#9 - Southwest Face

Page Type Page Type: Route
Location Lat/Lon: 37.83250°N / 119.4019°W
Additional Information Route Type: Technical Rock Climb
Additional Information Time Required: Half a day
Additional Information Difficulty: 5.7
Sign the Climber's Log


From the Cathedral Lakes Trailhead, follow the John Muir Trail for about 1/2 mile until you come to a use trail on the west side of Budd Creek. The use trail is several hundred yards west of the creek, so don't turn off too early or you'll have to cross-country without the benefit of the nice trail (until you run into it eventually). The trail stays on the right side of the creek the whole way, forking several times after about two and half miles. The right forks all head for Cathedral Peak's SE Buttress, the left fork follows the creek towards Bud Lake.

Before reaching the lake, head south, aiming for a wide, sandy chute on the north side of Echo Peaks. A use trail makes the climb through this sandy section easier. Once on the ridge, head down the south side, passing Echo Peak #8 on the west side. Echo Peak #9 and the southwest side are less than 100 yards down from the ridge.

Route Description

Scramble up the Southwest Face on ledges as high as you are comfortable with, typically about a quarter of the height, then set up a belay anchor. This will keep you from stretching the first pitch too far - the crux is near the end of pitch #1.

Head up for 100ft, aiming for a small overhang. Mantle the overhang on the right side, the crux of the climb. A good belay spot can be found shortly above this point. Head left to the west ridge of the peak, where a bulge with a crack in the middle heading towards the summit marks the last obstacle. Watch for rope drag getting to this point, as it may pull you off trying to climb the bulge. The summit is an easy scramble above this.
steeleman adds: just above[the crux] there is a nice straight chimney with good holds that tops out right on the flat ledge below the summit block (which could help with that rope drag).

You can rappel directly off the SW Face in two rappels. Look for existing slings on the face about halfway down.
steeleman adds: If you have a 60m rope, you can also rap off the NE face into the narrow gap behind #9. A 50m won't reach. There's a good rap station right at the base of the crack leading up the summit block. As of August 2004, there are two rusty bolts here backed up with a bomber nut placement and some slings. A really fun rappel into this notch and an easy class 4 downclimb move brings you back to Wilts Col.

The rock is very coarse (good for holds) and loose, though it won't break off in big chunks - more like rubbing the grit off sandpaper.

Essential Gear

50m rope, a handful of medium cams, and some slings. Rock shoes recommended.

Miscellaneous Info

If you have information about this route that doesn't pertain to any of the other sections, please add it here.



Parents refers to a larger category under which an object falls. For example, theAconcagua mountain page has the 'Aconcagua Group' and the 'Seven Summits' asparents and is a parent itself to many routes, photos, and Trip Reports.