Peak(s):  Cathedral Pk A  -  13,943 feet
"Electric Pass Pk"  -  13,635 feet
Hayden Pk A  -  13,561 feet
Leahy Pk  -  13,322 feet
Date Posted:  09/03/2017
Date Climbed:   09/02/2017
Author:  Acorn22
 Electric/Cathedral Traverse + Surrounding 13ers   

Alright guys I got an interesting read for you all, but I would like to say first off that I tried my best to decipher Furthermore's trip report of the Electric/Cathedral traverse he did in 2008, but I just had to see this stuff for myself. I did botch a lot of the line choices made on the traverse, but I got pics... sooo not even mad.

Anyway, I had parked in the Cathedral Lake parking lot and I woke up and left my car where I had slept in the back. It was cold as nuts and leaving the comfort of my cramped 4runner trunk was a difficult thing for me to do, but I rolled on out of there at 5:30am. The trail to the lake wasn't terrible which could have been because I was half asleep and so zoned out, but I made it to the Cathedral Lake/Electric Pass fork a little less than an hour later and took a right to go up the pass.

Hiking up Electric Pass, I was first aiming for Leahy (Lay-He for those wondering, spent a decent chunk of the morning trying to figure that out). The slope that Electric Pass is on is like a nice handicapped ramp among grass, very smooth and gradual which made it a short ascent. I ended up cutting off of the pass trail a little early to make the trip shorter.


I finally topped out at Leahy exactly 2 hours later from when I left my car on the dot, not too shabby I thought.

Leahy Peak

Yeah Leahy was cool, and the peak of any other mountain is cool I guess, but I was too stoked on hitting Cathedral later that I was only on the smaller summit for like 5 minutes before I took the ridge over to Electric Pass Peak.

Ridge to Electric Pass Peak

View of Cathedral ridge

The walk over to EPP took me maybe all of 15 minutes and that is where I ditched my helmet that I was planning on using later, along with 2 cans of ravioli to lighten up my pack a little bit for the hike over to Hayden, after all, I was going to be back on top of EPP again soon.

EPP summit

Look at Cathedral ridge

Let's see... The walk over to Hayden, hmmm, it's really not that great honestly. It is pretty out of the way and the ridge itself is kinda chunky so I had to stick below it on a very faint footpath walking among lots and lots off loose scree. Class 2+ just because there is like 1 part where you have to descend some larger boulders which could take some finesse.

Once on top of Hayden I pulled a Chevy Chase and looked around for like 5 seconds and nodded my head before I said to myself "Ok, let's go" then headed back again haha.

Coming back is where I got shafted by that footpath because I don't know if I wasn't paying attention or something, but there are 2 paths on the way back to EPP and I subconsciously chose the one that dropped a lot in elevation. I went for like 10 minutes and was like "wait why am I over 100 feet below the ridge??" I had to scramble back up some scree to the ridge again and then continue on my way. The total time it took me to check Hayden off from EPP and head back was about an hour and 10 minutes. Like I said, out of the way.

Ridge to EPP from Hayden

Back on top of EPP, I met a nice woman up there named Maria and I was very thankful that she did not eat my ravioli. Maria if you see this, I appreciate your company up there!


I grabbed my gear back and peeled out again from EPP about 10 minutes later, FINALLY getting to hit this traverse over to Cathedral.

Ok so... My main motivation for this was to not have to go way the hell out of the way to climb Cathedral from the standard route up the gully, AND to provide you wonderful people with some insight to this thing because I sure wished I had a bit more.

Pro tip #1: Just go ahead and take the L on trying to maintain elevation up near the ridge, do yourself a favor and just drop where it is convenient, otherwise you'll end up in a lot of situations where you won't know what to do because you're on the edge of a hefty cliff.

Pro Tip #2: If you faintly see something that looks like a cairn up on the ridge, I can 400% assure you it is, in fact, not a cairn

Pro tip #3: If you are not comfortable with loose Elk rock, this is not for you.

Alright so from EPP, obviously head along the ridge towards Cathedral for starters... There is actually a nice little footpath to show you where to go!

The footpath drops below to the West side of the ridge, (and now that I mention it, all of this is on the West side, East would be instant devastation) but continue on the path around the first large rock chunk.

Skirting along gendarme


Looking back

Once the path skirts around the rock wall shortly, it goes back up a small chute

Go up gully then head to the right

Once at the top of the chute, I was back on top of the ridge.



