The Cathedrals

United States | Yosemite | Yosemite Rock Climbing


The Cathedrals offer everything from close-to-theroad, short trad and sport climbs to mega classic, multipitch outings. Popular! Approach Cathedral Spires and Higher Cathedral Rock: Park at the intersection of El Cap Crossover and Southside Drive. Walk south on an informal trail to the Valley Loop Trail. Take the Valley Loop Trail to the east for a few hundred feet to a trail that switchbacks up Cathedral Gully. Middle Cathedral Rock: Park at a turnout on the left side of Southside Drive ~0.5 miles east of Bridalveil Straight (see map on page 31). Take the informal trail to the base of the North Apron of Middle Cathedral Rock. Lower Cathedral Rock: Park at Bridalveil Straight. Join the Valley Loop Trail on the south side of the road. Hike east until just before the trail crosses a talus field. Take an informal trail to the base of the climbs. Descent Cathedral Spires: Rappel the popular free climbs on the north side of the formations. Higher Cathedral Rock: Walk south to the gully between the Valley Rim and Higher Cathedral Rock. Continue down this gully to rejoin the approach trail. Middle Cathedral Rock: For the E. Buttress, either rappel with a single 60m rope from the belay at the start of the last pitch (see topo), or walk off from the last belay by heading up and right for about 50 feet, then up and left on 3rd class. After about 250 feet, head down and left through dense trees. Continue on the trail for about 250 yards of exposed easy walking until it ends at the gully separating Middle and Higher Cathedral. Scramble down this with two single rope rappels (or 5.5 downclimbing) until you join the higher cathedral approach trail. Head down the main Spires Gully, keeping a lookout to the left for cairns, if you need to go back to the base of the route. For routes between the E. Buttress and the N. Buttress descend via the Kat Walk, a tricky and exposed ledge system that leads to the E. Buttress' descent. From the top of the DNB head up and left on 3rd class to a large tree marking the start of the Kat Walk. Follow a downward trending ledge to the east (left) for 200-300 feet. When you reach a pillar, go up it and down the other side through small trees and brush. About 100 feet after the pillar cross an exposed sloping ledge. About 200 feet past this you will see the trees and brush of the E. Buttress walk off. Contour down and descend via the E. Buttress descent. For routes west of the North Buttress descend via the Gunsight, a 5.5 gully (often has fixed ropes for the 5.5 sections) that connects Middle and Lower Cathedrals. Lower Cathedral Rock: Either rappel the route or scram- ble down to the Gunsight, a 5.5 gully (often has fixed ropes for the 5.5 seonnects Middle and Lower Cathedrals.

  • < 5.9
  • 10a - 10d
  • 11a - 11d
  • 12a - 12d
  • 13a >
  • Lower Cathedral
    0 1 0 0 0
  • Lower Cathedral - Mecca
    0 4 14 6 1
  • Lower Cathedral - ToeJo
    1 6 3 0 1
  • Middle Cathedral
    7 12 5 1 1
  • Higher Cathedral
    3 1 4 2 0
  • Lower Cathedral Spire
    1 0 1 0 0
  • Higher Cathedral Spire
    1 0 0 1 1

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