South Face, Left (Orange Flake)

South Face, Left (Orange Flake)

Page Type Page Type: Route
Location Lat/Lon: 37.84780°N / 119.4047°W
Additional Information Route Type: Trad Climbing
Seasons Season: Summer, Fall
Additional Information Time Required: Half a day
Additional Information Rock Difficulty: 5.8 (YDS)
Additional Information Number of Pitches: 3
Additional Information Grade: II
Sign the Climber's Log


Many parties set out to climb the classic SE Buttress of Cathedral Peak and find themselves unwilling participants in a traffic jam.  Roper and Secor guidebooks mention several moderate routes just around the corner on the South Face, yet these seem to receive very little attention.  After backing out of a conga line at the base of the West Pillar of Eichorn Pinnacle one day, we ventured around the corner and climbed a short, but spectacular, route on the South Face.  We informally dub it the "Orange Flake" to distinguish from what are likely several other potential high quality South Face routes.


The South Face of Cathedral Peak may be approached by hiking up and left from the base of of the SE Buttress route, or by traversing around to the right from the base of the West Pillar of Eichorn Pinnacle.  Ascend slabs towards a huge orange flake left of the center of the face.

Route Description

The first pitch follows the corner formed by the left-hand side of the huge orange flake.  Follow this up 80-100' until you can make an easy step out right onto the face.  Follow the incredible, steep knobs another 80', finding good pro in the corner on your left, to a belay at the top of the flake. 5.6 on amazing knobs.  The 2nd pitch moves up and right over cracks and flakes, aiming for the large, blocky, tower at the top of the face, making a belay on a good ledge below the tower.  From here, it appears one can escape up and left over 4th or easy 5th class to the summit ridge between Cathedral and Eichorn.  But you are here for the money 3rd pitch: climb up and into a steep corner, and follow the good hand crack up and through a short off-width section on the right side of the main tower (5.8).  Belay from cams in cracks on the flat, knobby top of this tower.

The tower can be downclimbed via a squeeze chimney (easy 5th, no exposure) to the north and join the regular western slabs descent route from Cathedral Peak. 

Essential Gear

Standard alpine rack to 3"
60m rope (50m may not reach the top of the flake on p1)



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