Type: Trad, Aid, 1000 ft, 12 pitches
FA: Bob Gaines and Alan Bartlett (June 2000)
Page Views: 294 total · 13/month
Shared By: Bryan G on May 26, 2017
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


This is a worthwhile aid route up the middle of the east side of HCR. No one ever climbs in that huge expanse of wall between the NEB and Book of Job, so it's a cool place to explore. The route's a little dirty, but not too bad. The rock is mostly solid. The climbing is sustained and challenging, but never that hard or dangerous. None of the pitches are super classic, but none of them are heinous either. Almost all the anchors are bolted and the bolts and rivets are still in decent shape. Go give it a try if you're looking to do some aid in the Cathedrals.

The topo in the Sloan/Putnam Bigwalls book is detailed and accurate, you don't really need any more beta than that. But here's a brief pitch breakdown.

Pitch 1: Short easy slab. Maybe one or two moves of unprotected 5.6 to gain a ramp. Bolted anchor at the top of the slab. You can link this with the next pitch with a 60m.

Pitch 2: Right facing corner. Thin roof is the crux. Maybe 25ft of beaks and KB's. One of the more sustained sections of nailing on the route.

Pitch 3: Continue up the corner then follow bolts, rivets, and features up to another anchor. There's a reachy natural hook move between a couple bolts that requires getting up high in your aiders on an overhang.

Pitch 4: Climb a flake up and left then mixed aid and free to get up on a pinnacle with a detached top. This is an extremely short pitch and can be linked with either pitch 3 or 5.

Pitch 5: Watch out for the detached block just above the belay. Climb up and left to a 3 bolt anchor next to a left facing flake. This is a pretty good portaledge bivy because the bolts are spaced apart and the wall is flat.

Pitch 6: Climb past 4 rivets, then move left to a flake. Continue up to another anchor at a stance.

Pitch 7: Mix of free and aid to get under the roof, then either nail left or tension traverse and free climb up. Super short pitch, link it with either the previous or the following (watch rope drag if linking with p8).

Pitch 8: Go up the corner and through the roof. Some free climbing here and there will make this go quicker.

Pitch 9: Thin corner leads up to a roof with a tree above it. Getting past the tree is a real bummer. Anchor has one bolt and takes some gear in the 1-2" range.

Pitch 10: Transfer into the crack to the right of the corner and move over onto some low angle terrain. A thin crack leads to a couple hook moves, then step left to a thin crack which leads to the anchor. This is the second place I bivied and it worked out well.

Pitch 11: Low angle thin crack leads past one bolt and a bathole to reach big stacked blocks. Free climb the rest of the way @5.7 and belay at an oak tree.

Pitch 12: Free climb up and left and do a few moves of traversing aid to get under the massive corner. Mantle onto a slab and climb (mostly free) up the corner to the top. You could also climb that nice looking flake just right of the corner and penji over when it ends. Scramble around to find a suitable place to build an anchor and haul, then shuttle loads to the top.

The descent is the usual walk-off back into the Spires Gully.


At least a triple set of cams to 1.5" including offsets. Doubles to 3" and a single #4 and #5.

4 beaks of each size (at least 12 total). A couple knifeblades (just short ones). About 6 LA's of different sizes.

Selection of different hooks, including a bathook, talon, grappling, and cliff hanger. Nuts, slings, camhooks, ect..

No heads. Didn't place any, and there weren't any fixed heads on the route.


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