West Face

Page Type Page Type: Route
Location Lat/Lon: 37.83560°N / 119.3836°W
Additional Information Route Type: Scramble/Technical Climb
Additional Information Time Required: Less than two hours
Additional Information Difficulty: Class 4
Sign the Climber's Log


From the Cathedral Lakes Trailhead, follow the John Muir Trail SW for about 1/2 mile until you come to a use trail on the right side of Budd Creek. The use trail is several hundred yards right 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 up the drainage, petering out in the vicinity of Cathedral Peak. Follow the creek up to Bud Lake, passing the lake on the left (north) side.
Continue SE, heading for the low point of the saddle between Cockscomb and Echo Ridge to the west. If you stay low in the bud creek drainage before heading south to the saddle, you can avoid the steeper rocks and ledges below Echo Ridge. On the other hand, the more direct route to the saddle provides some interesting challenges and route finding along the way, though nothing is harder than class 2+ with good navigation.
Once at the saddle, The west face of Cockscomb is quite evident, and it is an easy walk to the base of the climb.

Route Description

There are a number of easy technical routes on Cockscomb's West Face. The easiest makes use of an obvious crack/chimney system in the center of the face, which climbs up and angles left (north) towards the summit near the top. This route is class 4.

A second route starts on the left side, going almost straight up to the summit. It follows an elegant (but easy) crack up to the left (north) side of the summit block. One could climb all the way on one pitch, but you may want to stop at the ridge where there is an excellent belay ledge. This makes it easier to protect the crux (5.6) which is just above this. The crux is the first few moves in surmounting the 20-foot summit block, making use of a thin crack with poor holds on the north side, followed by a move to the right onto the west side of summit block where face climbing will bring you to the summit.

If you read Secor's description it sounds nothing like I've described above, and it is impossible to tell if we are describing the same class 4 route. We had his description with us at the mountain but couldn't make sense of it. Oh well. Check the photo below for positive ID on the two routes decribed above.

Essential Gear

Standard climbing rack and rope should suffice. Bring an axe in early season for climbing the north side of the saddle on the approach.

Miscellaneous Info

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



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