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Routes in Cathedral Peak

John Muir Route (The Mountaineer's Route) T 4th 1 2 I 2 M 1b PG13
Panic Pillar T 5.9 5c 17 VI 17 HVS 5a R
Southeast Buttress T 5.6 4c 14 V 12 S 4b
Type: Trad, Alpine, 400 ft
FA: John Muir, Sep 7, 1869
Page Views: 6,685 total, 159/month
Shared By: Ben Parsons on Jun 29, 2014
Admins: M. Morley, Adam Stackhouse, Salamanizer suchoski, Justin Johnsen, Vicki Schwantes

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Closures for Peregrine Falcon Protection Details


Sections of 4th and easy 5th class moves interspersed with first class ledges for breathing room on one of the most aesthetic peaks anywhere. What's more to want? Route spoilers below for you purists.

John Muir logged his first ascent in chapter 10 of My First Summer in the Sierra.


Park or take the shuttle to the Cathedral Lakes trailhead. Follow the trail south and uphill for about 10 minutes. On your left there will be a dead log, and the climber's trail beyond this. Take this trail for about an hour; it follows Budd creek for a while and will eventually deposit you at the base of Cathedral Peak. Walk/scramble up the right side of the mountain towards a notch a couple hundred feet below the summit. This is probably the best place to take a break and prepare for 4th/5th class scrambling. Once at the notch, descend ~50 feet on the far side of the peak and follow the path of least resistance across the slope: 3rd-4th class. Aim for ridge that connects Eichorn to the peak proper. Stay to the left of this ridge and ascend again towards the true summit: 4th class with a few easy 5th class moves. Once you're about 30 feet below the summit, make an airy, 4th and easy 5th class traverse to a small belay stance at the base of the crack system that will take you to the summit. Rope up at the stance, or before making the traverse. Enjoy the exposure, and bomber handjams and holds will take you to the top. The summit crack felt to be about 5.5-5.6. The PG-13 rating is if you do the summit block ropeless. A fall here would almost certainly be catastrophic.


There's a 15 foot summit block that goes at about 5.6, with nothing but air underneath your feet. Pro to 2.5" is very nice, along with a short (20m) rope.


Robert Hall
North Conway, NH
Robert Hall   North Conway, NH  
mmmm??? "ropeless", and "catastrophic" doesn't quite seem to add up to PG-13, more like "X" to me. Then there was the 5.3-5.4 on the main part of the climb [climber's right of the "rap's green dot" in the photo] also looking like "R/X" for the "ropeless". Nov 11, 2015