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North America, United States, California, Yosemite Valley, Middle Cathedral Rock, North East-Buttress Route

Middle Cathedral Rock, North East-Buttress Route. Late in July Frank Sacherer and I climbed the east buttress of Middle Cathedral Rock by a new route. This route starts to the west of the east buttress route established by Harding in 1954, and ascends just east of a huge gully at the left side of the northeast face. Beginning east of this huge gully is a slightly broken face with two ceilings about 400 feet up blocking one’s view. The route ascends a dihedral until it is possible to traverse around a corner onto the face below these overhangs. Difficult climbing below the overhangs leads one up beneath the lower of the ceilings. A layback crack is followed over the first one; face climbing over the second. Above the second ceiling lies a severe face, broken only by a diagonal angle crack. This desperate pitch brought us to a ledge, from which we traversed 50 feet left, then joined a crack system leading upward for several hundred feet. This crack system went nicely, except for a rather difficult overhanging chimney. A traverse down and right brought us to a 4th class crack system which took us the remaining 600 feet to the top of the east buttress. The climb took 8 hours, and contained 6 pitches of difficult climbing plus 4 pitches of 4th class climbing. The pitch going over the ceilings and ascending the face above may be class F10, but a true rating will have to wait until others have climbed the route. No artificial climbing was used on the 1000-foot route. (NCCS IV, F10)

Chris Fredericks