One of the most prominent features in Tuolumne Valley is the beautiful Cathedral Peak, topping out at 10,911 ft. Right behind it is Eichorn's Peak- one of the scariest and most exposed 5.4 climbs I've ever done, with a beautiful finish. After racing back to Tuolumne the night after we summitted Matterhorn, we met up with a German climber named Matt we had met in Camp 4 the week before at 7:30 am and began the long hike up 2,000 ft to get to the base of the Southeast Buttress of Cathedral. From there, it was crack after beautiful crack of climbing up to the top.Every single belay offered a spectacular view: and occasionally you had to take a pause from the climbing to hang off and look at the view around you.
The closer we got to the top, the windier it became until waiting at the belay meant huddling in a little ball until it was your turn up. Here's a picture of myself and Matt the German hunkering down, trying to stay out of the blasting wind:
It was so windy there were a lot of times where despite the ease of the climbing the exposure to the ground made it a little nervewracking! When we got to the top, we stayed in the sheltered belay area just to stay on the wall!
Despite the wind, we decided to climb out onto Eichorn's Pinnacle- a beautiful little stick of rock jutting out from the side of Cathedral:
The view is fantastic from up there, but the climbing is a mental game you have to play with yourself to get up! In order to reach it, you have to climb around the back side from what you see, where the rock drops off almost 1000 feet.
The climbing is technically not terribly difficult, but it's big cracks that drop off and the wind is grabbing and pushing you from all angles, so by the time you reach the top you're pretty frazzled. But reach the top we did!
It was sooo amazing, and despite the wind was so exhilarating to be up there that all I could do was just take in the view and feel how lucky it was to be in a place like that.
After getting down, beer and chili mac and cheese was shared all around toasting a successful day. Once Scott and I got back to our camp, we started gearing ourselves up for our final climb in Tuolumne, the Regular Route on Fairview Dome- the tallest dome up there...