AAC Publications - http://publications.americanalpineclub.org

North America, United States, California, Yosemite Valley, Lower Cathedral Rock, North Face, Children of the Corn, New Route

Lower Cathedral Rock, North Face, Children of the Corn, New Route. On May 20, Steve Gerberding, Dave Griffith, and I left our comfy bivy to push for the summit of Lower Cathedral Rock’s north face. Four days earlier, in perfect, hot weather, we had begun our climb. Children of the Corn (VI 5.12 A4+ R) takes the line straight up the middle of the north face via ten long pitches mostly of very hard aid climbing on dangerous rock, some of which is loose and expanding.

After a well-protected 5.12a pitch, the climb soon becomes hard. The second lead has no bolts and climbs its first 80 feet on body-weight (barely) gear above a ledge. The pitch ends on sporty runout hooking that risks 100-foot-plus falls. Steve claims the pitch is only A3, but it’s very state of the art. Seldom does the climb let up and never is there an easy pitch. Dave’s crux lead involves a wild pendulum off bad knifeblades to a runout, mandatory dyno to a large tree. I finished my final lead to the summit on runout free climbing, hard nailing, and hard camming behind a large grainy flake, all the time looking at huge, perhaps fatal, plunges.

We summited at noon and rapped with all gear in tow to the base of the wall, happy to never venture onto the face again. For the veteran aid climber, however, the climb is an ideal adventure, mostly on good rock in a stellar location on a shaded wall.

Scott Cosgrove, unaffiliated