Southeast Buttress (5.6), also Eichorn Pinnacle
June 20, 2003
back to Sierras…
From the guidebook, “Cathedral Peak is not only the most striking peak
visible from Tuolumne Meadows, it is one of the best 5.6 alpine rock climbs
in Tuolumne. Everything about the experience is incredible…”
It was our second time to make the approach, only this time we wouldn’t
keep going over another ridge to Matthes Crest. As usual, it was very cold
in the morning, and it took some steady uphill hiking to warm up enough to
remove gloves and hat. We passed through the “Hall of the Druids,” a place
where I couldn’t resist speaking about them and their strange habits.
We ran into a party going to Matthes Crest, and chatted about climbs.
We reached the base of the climb and started up. It seems you can go
anywhere on the excellent rock. Below is the way we did it. The main feature
that disguished this line of pitches from various others is the chimney on
||Face and shallow crack/groove climbing led to a fun 5.6 lieback at midpitch.
Climb stayed on the left edge of a shallow buttress. Gear belay.
||Followed corners and connecting faces to a mediocre belay on a small ledge
below a chimney.
||Exciting face climbing led to chimney. Pack attached to harness and hung
below waist - very helpful! Chimney was fun, widened at mid-height.
Above, face and crack climbing led to an asthetic belay stance on an outcrop.
||Fun face and crack climbing led to big, sandy belay ledge. All nuts for pro,
the route took nuts better as we climbed.
||To summit. A pleasing left-trending crack led to the top of a slab.
Face traversing across small towers led to the summit. 2-cam belay on summit.
Party of 3 soloists arrived, groaned about going to work later in the day
at the Toulomne Lodge.
Once down from the summit, we scrambled a ridge and slabs down to
the notch between Cathedral and it's sister spire - Eichorn Pinnacle.
Aidan led off for a 20 meter very exposed traverse around a corner
on the still-cold North Face. He set up a belay at a tiny stance
with 1 fixed piton, 2 nuts and a cam.
Aidan led the next pitch too, which began with a steep, exposed step
conservatively rated 5.4. Two fixed pitons led right, then back left at
an exposed corner. Have I been saying exposed a lot? Well I mean to - that
is the main feature of this kind of odd (but excellent) climb.
Fun climbing up huge flakes led to the summit.
We admired the view and added our names to the summit register.
A 70 foot rappel got us down to the notch where we started.
The rope got stuck, but vigorous whipping luckily freed it.
Another dream climb complete! There was a crowd by now on
Cathedral Peak, but nobody was interested in coming over here.
After some lazing about, we scrambled back towards the Cathedral Peak
descent route and hiked down to our packs (I think we left them at
the base?). Back down through the beautiful Hall of the Druids to
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||Downclimb of summit block via John Muir's 4th class route.
Michael rappelling on Eichorn Pinnacle
The Hall of the Druids
Aidan on the first pitch
Looking down the chimney
Climbing on pitch 4
Summit of Cathedral Peak
Looking over to Eichorn Pinnacle
Aidan and register on Eichorn Pinnacle
Michael on Eichorn Pinnacle