Peak(s):  Cathedral Pk A  -  13,943 feet
Date Posted:  07/23/2007
Date Climbed:   07/21/2007
Author:  lordhelmut
 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):

 Comments or Questions

Way to go!
02/05/2011 00:22
Those last switchbacks before the lake are a bear, eh? Congrats on the summit and finding your own way up there! Looks a lot different from when I was up there. I should've looked harder for that summit register..ahh well. Nice pics!


11/30/2010 17:28
This mountain has definately moved a few places up on the 2007 list. Sweet pictures you have posted here, Brian. I can see what you mean by that right hand side gully. I'll probably take your advice on that route.
Awesome on nabbing this summit.
BTW: How did things look over on Malamute Peak?

That was interesting on the summit register, Aron Ralston, Ken Nolan and Ryan Kowalski all had been up there somewhat recently, cool! 8)


11/30/2010 17:28
Malamute Pk looked like a fun, but somewhat long traverse from Cathedral. Like I said, if that was the only peak we were doing that weekend, we'd have been all over it. Also, is Ken Nolan and Ryan Kowalski names I should be familiar with? Just wondering cause they dont ring a bell. Have a good one.


Probably shouldn‘t know MY name
11/30/2010 17:28
Just got around to reading this, great report in climbing this outside of snow season. I'm Ryan Kowalski, and there is no particular reason you should know MY name although I used to work with your friend Nate.
Ken Nolan is one of the respected few to have climbed all the peaks over 12,000' in Colorado and writes a damn fine TR.

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