CATHEDRAL Wall
Route: Kor Route (5.9 R, 7p)

JULY
1
2020
TR #: 429

Category: Colorado       Elev: ~11,800 ft      Rock Type: Gneiss & Biotite Schist

Partner: Nate Arganbright

A fun route up Cathedral Wall, with lots of sun and just the right amount of runnout spiciness.


INTRO

The 900-foot east-facing Cathedral Wall towers over the western end of Loch Vale Lake. I've passed by it a few times en route to the Sky Pond area to climb The Saber or Petit Grepon. There are several routes up its compact gneiss. This is a trip report for the Kor Route, which climbs the obvious left-facing dihedral on the Third Buttress. This route, originally named Cathedral Wall and put up by Layton Kor in 1963, was the first on the Third Buttress.

I thought this route was a lot of fun, with lots of sun and just the right amount of runnout spiciness. The following page provides a trip report for the climb. Enjoy!


TIME STATS

Glacier Gorge Trailhead to Base of route: 1 hour 20 minutes
Climb Route: 4 hours
Descent back to base: 1 hour 10 minutes
Base to Glacier Gorge Trailhead: 1 hour 10 minutes
Car-to-car time: 8 hours


OVERLAY



PITCH BY PITCH PHOTOS 

Photos:
Photo descriptions:
Approach
Begin from the Glacier Gorge Trailhead. Hike the trail past the Loch, and as you start to pass by Cathedral Wall, break right and head up to the base of the climb. Begin beneath a massive, left-facing dihedral with trees at the top.
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1. Leaving the Glacier Gorge Trailhead.
2. This elk on the trail had a young calf, and was sort of aggressive. We decided to giver her some space and cut off trail into the bush.


Pitches
1&2
(we linked)
5.7. Climb cracks up and left. This is a short pitch that can be easily linked with the next.
5.8. Follow the corner up and right, and belay at the base of a big dihedral.
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3. Nate starting off the route.
4. Nice exposure.
5. This is part of Pitch 2.


Pitch 
3
5.9. Climb a steep crack in the wall to the left of the dihedral. Move right when the crack fades and belay on a high ledge with a tree.
6.    6. Looking up the corner of Pitch 3. The pitch starts on the steep crack on the wall left of the dihedral.


Pitch 
4
5.8 R. Climb up past the tree, then angle up and left (runnout), and eventually follow a right-facing dihedral to a long grassy ledge. Belay beneath a 40-foot open-book dihedral.
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7. Nate starting off Pitch 4. 
8. Some 5.5 tree climbing - reminds me of Squamish!
9. Higher on Pitch 4.


Pitch 
5
5.8 R. Climb the corner past two fixed pins, then go left on jugs and climb up a moderately runnout face. Belay at a stance in a right-facing corner beneath a big roof.
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10. Looking up the start of Pitch 5.
11. A couple of old pins on this pitch.

12. Looking down at Pitch 5 from the belay.


Pitch 
6
5.9 R. Undercling right around the roof. Climb up moderately runnout terrain to a belay at at a small stance in a right-facing corner beneath a higher roof.
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13. Nate starting off Pitch 6. Note: a better belay spot would have been about 10 feet lower.
14. Fun steep climbing on Pitch 6.


Pitch 
7
5.8 R. Climb a corner that leads to a grassy ledge. Continue to a higher ledge and belay.
15.    15. Start of Pitch 7. We climbed the face a bit left of the grassy corner for a bit.s



Scramble to top of route
5.easy. Clamber up moderate terrain to an even higher grassy ledge that wraps around the buttress. Or continue even higher to the top.
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16. Scrambling to the higher ledge.
17. The grassy ledge. We traversed this to get to the descent gully.


Descent
There are a few decent options. See the guidebook for all of the options. We chose to traverse right along a grassy ledge and descended a gully directly back to the base of the route. This gully involved some scrambling and a rappel over a large chockstone. 
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27. <   
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18. Looking down the descent gully.
19. Descending gully.
20. About halfway down.
21. Nearing the chockstone.

22. Another photo of the chockstone. There was a nice new bright green cord for a rap anchor.
23. The rap anchor.
24. Looking back up at the chockstone.
25. Nice gneiss.
26. Looking back up the gully.
27. Back at the Glacier Gorge Trailhead.

28. I cleaned a cam off of the roof at the top of Pitch 5 / start of Pitch 6. Turned out it was Nate's cam from the last time he climbed this route, at least five years previous. The cam came out easily, suggesting not many people climb this route. They should though, it's a good route!