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Cathedral Peak (10940')

Sept. 4 '98

summit image

Cathedral Peak - faint left skyline


Party: Dave Ryan, Tracy and I

Route: An easy 1.5 hour hike takes you to the base of the climb. The climb ascends the south face which is the left skyline in the above picture. The start of the climb involves a choice of lines, all apparently 5.fun. The lines converge after about 4 pitches to a chimney pitch. Above the chimney, a couple pitches lead to the peak.

Weather: The day was cool and cloudy with a threat of afternoon thunderstorms. Needless to say, we had a goal to finish the climb as quickly as possible. Yesterday's thunderstorms began around 2PM, so we figured it would be nice to finish before then.

We arrived, unfortunately, very near the same time as the only two other parties on the route that day. One party slightly ahead of us started on the standard line at the base. We chose an alternative line in order to avoid congestion. The third party followed the first party up the standard line. Needless to say, all parties were aware of the pending weather, so were in a bit of a rush to get up. Dave led the first three pitches. I began to lead the fourth pitch which begins to converge with the standard route at the chimney. I climbed myself into an impass - for me at least. I could have shifted to the left into the chimney, but the first party was leading up that line. I set a quick belay and Dave followed to my position and was easily able to finish my pitch. Since we were climbing in parallel with these two other teams, the chimney was clogged when we got there. We opted to avoid the chimney. This forced Dave to lead a hard, awkward 5.9ish crack off a ledge to the right of the standard line. Above this crack he lead an unprotectable knobby (inclusions) face for twenty feet or so. These pitches were fun to follow for Tracy and I, but Dave, in approach shoes, was a little more entertained.

Given that we were climbing as a party of three, I was impressed that we were able to keep up with the other teams though we were climbing harder lines. We topped out on the peak before the other teams and were able to RAP down as the first of them was arriving. Well, it was a little more complicated than that... the summit pinnacle is very small: enough room for three people to sit on. Unfortunately, the rush of avoiding summit congestion and the increasing chance of innapropriate weather, we were rushed off the summit. Tracy did not even have a chance to stop and take a look around!! When she got to the summit, I rushed her onto the rappel and off she went. She missed a very cool view of half dome to the south west. From here you can clearly see that half dome is fairly steep off the back-side; that is it is not a complete dome shape.

The three party rush went as well as it could have. The other parties were very friendly and no tempers got out of line, even with the occassional line crossing issues. The biggest problem was the duplicate name syndrome. I dont remember the exact names, but suffice to say that there were two X's, two Y's and a 'B' that sounded like a 'C'.


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Last updated: 12 Nov. 1998
Copyright 1998 Gordon Schryer.
E-mail: grs@earthling.net.