whilst happily enjoying a beer at Barrio brewing our friends daughter visiting from Colorado mentioned she,d like to climb Cathedral Rock. It had been my ambition for some time but couldn,t find anyone to go with. After the next beer we decided to meet at Sabino at 6.15 am. We got under way at about 6.30 and saw the sun rise over Blackets Ridge. The trail over Cardiac Ridge to bridal vail falls is really beautiful. Then things get a bit steeper. At the Window Peak turn off the trail continues to a ridge then west to the Rock. At that point we managed to lose the trail, only a few cairns. After about 1/2 hour of oak tree wrestling and searching with the aid of a guide book we eventually found the trail. Which took us to the final rock. A crack- gully about 40 foot high .where some thought full individual had left a nice rope. We managed to climb relatively easily . Then we were at the top. Incredible view now i have completed nearly all the Catalina Peaks. The descent went easily enough, managed to find the trail down ok. Near Esperaro canyon we saw the sun go down and got back to Sabino Canyon about 7. 15 pm. The total milage was 21 miles and approx 6,oooft. Worth it i,d do it again. question who installed the rope? Thank you i owe you a beer.
I started pre-dawn @ about 5AM...light enough to walk the road from the Sabino Canyon Parking area w/o my headlamp. Turned onto the Esperero Tr & away I went! I maintained a steady pace but still required 7 hrs to reach the summit area atop Cathedral. The "bushwhack" off the Cathedral Rock trail was pretty tough *(I'm almost 64!) but a slow & steady pace...+ adrenaline... got me up.
Attempted to scale the 2nd (lower) spire but was blocked about 10 vertical feet from the top *(I wasn't going technical!)
Traversed over to the 1st (higher) spire & was glad to see the "mysterious rope" I'd heard about. It was newer & nylon but I only used it for partial support on the way up the crack. Seeing its structural integrity & attachment was excellent (once at top) I later just rapped down!
Found & signed the canister & then traversed over toward the large block that appeared to be slightly higher. Not a hard scramble up though the exposure on the slanting edge was formidable.
Enjoyed the great views, solitude (no humans sighted all day) & explored a little in the surrounding summit area then began the 10-mile hike back. NO water observed anywhere all day; I brought 2 gallons of fluid which was more than I needed. Finished at 7 PM just after the sun set.
Considering distance *(some sources indicate 20 mi), total vertical gain (6,000 +) & time required (14 hrs for me) this was probably slightly tougher than Rincon Peak (16 + mi)in comparison. In one word: spectacular!
All that work is worth it for that final half-mile. The Esperero Trail is relentless, but the views get better and better above Bridal Veil Falls. Trail is in great shape now from here to the start of the bushwhack, so kudos to whoever fixed it up. The last bit up the summit tower was great fun, and the views off this one are incredible. Lots of work for CR, but enjoyed it in the end.
Climbed a long, long time ago with Guy Cloutier and Jerry Schuster.
We started in the heat of the day, and were soon short on water. Filled up from a lucky drip at our camp site, Bridal Veil falls.
Topped out next day, but Guy and Jerry needed a rope for last
pitch, and it was in the car. Back at camp the water jug had shifted away from the drip, which delayed our march out.
Great hike but last time up there with friends, one noted that she'd lost her car keys... and it figured that they'd fallen out of her pocket during her "relief" stop... way up at the top of Esperero, so... I had to run back up and sure enough, there they were. Not the right hike to have to add extra miles on to.
Really great hike. Started at 6:00 AM and finished around 8:00 PM. Coming down in the dark is never fun, but it only happened due to my inability to leave the summit because I loved it so much. Wouldn't attempt this in the summer as all the trees are burnt down and therefore negative amounts of shade.
We camped out in near Bridal Falls and headed up towards Cathedral Rock in the morning. Soon after this point, the trail dissapears. Much of the trail is overgrown, washed out, and the few Cairns you will find aren't there when you need them.
Almost made it, we hiked on without the trails, but had to come down due to time contraint!
This is a long and sometimes painful hike but a great summit!