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Higher Cathedral Rock
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Blind Man's Bluff T 
Book of Job T 
Braille Book T 
Crucifix, The T 
Mary's Tears T 
Northeast Buttress T 
Perfect Vision T 
Remain in Light S 
Renaissance Wall T 
Sequel, The T 
Syllable, The T 
Unsorted Routes:

Mary's Tears 

YDS: 5.11a/b French: 6c Ewbanks: 23 UIAA: VIII- ZA: 23 British: E3 5c

Type:  Trad, 4 pitches, 600'
Original:  YDS: 5.11a/b French: 6c Ewbanks: 23 UIAA: VIII- ZA: 23 British: E3 5c [details]
FA: Bill Price & Mike Borris, May 1980
Page Views: 3,512
Submitted By: Alexey on Jun 5, 2010

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Brian Prince following P2 of Mary's Tears

Closures for Peregrine Falcon Protection MORE INFO >>>


It is great route, all 4 pitches long and interesting , and p2, p3 are classic and very sustain. Route has good ASCA bolts at each belay. Rappel route with two 60m ropes, or continue up NEB of HC, or Crucifix .

P1: has 3 variations : 11b on the left ( did not tried) , 10c in the middle - felt hard for the grade and difficult to protect well ( did on tr), and 5.8 left variation which is good crack, mostly hands. Belay at the bolts 130 ft.

P2. Nice clean left facing corner. Good climbing with some lay-backing bring you to the end of the pitch with tricky face move. As soon as you figure it out it is 10b. Belay at two bolts ancor at the base of huge left facing corner. long pitch ~150-160 ft.

P3. Continue corner up , great varied climbing . Pitch was dry and clean ( when topo show 10a wet and dirt) Spread hands size gear wisely for this pitch. The crux is turning the lip of overhanging wide hands crack in the corner and than thin hands in the corner- 11a, but felt like 10+, ~160 feet, two bolts belay.

P4. Has two variations. Right variation follow main left facing corner and has a difficult but well protected face move 11a (kind of mantel/high step on tiny ledges)
Looks like you can avoid hard section climbing 20 feet left from the corner in the groove (probably at 5.9? - did not tried) .
Both variations meet at route is finishing in the easy chimney to two bolts in the base of Crucifix . 150 feet


Route started 30 feet left from NE Buttress, same approach .


It easy to link NE Buttress of Hire Cathedral with Meary's Tears, since rack is the same:
double from blue Alien to #2 Camalot + single #3, #4 Camalots and #4Friend.
I would add for Mary's Tears third #2 Cam and micro-nuts if you want to do 10c first pitch variation

Photos of Mary's Tears Slideshow Add Photo
Rock Climbing Photo: Richard just after the crux on the 3rd pitch
Richard just after the crux on the 3rd pitch
Rock Climbing Photo: the deadly block is gone
the deadly block is gone
Rock Climbing Photo: The block on start of p3 which  gone in June 2012(...
The block on start of p3 which gone in June 2012(...

Comments on Mary's Tears Add Comment
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By Alexey
From: San Jose
Jun 8, 2012

ALERT: As on June1, -There is deadly block just directly above and 5 feet up of second belay anchor of Mary's Tears on Higher Cathedral.
The size of block is about 2x3x7 feet. It is part of the route to pull on this thing.
If you go anyway - be aware of it and try not to touch it using thin crack on left side of the block.
By Bryan G
From: Yosemite
Jun 9, 2012

The deadly block is already gone. My partner stemmed a foot over to it while climbing the crack to the left. He barely touched it and it went. I was standing below and then all this dirt started coming down on me and I look up and am "OMG!!". Luckily it peeled off the wall sort of slow, so I was able to step off to the side no problem. It crashed onto the belay ledge where I was standing, even more narrowly missing our ropes which were flaked out on the ledge. What happened next was even more terrifying. The belay ledge shook under the impact and then most of it collapsed. Probably 2/3's of the ledge, easily 1000+ lbs of rock, gave way and went trundling down the wall, leaving giant plumes of rock dust, pounding a huge crater in one of the approach trails, crushing trees, and finally exploding in the talus way out in the middle of the gully. Luckily no one was in the area, and since P2 traverses quite a bit to the left, the lower pitches of the route were not damaged by any of the rockfall.

The climb is better off now with that flake gone. It was a ticking time bomb for sure. It definitely made me think about all those questionable blocks and flakes I've reluctantly pulled on over the years, and the carnage that can happen when gravity gets the better of a big piece of granite. We climbed the rest of the route VERY carefully.
By Alexey
From: San Jose
Jun 10, 2012

I am very happy that you not hurt and block is gone.
By Luke Stefurak
From: Seattle, WA
Nov 7, 2012

Just did this last weekend. Super fun route with really high quality climbing on the 2nd and 3rd pitches (not wet at all). We totally missed the crux on P4... We took the path of least resistance which was 10a/b. This pitch was fun but with ok rock quality.

For a rack I think that doubles from green alien to #3 camalot + #4 friend, #4 camalot is smart. We didn't use blue aliens, but we also took 5.8 first pitch. Instead of a third #2 I would take a third #3 camalot. I ended up taking my cams for a long walk on the 3rd pitch.

P1 and P2 have only one ASCA bolt at the anchor. P1 has a couple of slung blocks and the P2 anchor is backed up by pitons

P3 anchor is stellar two bomber bolts plus rings. P4 anchor has two new rap rings courtesy of the ASCA.
By Richard Shore
Jan 19, 2015

Thought this route was fun, but a far cry from the classic that others have made it out to be. P1 and P4 are forgettable, and even the "good" pitches are somewhat dirty. Consider it for a harder alternate start to the NE Buttress, but by no means worthy of the long hike for just the 4 pitches alone.
By tallmark515
From: San Francisco
May 5, 2015

A really great route with only a few short sections of loose rock. A much better way to start NEB, minus the crowds. Conserve your two #3's on p3 or bring an extra one.

P1 - Three variations:

1: Leftmost corner. Sort of dirty down low and a bit awkward for 50 feet, felt 5.9'ish. Then continues to a large OW looking flake that is actually easy and not OW, this section felt 5.8. Apparently there is an 11b option up here, but we couldn't find it, the 5.8 is the obvious way to go.

2: Middle seam. You can see a piton from the ground, but the seam looks pretty heads up. Apparently 10c.

3: Rightmost crack. 5.8 crack to a bush, then more easy climbing to the belay. Doesn't look like the ideal variation but posters above described it as a good pitch.

P2 - 10b. Awesome corner with a killer crux lieback finish.

P3 - 10+/11-. More awesome liebacking with great rests in between. There is a cruxy section in the middle and the actual crux at the end. Felt less difficult than p1 of Moratorium.

P4 - Bust out a few face moves near a corner, then up a not-so-great quality column to a little roof bulge and two variations:

1: Left of roof bulge (5.9). The obvious way to go (we thought), climbs cracks and features to the bolted anchor.

2: Right of roof bulge (11a). Continue up the corner on the right, then make (as described) a tricky mantle move into a little cave. Traverse out of the cave to the left then climb up to the anchor.

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