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Cathedral Range

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Cathedral Range Rock Climbing 


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Location: 37.8253, -119.3748 View Map  Incorrect?
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Administrators: M. Morley, Adam Stackhouse, Salamanizer suchoski, Justin Johnsen, Vicki Schwantes, Kristine Hoffman (sitewide)
Submitted By: kenr on Aug 20, 2013
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Description 

An ocean of granite in the southwest portion of Yosemite National Park, running from Cathedral Peak southeast to around Parsons Peak and Simmons Peak. Between those it includes the remarkable sculpted ridges of the Matthes Crest, Echo Peaks + Ridge, Cockscomb, and Unicorn. Also the summits of Rafferty Peak, Fletcher Peak, Vogelsang Peak.

GPS: Many helpful latitude/longitude points and navigational tracks (especially for the northwestern part) are in a GPX file linked from this page

Climbing peaks and routes include:

  • Cathedral Peak (lat/long approx N37.8478 W119.4055) (alt 10911 ft / 3326 m)
. . . Famous very popular route is SE Buttress (5.6)
. . . The summit is great no matter how you get there.

. . . Famous route is West Pillar (5.9)
. . . Many people also enjoy shorter N face (5.4)

  • Echo Peaks (1 mile / 1.5km S of Cathedral Peak)
. West group
. . . #1 (lat/long ~ N37.83389 W119.40299) - S ridge class 3
. . . #2: S of #1 and N of #3
. . . #3 (N37.83269 W119.40336) (alt ~ 11100ft/3385m)
. . . . . Highest of the Echos - class 3 by N ridge from col betw 1+2.
. . . #4: A narrow fin SSW from #3
. Middle group (W side of Wilts Col)
. . . #5: W of #7
. . . #6: S of #5 and #7
. . . #7: E of #5 and W of Wilts Col
. . Wilts Col (lat/long ~ N37.83426 W119.40073) between #7 and #8.
. East group (E side of Wilts Col)
. . . #8 (N37.83384 W119.40005) - N face, short class 3 from near Wilts col.
. . . #9: (S of #8) The most difficult summit of the Echos.

  • Echo Peaks 1-2-3-4 aretes
. . . Between 1-2-3 (accessed from col 1-2): class 3 with some knife-edge sections
. . . N arete of #1: reported class 5
. . . arete between #3 and #4: not sure of difficulty

  • Echo Ridge (lat/long ~ N37.8348 W119.3959) (alt ~ 11150ft/3400m)
. . . (S above Budd Lake, E of Echo Peaks)
. . . East arete: Interesting climbing with some "knife-edge" sections (class 4/5).

  • Matthes Crest - (lat/long ~ N37.8237 W119.3972) (alt ~ 10880ft/3318m)
. . . Amazing narrow fin of granite (S of Echo Ridge)
. . . S ridge is famous + popular (despite long approach) as a traverse,
. . . usually stopping at the N summit, or the notch betweeen S+N summits.
. . . But it's especially the N ridge which has incomparable arete-climbing features.

  • Wall of E face of ridge S from Cockscomb (lat/long very approximate N37.8215 W119.3865)
. . . perhaps called "Sunrise Wall" - W above Echo Creek.
. . . Three routes 5.8-5.9 reported in R.J.Secor guidebook: The High Sierra (Mountaineers 2009).

  • Cockscomb (lat/long ~ N37.8356 W119.3847) (alt ~ 11050ft/3370m)
. . . (0.5 mile / 0.9km E of Echo Ridge ; 0.7 mile/ 1.1km SSW of Unicorn)
. . . easiest way is W face (class 5) (not very long)
. . . other routes on other aspects - see R.J.Secor guidebook: The High Sierra (Mountaineers 2009).

  • "Althuski" (lat/long ~ N37.8411 W119.3801) (alt ~ 10875ft/3315m)
. . . (0.3 mile/0.5km SSE of Unicorn ; 0.45 mile/0.7km NE of Cockscomb)
. . . Fun if you like scrambling/hopping on big granite talus (some us do), otherwise just a hump of rubble.

  • Unicorn (10823ft/3300m) (lat/long ~ N37.8457 W119.3821)
. . Normal route from E side (Elizabeth Lake trailhead) has some interesting moves (class 4/5) to the highest N summit from the notch between Mid + N summits, but pretty short compared to the length of approach.
. . NNW face to near notch between Mid+N summits from Budd Lake has longer climbing (class 4/5) (but longer approach), can find some additional interesting (optional) moves along the S arete, then descend slabs on the W face of S ridge back toward Budd Lake.
. . other longer routes on other aspects (direct N reported as 5.8 A3) - more info see R.J.Secor guidebook: The High Sierra (Mountaineers 2009).

