and left onto the north face of the spire. This leads to a thin crack with several pins in it. Lieback the flake to the left of the seam and then climb a corner with hollow plates of rock. (a #6 Camalot is useful here) Finish up an easy handcrack to the summit.

To descend, rappel the route. The first rap station is on the west side (towards the notch) of the spire and is a 3 bolt anchor (one is good). With two ropes we rapped from here to a tree on a ledge a ways below the notch. For the next rap, swing to the left out away from the spire to find a rap station consisting of a good bolt and crappy pin. From here rap to the ground.

There are probably enough trees and rap stations to rap with one rope but it would not be as nice.


I brought pro to 6" but you could probably get by with less.


Brian Prince
morro bay, ca
Brian Prince   morro bay, ca
took a look at the outside face lunge start, said wtf, and went and did this. fun and mostly clean route in a secluded setting. Feb 5, 2018
Ryan K.  
Three pins still at the notch belay. FFA 1957, RESPECT! Mar 28, 2015
I agree with Bryan's comments. Climbed it yesterday, 8/14/13 with Allan Weidner. DEFINITELY AN OBSCURE GEM. Heaps of really cool stemming with a bit of chimneying, laybacking, and jamming thrown in. The layback moves on the third pitch are killer bee. A few thoughts: On the approach, be sure to traverse all the way around the base of the phantom pinnacle formation and then approach the base of the climb from the uphill side. Take a copy of Bryan's route photo. Approach is a bushwhack, no doubt. I used shoulder length slings on all pieces except a few on the last pitch; bring plenty. Climbed it in three pitches like Bryan did. Good ledge for first belay (in shade until 11 or 12). The second belay (in the notch) is shaded, has excellent views, and takes tiny cams (I didn't see the pins). Consider taking some webbing to back up the old school rap stations. Aug 15, 2013

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