Cathedral Mountain in Zion National Park is a rather obscure objective by Zion standards. Situated just to the east of the most popular objective in the park, Angels Landing, it receives little attention. As you ascend the Angels Landing hiking trail, the steep walls on your left are in fact the lower western flank of Cathedral Mountain. Bryan Bird's relatively new guide book, “Zion Climbing: Free and Clean”, utilizes Cathedral Mountain as a collection for routes that run along the multiple walls which run along the north side of the Angels Landing hiking trail. Higher up, this trail eventually connects to the West Rim trail which separates Cathedral Mountain from Angels Landing.
The approaches in general are short and most of the climbs receive a solid dose of sun. The lone "old school" route known on the wall is Voodoo Rooves established by Randy Cerf and Wesley Krause in 1977. This route, although well worth doing, is in bad need of retrofitting regarding the rap stations (2011). The rest of the routes are relatively new, i.e. Coke Explosion established in 2005 by Bryan Bird, Eric Draper and Joe French. Coke Explosion's rap stations were obviously in great shape (2011) in comparison to Voodoo Rooves.
Get off the bus or park at the Grotto as though you are going to Angels Landing. Cross the bridge and turn right onto the Angels Landing trail. Continue a short distance, five minutes or so, looking for a cairn marking a somewhat indistinct trail on the left. Head off this direction for Coke Explosion which is the furthest route left (along with two single pitch routes). Voodoo Rooves is the furthest route right and contains the largest feature on this wall, a significant roof about 200’ off the deck. This route is rarely climbed and there is no climber’s trail through the thick brush to the base of the wall. Instead, it is best to locate a drainage about 40 yards or so to the left of the roof.
Route Description (s)
Routes are Listed Left to Right as you Face the Wall(s)
The first pitch is nothing more than a high step 5th class move to gain a short slab that leads to the main wall. Someone put a single rap ring on the main wall, but with double 60m ropes, there is no real need for it. The first real pitch is an easy going 5.9 hand crack/corner that rides a weakness that slants rightward through a few trees to several ledges the furthest of which has a fixed station. The second pitch starts with a short and easy layback that quickly turns into off width that protects relatively well without a lot of large gear. It ends at another ledge with a fixed station below a chimney with a single bolt out on the left face. The last pitch is the crux of the climb. Up the chimney and then a short section of a hand crack before taking on a squeeze chimney/off width section to the top of the wall. With double 60m ropes, we made it back down with two raps. Dow
The first pitch is rated old school 5.9+ and is quite spicy for the grade. It requires traversing from left to right, crack to crack, and involves several heads up moves. The second pitch pulls a huge roof setting you up for a hanging belay above same. The setting of this pitch is spectacular and although the rock quality of the roof itself left something to be desired, the moves were fantastical. The third pitch is a consistent 5” inch crack in the best rock of the route, a heavily varnished short corner. It pulls a small roof to easier ground and a ledge belay with bad fixed gear. The fourth pitch is an easy and fun 5.7R chimney on decent rock to a slightly better fixed belay (and thus better rap option) on another ledge. The final pitch offers up the crux of the climb, the 10” off width finish which is dirty and lacking in features. You can get one heel to toe going, but the facial features helping you up the vertical off-width are lacking. Dow
Oscar’s Café, the only place for climbers to truly fill their appetite (free range chicken, beef and Hank’s Tanker) and meet one of the finer climbers and individuals I know on the face of the earth, Zach Lee, someone who has established many of his own local FA’s in the area.
Zion National Park trail conditions or closures, wildlife notices/closures, weather conditions, camping permits, canyon water levels, etc.
""You cannot stay on the summit forever; you have to come down again. So why bother in the first place? Just this: What is above knows what is below, but what is below does not know what is above. One climbs, one sees. One descends, one sees no longer, but one has seen. There is an art of conducting oneself in the lower regions by the memory of what one saw higher up. When one can no longer see, one can at least still know.""