| Cathedral Pk. - a different route
Left Golden after work Friday, about 6pm and got some grub at the A&W in Frisco before we made our way to Aspen. Arrived in the Maroon Bells parking lot around 10:30pm, drank some brews before hitting the sack in the back of our cars at midnight. I dont think 30 minutes passed before the rain started up and it didnt let up by any means. It came down pretty hard for a good 2 hours and just as our alarm clocks went off @ 3:30am, it finally stopped. After contemplating our options, we decided that climbing loose wet rock was a bad idea and living past the age of 25 was a decent idea. So we basically whipped out Roach‘s 13er book, pointed a finger and it just so happened to land on Cathedral Peak. We quickly drove down the Castle Creek rd to the trailhead, just past Ashcroft, right before the road to the trailhead of Castle Pk.
Two rather strange things occured right as we arrived to the trailhead. First, a guy camped out in his Scion, decided to start up his car and take off. I guess he wasn‘t feeling the Jethro Tull blasting as we got ready, his loss. Second, a guy emerged from the woods w/ no overnight pack, and we couldnt figure out what his deal was, figured he must‘ve gone on a night hike to the lake real early?? Who knows.
Back to the climb. We made quick time as we hussled up the beginning of the route in the early stages of the morning. As the trail began to parrallel the river, we eventually reached a junction where we could have gone straight towards the cascading waterfall or head right. we headed right and eventually reached an opening where we had a nice view of what we initially thought was Cathedral but ended up being Malamute Pk, towering over Cathedral Lake. Before we reached the lake, there was a section of rather steep switchbacks that put a slight workout on the legs, but we got up there nevertheless and viewed our route towards the peak. At the lake, we headed south, over a creek on to the beginning of the boulderfield. Being a 13er, the route isnt as blatant as a 14er, so we had to do a little route finding through the boulders, but it was relatively easy for the most part.
We reached the base of the slope and saw our miserable scree filled route. A little background, Roach basically describes this standard gully route as "snow filled in June, about halfway in Juy and a pile of crap in August". We were hoping for an escape route and about halfway up, we most certainly found one. A gully, more like an inclined canyon, to the right of the scree gully, made for a really nice class 3/4 scramble almost all the way to the ridge below Cathedral‘s summit. As the gully opened we entered some more loose rock and large blocks of scree but quickly made way to the ridge.
The rest of the climb from the ridge to the summit was filled with some cool class 3 moves and great views of the surrounding region. When we reached the summit and read the log, we realized we had been the only ones to stand atop this mountain in July and the last person to say the same was 1 month ago, it was a pretty cool feeling. After some summit shots and some grub we made our descent. We flirted with the idea to traverse all the way over to Malamute Pk and then down to the lake, but we wanted to save some energy for Sunday.
Back at the car, we downed a few more Stone‘s then grabbed some much needed rib lunch @ Hickory House then parted ways, me to Lake Como, Chris and Nate were to climb Pyramid but with the terrential downpour saturday night, their fate was ill-fated and headed home. All in all this was a great climb and it looks like a lot of 13rs await me in the very near future. Can‘t beat it when you are the only one on a peak (for a month), the approach is beautiful and the climb is fun as well. Here are some pics :
sun coming up in the early morning
view of what we thought was Cathedral, ended up being Malamute pk over the lake
Route we took was in Red, standard gully route in Green, so much loose scree, just a rock slide waiting to happen
Southeast view from halfway up the slope
Entering the gully to the right of the standard route, beginning of a lot of fun scrambling
Chris looking up the gully
Looking back down the route, about halfway up
Another view to the southeast w/ cloud cover
Chris and Nate upclimbing some class 3 stuff just below Cathedral‘s summit
The last section before the summit
A familair name
Been a month since anyone has set foot on this summit
Summit shot w/ Castle group in background
View of the spires along Cathedral‘s Northeast ridge
Cathedral pk viewed from Cathedral Lake
Thumbnails for uploaded photos (click to open slideshow):