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Trip Report    

Basic Rock Climb - Cathedral Rock/Southwest Face & Mount Daniel

Bailed from Cathedral Rock on Saturday, summitted on Sunday. Skipped Daniel.

  • Road rough but passable
  • The trails and route on Cathedral Rock are in good shape. No snow. Very buggy.

It is in fact 2.5 hours drive from Seattle to the TH - takes longer than you might expect to get from exit 80 to the TH.

Our plan was to hike into Peggy's Pond Saturday AM, climb Cathedral Saturday afternoon, and climb Daniel on Sunday. We started from the TH at 8:30 and found an acceptable campsite around 11:30am. We left camp to climb Cathedral about 1pm.

We looked briefly for the "alternate ascent route" from Peggy's but did not find a climber's trail. So we switched plans and hiked back to the PCT and located the usual ascent route. Next time - drop gear just off the PCT and climb Cathedral before continuing to Peggy's!

The approach from the PCT to the route is  mostly easy to find. Where the PCT crosses Cathedral Pass, there is a campsite just off the PCT. The climber's  trail  continues up the ridge from the campsite. Very soon (say 10 yards) there is a split. We went left. The trail is easy to follow up to a cliff band. There are several gullies in this cliff band - we used gully to the left of the trail. We found a rap anchor on tree at the top of this gully. Easy scrambling through this short gully. The climbing trail resumes above the gully. Eventually reach summit formation and the "obvious" gully on the left. This is a long gully (say 100 yards), much loose rock, steeper with some steps towards the top. We found it best to stay right at first but when the gully steepened, cross to the left and scramble on rock to bypass the steps and loose rock in the gut. Class 3/4 scrambling. We found a rap anchor on tree at the top of this gully too.

This brings you to the climbing route. It seems the best route climbs slightly right (right of a green-yellow lichen face) to reach the summit ridge and an established rap anchor. One 30m pitch, pretty decent climbing. We followed easy cracks up and avoided the more slabby climbing to the left of the cracks. Definitely avoid climbing to the left of the green-yellow lichen face, loose rock and eventually steeper more difficult climbing.

On Saturday, we had some route-finding and other issues and we were running short of time, so we bailed after reaching the summit ridge. Instead of climbing Daniel on Sunday, we opted to go back to Cathedral and finish the route.

Once on the summit ridge, you are NOT done - it is class 4 scrambling to the summit but much suspect or loose rock. We choose to pitch this out (three 30m pitches) to the summit. We stuck pretty much to the ridge crest, passing obstacles on the right. We found a summit register.

For the descent, we down-led to set a 60m hand-line, two folks descended using the line, then leader followed and cleaned the hand-line. Repeated for the final 30m back to the rap anchor. Single rope rappel back to the start of the route (top of the gully). Double-rope rappel down the gully (very cautious of loose rock - saddle bags, keep rope to climber's left side of gully). Single-rope rappel down the first gully.

Overall, this is a much longer route (at least if you protect the summit ridge and rappel the gullies) than you might expect. Took us almost 12 hours from Peggy's Pond to summit to TH.