When our alarms went off, we silenced them and went back to sleep. It was cold, we were tired and sore, and we only had 6 pitches of climbing and a few downhill miles to walk when we were done. We enjoyed a lazy morning, eating breakfast, drinking coffee, and packing up camp.
Eventually, we made our way towards Cathedral Peak, stopping along the way to filter water for the rest of the day. We stashed our packs in the trees below the climb before scrambling up to the start. There were several parties already on the wall, so it took a few minutes to decide where we wanted to begin. Cathedral Peak has many variations of routes on it, which provide many opportunities for faster parties to pass slower parties before arriving at the bottleneck right before the summit.
As Dave led the way, we made good time and passed several parties along the way. After two full-rope length pitches we found ourselves at the chimney. The chimney, which often has a line of parties waiting for it, was about to be ours to climb. After two more short pitches, we found ourselves on a large, comfortable ledge. The ledge was large enough for all of us to lay on! We ate our peanut butter and jelly sandwiches as we waited for the climbers ahead of us to climb the next pitch. About a half hour after reaching the ledge, Dave was able to start up the next pitch. Alex had only fed out about 50ft of rope when Dave came to a stop. It sounded like he had hit a traffic jam. As another party showed up on the ledge next to ours, they said we were VERY close to the summit. As the time passed, the sunny ledge turned to a shaded one, and Alex and Doug needed to put on extra layers of clothing… this meant a puffy for Alex and a shirt for Doug. Alex sat on the ledge, with Dave on belay, for an hour and a half before it was finally time for her to climb. He must not have been far from the summit because very little rope was fed out before he called “Off belay!” By this time, six other people were queued up behind us.
As Alex made her way up the pitch, she popped up over a block to see Dave sitting on the airy summit across a several foot gap from her. The summit was small, capable of holding no more than four people at a time. Back in the sun, the temperatures quickly changed, and Alex was roasting in her puffy and couldn’t wait to take it off again. Dave explained that we had to wait for so long because the party ahead, two guys and a 12-year-old boy, found themselves on the summit with the bolt used to rappel missing. Apparently, this bolt gets chopped periodically, but the downclimb off the summit isn’t too bad. The party, however, seemed uncomfortable with the situation and spent a good deal of time discussing what they were going to do. Dave let them alone, but intervened to help when they were going to lower the boy off a single nut. Dave offered his help, moved to the summit, added another nut, and backed it up with more gear to assist the party. After Doug arrived at the summit, we took a quick picture before Dave rappelled down, followed by Alex. Doug cleaned the cams, before rappelling down himself.
We didn’t get the summit pics we were hoping for due to the line waiting behind us!
Below the summit, we began negotiating our way along the descent ledges on the back of the peak. Apparently, sitting on the ledge for 2 hours made Doug rammy. He tried to convince us that we should still climb the Eichorn Pinnacle, a formation on the peak we originally were going to climb, but Alex and Dave had written off since it was now 4:30. We thought he was being ridiculous, it was late, we were tired, hungry, and still had to hike out. There was still hope that we could drive out of the park in time to get the fish tacos at The Mobil we had been talking about with other parties on the climb! After a few minutes of debate, he conceded, and we made our way off the traversing ledges to the scramble up and around the peak to the front side.
Back at our packs, we had a snack, relaxed for a few minutes, and loaded the climbing gear into our bags. Doug lead us towards the trailhead, navigating through the woods and along the creek until it met up with the trail. We moved quickly despite our heavy packs and tired bodies. Within an hour we found ourselves back at the trailhead. Joyously, we dropped our packs, exchanged approach shoes for flipflops, and removed our dirty, sweaty clothes. As we reorganized, the guys with the young boy appeared, somehow they wound up behind us. They thanked Dave again for his help before heading out. Once our car was packed up, we headed toward The Mobil.
At The Mobil, we each had an order of fish tacos, and shared an Asian salmon salad, and an order of fries. Ice cream also followed to round out our meal. The party with the boy was also at The Mobil, and we wound up talking with them until about 9:00PM. Back in the car, we drove towards Reno, stopping at a national forest dispersed camping area to sleep for the night.