The path keeps going and winds around some more out croppings of rock


OK! This is where my day went pretty downhill (not even a pun). So you got this nice path that you have been friends with for awhile now because it is the only thing showing you where to go, but suddenly this stupid path breaks into 2 paths out of nowhere. One goes high, and the other seemed to switch back way way low.

Where footpath breaks into two, I went under that spire back there

I picked the high one because I was thinking 'pshh why would I want to lose all of that elevation?' Well that probably wasn't the best idea but I went with it and later had no choice to undo it.

Sticking high, I was forced to have to deal with a bunch of steep gullies and rock spines. Several of them just kept coming after I got out of the last one.


I was having to do a lot of weaving in and out and in and out of these gullies/spines along small ledges for the most part

Little ledges

I know this next pic doesn't make the terrain look too menacing, but that footpath ended between those two gendarmes and I was winging it from there.


And at this point, you may be reading this and thinking 'why doesn't he just keep walking down the mountain and gain the elevation later?' And I answer that by telling you that in a lot of cases up there, the rock spines and gullies went what seemed to be over 1000' down and there was no telling if any short cliffs existed down there as well.

I ended up at this really narrow gully with massively steep walls and the only reason I was able to get down into it was because I found a weakness in the cliff wall somewhere down. I climbed up the gully and did some short class 3 moves to get back on top of that cliff wall to the right.

I went up this then climbed a little segment of wall to the right to get on top of the cliff

When I was on top of this spine, the view kind of opened up and I saw one of the rather large notches carved into the ridge, so of course I walked over there to check it out



After whipping out a few more class 3 moves to drop into that notch, I kept going and the terrain turned into really blocky loose rock.



Negotiating that took me awhile and after that was over was about the time where I reached my 'I don't even know what to do now' moment.

I came up to another notch which seemed normal at this point, but the rock on the other side was just all cliff and I had no way of accessing the other side of the gully that came from it

LARGE cliff walls to deal with

I was staring at it for like 5 minutes but then realized there was no way I was getting across this, at least right in the spot where I was. I started walking down the loose talus that I was on trying to find a break in the cliff for me to at least get down into that gully, and luckily I was able to find one maybe 150 feet down.

Now I was in that gully with cliffs on either side of me, bur at least I had a way down and out

Going down gully between cliff walls that I found a way into


Ok I saw this majestic orange ramp out in the distance, and even better, the terrain up from the ramp actually just looked like a scree slope which was awesome at this point. Onward to the orange ramp I went, and if you are on this traverse and see this ramp, you must go there.


ha ha ha... finally... something normal

Calm slope

I kept going up the slope avoiding the stuff to the right, basically trying to get the ridge back because I was pretty close at this point


Once at the ridge, I had one last final obstacle ahead of me which was the class 3 wall shown in Furthermore's report. Be careful because if you fall, you will be rolling awhile.

Walls over there


Wow ok cool the hard stuff was done with! On top of that wall, I enjoyed a nice hassle-free stroll to the summit


Looking back, don't let this fool you

Once on top of Cathedral, I think it took me like 2 and a half hours, but I felt pretty accomplished not gonna lie.

I left and went down the SW gully soon after which was so freaking loose and steep, but still better than the ridge.

I ended up snagging Malemute too today which was nice and that let me be able to check off five 13ers, so not a bad weekend spent.

As for the ridge, I would not do it again but I hope that the photos and stuff prove helpful to those who were looking for some info on it

Thumbnails for uploaded photos (click to open slideshow):
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 21 22 23 24 25 26 27 28 29 30 31 32 33 34 35 36

Comments or Questions

Nice Summits
09/04/2017 11:01
Well-written Trip Report too. Thanks so much for posting the quality 13er route beta. Excellent work with reaching all those classic Elk Range peaks. Way to go on a stellar outing. Information regarding these types of Colorado mountaineering lines is great having. Keep climbing safe, smart, and strong


Thank You!
09/04/2017 13:46
Thanks jasayrevt, I knew it was about time for there some info on this line! I should have another report soon for White Rock and White Rock BM, another lesser climbed series of peaks in the Elks.


No TRs
09/04/2017 19:09
There are no TRs on these peaks when dry because they are heinous without snow. In spring they get skied every day by aspenites and are classic spring skis found in many guidebooks.


1st one
09/04/2017 19:38
Well I am glad I made one of the first summer trip reports for it then


I think I'm with Natalie on this one...
09/05/2017 09:09
Even though I don't ski, this looks like it would be a lot more fun in the winter! Nice report, tho - it shows me a route I will never, ever do!

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