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Higher Cathedral Spire
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Northwest Face 

YDS: 5.8 French: 5b Ewbanks: 16 UIAA: VI- ZA: 15 British: HVS 4c A3+ PG13

Type:  Trad, Aid, 11 pitches, 1200', Grade VI
Original:  YDS: 5.8 French: 5b Ewbanks: 16 UIAA: VI- ZA: 15 British: HVS 4c A3+ PG13 [details]
FA: Tom Frost, Royal Robbins 1961
Season: May-September
Page Views: 917
Submitted By: Eric Foster on Jan 2, 2013

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Early morning start on the Northwest Face of Highe...

Closures for Peregrine Falcon Protection MORE INFO >>>


Aid Crux is on pitch 7 and can be somewhat intimidating. This route goes directly up the Northwest face and gets very little sun so bring a jacket, it can get a little chilly on this one. The middle pitches of the climb are the hardest and are composed of moderate to hard aid sections (beaks are your friend on this one). Watch out for loose rock as this route does not get done that often. It has had only 2 ascents in the last three years and one of them was me and Erik Sloan, we cleaned the entire route the best we could and replaced all of the bad bolts. It is an adventurous Yosemite big wall.

Erik Sloan has a free topo on his website of the climb. Check out his site, he has spent many hours making topos for Yosemite Big Walls and provides them for free. Thanks Erik


Anchors and bolts replaced in May 2010.
10 beaks-2 each #1, 4 each #2 and #3
3 LA's-1 each #2-4
6 angles-3 each 1/2", 5/8"
3 sawed angles-1 of 5/8", 2 each 3/4"
3 heads, 1 each of #2-4
1 set of nuts
1 set of brassies
3-4 each of .3"-1.25"
2-3 each of 1.5"-3.5"
1-8"(optional for chimney)

Comments on Northwest Face Add Comment
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By Rob Dillon
Jan 5, 2013

How 'bout that Chimney of Horrors? Tell me you replaced the rust stain.
By Eric Foster
From: Chandler/Flagstaff, AZ
Mar 8, 2015

Yes we changed everything out on the chimney of horrors. I was glad to lead the harder aid pitches which Erik squeezed his way up that terrible thing. There were some pretty bad anchors there on this climb and we managed to change them out or back them up with one better bolt.
By Bryan G
From: Yosemite
Jun 9, 2016

Some loose stuff on pitch 1 and below the Tower of Rubble (obviously). The rest of the climb is solid. The "A3+ expanding" section on pitch 8 is easy - not really expanding and takes bomber camhooks and 00/000 C3's. The "A2 beaks" before that is the crux and pretty hard. Pitch 7 is also difficult, and I took a 40-footer when a beak popped and I zippered some gear under it. Bring a couple offset TCU's, the grey/purple and purp/blue would have been super useful for a couple tricky placements. Narrow camhooks are a must.

Also there's no way this is a Grade VI. I did it solo in 19 hours car-to-car and this was my first A3 route and I was climbing ridiculously slow on the two crux pitches. It took me slightly longer to solo Ten Days After which is considered a Grade V.

Thanks for replacing the hardware on this route, but I was also wondering if you guys added any bolts in the process? Two or three bolts at every belay seems out of character for a Royal Robbins route, and also the location of the anchors seems "modern" in the sense that they're set up to facilitate clean hauling, while back in the days of webbing harnesses they tended to drill their belays at better stances.

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