  • Peak 11357ft (lat/long ~ N37.8033 W119.3637) (about 1 mile SW from Rafferty Peak)
. . . Boss Man (5.11)
. . . reported also a nice 5.8 route - see R.J.Secor guidebook: The High Sierra (Mountaineers 2009).

  • Vogelsang Peak (lat/long ~ N37.7776 W119.3495) (alt ~ 11500ft/3500m)
. . . has at least one route 5.9 or harder (though just reaching the summit does not require climbing moves) - see R.J.Secor guidebook: The High Sierra (Mountaineers 2009). See also Nightingale Arete.

  • Fletcher Peak (lat/long ~ N37.7924 W119.3380) (alt ~ 11400ft/3480m) has routes ranging from class 2 - 4 - 5 - 9 - 10b. See R.J.Secor guidebook: The High Sierra (Mountaineers 2009).

The high-altitude sparsely-vegetated rock-slab terrain makes cross-country travel straightforward, so there are "enchainments" / traverses with sequences of multiple climbing peaks and routes:



Getting There 

The interesting climbing is usually accessed from the north, from trailheads on the Tioga Pass highway rt 120 by Tuolumne Meadows.

Climbing Season



Weather station 10.6 miles from here

30 Total Climbing Routes

['4 Stars',7],['3 Stars',17],['2 Stars',5],['1 Star',1],['Bomb',0]
['<=5.6',11],['5.7',6],['5.8',4],['5.9',4],['5.10',3],['5.11',2],['5.12',0],['5.13',0],['>=5.14',0],['',0],['<=V1',0],['V2-3',0],['V4-5',0],['V6-7',0],['V8-9',0],['V10-11',0],['V12-13',0],['>=V14',0]

Classic Climbing Routes in Cathedral Range

Mountain Project's determination of the classic, most popular, highest rated climbing routes for Cathedral Range:
John Muir Route (The Mountaineer's Route)   4th 1 2 I 2 M 1b PG13     Trad, Alpine, 400'   Cathedral Peak
Cathedral Range Traverse   Easy 5th 1+ 3 I 5 M 1c     Trad, Alpine   Cathedral Range Enchainment...
North Face   5.4 4a 12 IV 10 VD 3c     Trad, Alpine, 2 pitches, 100'   Eichorn Pinnacle
Northwest Buttress   5.5 4b 13 IV+ 11 MS 4a     Trad, Alpine, 14 pitches, 1400'   Tenaya Peak
Southeast Buttress   5.6 4c 14 V 12 S 4b     Trad, Alpine, 5 pitches, 700'   Cathedral Peak
Hops'n'Barley   5.6 4c 14 V 12 S 4b PG13     Trad, Alpine, 2 pitches, 350'   North Buttress of Cathedral
Matthes Crest Traverse - South to North   5.7 5a 15 V+ 13 MVS 4b     Trad, Alpine, 2500'   Matthes Crest
Tenaya, Matthes, Cathedral Traverse   5.7 5a 15 V+ 13 MVS 4b     Trad, Alpine, 7500'   Cathedral Range Enchainment...
North Ridge of Matthes Crest    5.8 5b 16 VI- 15 HVS 4c     Trad, Alpine, 1200'   Matthes Crest
West Pillar   5.9 5c 17 VI 17 HVS 5a     Trad, Alpine, 5 pitches, 600'   Eichorn Pinnacle
Panic Pillar   5.9 5c 17 VI 17 HVS 5a R     Trad, Alpine, 1 pitch, 50'   Cathedral Peak
West Pillar Direct   5.10- 6a 18 VI+ 18 E1 5a     Trad, Alpine, 5 pitches, 700'   Eichorn Pinnacle
Anduril   5.10- 6a 18 VI+ 18 E1 5a PG13     Trad, Alpine, 4 pitches, 470'   Matthes Crest
Browse More Rock Climbing Classics in Cathedral Range

Featured Route For Cathedral Range
Rock Climbing Photo: Matthes Crest

Tenaya, Matthes, Cathedral Traverse 5.7 5a 15 V+ 13 MVS 4b  California : Yosemite National Park : ... : Cathedral Range Enchainment...
The only thing better than the spectacular Matthes Crest traverse is to link it up with two other classic Tuolumne cruiser routes, the NW Buttress of Tenaya Peak and the SE Buttress of Cathedral Peak. You also get a sampling of what Tuolumne has to offer, from smooth slabs to wildly exposed knobby fins to choose-your-own adventure crack climbing. These three peaks form an obvious circuit from Tenaya Lake and make a great outing for any Tuolumne enthusiast. Many options exist for extending the ...[more]   Browse More Classics in California

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