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Thread: Cathedral Peak???????

  1. #1

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    Cathedral Peak???????

    I'm going to Yosemite next week and I'm planning on going up to Cathedral Peak. Has anyone hiked to Cathedral Peak, what's the hike like? I've seen a possible short cut which takes you to Upper Cathedral lake by way of cutting across by Pywiack dome.I'm also going to North Dome but there's no short cut there.Can't wait!!!

  2. #2
    Vaughn's Avatar
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    Re: Cathedral Peak???????

    It has been years since I backpacked to the Cathedral Lakes. It was May, probably 1976, give or take a year. Post-holed it all the way to Upper Cathedral Lake while my lighter friend could stay on top of the snow. Slip/slided down the snow to the lower lake where we could see a tiny bit of snow-free ground and open water at the outlet. Lakes were still frozen over -- played frisbee on the lower lake wearing nuthin' but boots. The frisbee floated nicely over the ice at that altitude!

    We hiked out via the outlet stream of Lower Cathedral Lake as it was snow-free...but an interesting scramble/slide down the granite "apron". Ah youth and the knowledge of one's immortality! We followed the outlet creek all the way to Hyw 120, just skirting the southern end of Pywiack Dome. I think that might be the way you'd go up, also. Don't really know.

    I do not think your idea of a short cut will be that short (to the peak, anyway) -- more elevation gain than using the John Muir Trail (but only a couple hundred feet difference -- but a steep SOB), but less people. pretty easy hike in on the John Muir.

    Vaughn

  3. #3
    Drew Wiley
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    Re: Cathedral Peak???????

    Pretty mild hike by Sierra standards. It's still very early in the season, so mush,muck. or
    fast creeks are likely somewhere. It's a drought year but there have been recent snowstorms. Check with the Park Service or Google Earth for snowpack amt.

  4. #4
    Is that a Hassleblad? Brian Vuillemenot's Avatar
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    Re: Cathedral Peak???????

    It's a very nice hike and only 3 or 4 miles from the trailhead to get to the lake and meadow near cathedral peak. The time I hiked up, a young couple were skinny dippiong in the lake! I watched the sunset and photogreaphed the peak and lake in the dusk light. The way back was harder, as there is about 1/2 mile of trail through the woods just before the meadow that is very poorly marked, and I only had a flashlight to see with at night. I kept going down dead end false trails and then spent much of the night crouched beside the trail trying to stay warm. I finally found my way back to the car at 5:00 am. I'll be sure to bring the GPS on my next trip up there!
    Brian Vuillemenot

  5. #5

    Re: Cathedral Peak???????

    Cathedral Lakes is probably the number 1 backpacking destinations in Yosemite. Reason: A short (~3.7miles) and relatively easy (1000 foot elevation gain) hike from the road to a very scenic destination:

    Cathedral Peak



    Due to its popularity you may have problems securing an overnight permit for Cathedral Lakes. If the quota has been reached ask for a permit to stay at Upper Cathedral Lake which is about an easy mile further uphill toward Catherdal Pass with good campsites and very few people stay there. Bears are active in that area. Once, while hiking from the Valley to Reds Meadow, I ran into a group of hikers that apparently left their food unsecured and was stolen by the bears. Since I was planning to resupply at the Tuolumne Meadows store, I sold them one of my meals.

    Thomas

  6. #6

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    Re: Cathedral Peak???????

    about 8 years ago, I day-hiked up during the day, hung out until dusk and hiked back in the dark with a flashlight. As Drew said, by Sierra standards, it is a very reasonable hike.

    If they only allowed dogs, I would do it again. Hiking without my dog just doesn't seem natural.

  7. #7
    ROL's Avatar
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    Re: Cathedral Peak???????

    Quote Originally Posted by Harley Goldman View Post
    about 8 years ago, I day-hiked up during the day, hung out until dusk and hiked back in the dark with a flashlight. As Drew said, by Sierra standards, it is a very reasonable hike.
    As have I, back by starlight. But, I can't recommend it as the results were obviously not worth it:

    Alpenglow, Cathedral Peak

    I certainly would not recommend your "shortcut" unless you know the area well, are experienced in cross-country wilderness travel, and and don't care that it will actually take you longer than the well-used trail. BTW, the easiest of Cathedral's many fine routes involves its class 4 (roped?) summit block but well worth it .

  8. #8

    Re: Cathedral Peak???????

    Quote Originally Posted by ROL View Post
    As have I, back by starlight. But, I can't recommend it as the results were obviously not worth it:

    Alpenglow, Cathedral Peak

    I certainly would not recommend your "shortcut" unless you know the area well, are experienced in cross-country wilderness travel, and and don't care that it will actually take you longer than the well-used trail. BTW, the easiest of Cathedral's many fine routes involves its class 4 (roped?) summit block but well worth it .

  9. #9

    Re: Cathedral Peak???????

    As you surmised, there is a climbers route (hike) that is shorter than the main trail. It goes to the lower lake. The short-cut is not physically demanding, but there are a few spots where one can get turned around if they don't know the route. In a year with a lot of snow, that can be tricky.

    As the other posters mentioned, the main trail from Tuolumne to the upper lake is neither long, nor difficult. Getting top of Cathedral Peak itself was more of a pain than I guessed it would be. There are numerous volunteer trails up the east flank, and from what I was told, the main route up the peak is at the southeast corner. The volunteer trails make the east flank look like an aluvial fan. Too many IMO, and they are full off loose stuff. The top of the ridge is a massive rockpile. I often go where I shouldn't, and when I reached the top of the ridge running toward Tuolumne and was scoping out methods to get to the spire, or even just to the saddle between the spires, I demurred.

    After reading Vaughn's description of his youthful expedition, I exhaled slowly. That slab that the creek follows is spectacular, but that early in the year, it had to get the blood flowing. The only other person I know that hiked up that way was Jeff Grandy.

    And TG, that's Echo Peaks in your lovely photo, a wonderful destination, BTW. ;-)

  10. #10

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    Re: Cathedral Peak???????

    I did this hike a year or two ago with my family (from Tuolumne) and it was a nice hike, as far as the trail went. A little uphill here and there, if I remember right, but nothing significant. What I remember most is the "meadow" just before you get the the lake. When we were there it was not a meadow but a swamp, with the most amazingly large, black, and aggressive mosquitoes I've seen in a long while. Rather insanely aggressive. It was horrible, really. When you actually got to the bare stone and the lake it was better but that sort of colored the whole hike. My youngest kid, normally the most stoic of hikers was really upset. We stayed at the lake only and hour or two before retreating back through the hideous swamp...

    --Darin

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