Southeast Buttress, Tuolumne Route Photo

Southeast Buttress 5.6

Includes North Face (5.4) of Eichorn's Pinnacle

Cathedral Peak

  • Southeast Buttress Sun ExposureRoute quality:
  • Southeast Buttress First AscentChuck Wilts and Spencer Austin, 1940s
  • Southeast Buttress Pitch InfoNumber of pitches: 5
  • Southeast Buttress Approach TimeApproach Time: 1-1½ hours
  • Southeast Buttress Climbing TimeClimbing Time: 2-3 hours
  • Southeast Buttress Descent timeDescent Time: 20-30 min to base
  • Southeast Buttress Sun ExposureSun exposure: Sunrise until afternoon
  • About the Climb

    Cathedral Peak is one of the most beautiful peaks in all of Tuolumne Meadows. Even better, the routes ascending Cathedral's Southeast Buttress offer amazing moderate climbing possibilities with a great alpine feel. Many variations are possible up the many cracks and face features, so don’t be afraid to make your own route if you need to pass slower parties. This route offers classic alpine climbing in one of the most pristine areas of Yosemite National Park. The Southeast Buttress is an extremely popular route, so start early or even better, get a backcountry permit and camp in the backcountry near Budd Lake.

    The routes on the buttress have endless possibilities, but you’ll get the most climbing if you start from the lowest point, right in the middle of the Buttress. The most popular routes converge up to a distinct chimney after 3 pitches, which can be crowded. If you need to, climb around to bypass slower parties. There are so many different ways to climb this buttress that passing people is usually not complicated if you're competent at the grade. Our GearLoopTopo for this route features a number of popular variations.

    The summit is perhaps the coolest part of the climb, and consist of a tiny block big enough for a couple of people to sit on. However, it’s not a great place to be if thunderstorms are around, so make sure you check the weather before you head up there.

    After summiting Cathedral Peak, head up to Eichorn’s Pinnacle and climb its North Face Route (5.4) as a bonus. Eichorn’s Pinnacle is a spectacular spire, and it makes perfect sense to climb its short North Face route after summiting Cathedral Peak, since it is located directly behind it. You will be rewarded with one of Tuolumne's most spectacular summits, and only a little effort is required. Although it is only rated 5.4, the climbing is very fun with a super exposed hand traverse, cool features and a spectacular summit. The North Face of Eichorn’s Pinnacle is the perfect way to finish your day, and almost mandatory after climbing Cathedral Peak.

    Southeast Buttress (Tuolumne) GearLoopTopo {Southeast Buttress (Tuolumne) GearLoopTopo

    Low Resolution GearLoopTopo Preview

    Minimum order of 3 GearLoopTopos

    The GearLoopTopo

    Our GearLoopTopo for the Southeast Buttress also includes the information you need to climb the North Face (5.4) of Eichorn's Pinnacle, with directions starting from the Tuolumne campground.

    Possible Combinations

    If you're looking for more climbing and summit bagging, several combinations are possible. The most obvious choice would be to climb the North Face Route (5.4) on Eichorn's Pinnacle, since it's so close. Our GearLoopTopo for the Southeast Buttress already includes the topo and all the information you will need to do this combination.

    Another great combination is to first climb the South to North Traverse (5.7) on the Mathes Crest, and then to climb Cathedral Peak on your way back.

    But perhaps the best combination of all would be to start with the Northwest Buttress (5.5) of Tenaya Peak, cross over to the South to North Traverse (5.7) of Matthes Crest, and then finish with the Southeast Buttress (5.6) of Cathedral Peak. Now that's a big day!

    Similar Climbs

    For other great routes at a similar grade, check out the Northwest Books (5.6), Great White Book (5.6R), Hobbit Book (5.7R), West Country (5.7), Zee Tree (5.7), and South to North Traverse (5.7).

    Download the Southeast Buttress PDF file or visit the PDF Center.

    version 2.3.2