Peak(s):  Cathedral Rock - 6,715 feet
Date Posted:  01/01/2011
Date Climbed:   01/01/2011
Author:  Dancesatmoonrise

 El Dia de los Quatros Unos  

Fourth Class Fun on
The Day of Four Ones

Peak: Cathedral Rock (aka Grey Rock, Kindergarten Rock)
Route: South Ridge, 5.6 and Class 4 route to summit
Date: 1-1-11
Length: 0.3 miles
Vertical: 300 feet
Ascent Party: Shredthegnar, Dancesatmoonrise

Every year on New Year's Day, a friend likes to summit Cathedral Rock in the Garden of the Gods. Due to weather, work, and family responsibilities, he has not been able to get up there the last couple years, but the concept sounded pretty fun, particularly with somewhat alpine conditions. A cold front came through, bringing a few inches of snow and highs in the single digits yesterday, with warming to the teens today. While not your typical rock climbing weather, it sounded like the best practice we were going to get for fifth class routes in the alpine - ten minutes from the front door.

Initially the idea was to acheive the summit via New Era (5.7,) a Garden Classic on the east wall. The route was dry; however, delays resulted in a late start, and the sun, being so far in the southern sky, quickly went off the wall, leaving it chilled in the 12 degree morning temps. Amy was ambivalent, and when the fingers on my left hand got numb in the gloves while placing pro, we decided to come down and make a new plan.

What the heck, the sun was on the south side, why weren't we? We quickly bailed on our plans to be as miserably cold as possible and opted for some solar comfort, heading south.

The south side of the rock is set up for one-pitch top-roping in the 5.4 to 5.8 range. We decided to just lead the main weakness, which I believe is a 5.6 line. No matter, it was in the sun, afforded a little protection in the crack, and looked really fun. We found huge 5/8" glue-in eyebolts at the belay, inspiring confidence.

After the first fifth class pitch, the remainder of the route was fourth. Amy stayed on belay for a short section to a flat area with a large tree.

The views from the route were incredible, especially with the new snow. The storm had come in with extremely cold temps, so the snow was easily brushed off, leaving bare, dry rock.

The summit was incredible. Seeing Montezuma's Tower and the Three Graces in the new snow, so far below, was a sight rarely enjoyed.

Amy found the fourth class downclimb a little exciting, so we roped for one short section past a boulder.

After this it was clear sailing all the way back.

Mr. Big Buck came out to say hello as we returned.

We rapped the bottom fifth class pitch from the eyebolts.

It always amazes me how warm it is in the sun, as long as there is no wind, even in temps well below freezing. Great way to enjoy the first day of the new year.

Thanks, Amy, for enjoying a great start to 2011!


Thumbnails for uploaded photos (click to open slideshow):

 Comments or Questions

Good start
03/04/2012 18:31
Way to get a nice start to this year. That south face route is fun. Lets get some more 14ers this season.


Cool rock & report
01/02/2011 15:16
Nice report & pics, Jim. I've been up there many times, I think Kindergarten (aka Grey/Cathedral) Rock is the best in the Garden. For the benefit of others: you can easily bypass the 5.6 part by taking the third class ramp on the SE corner up and over the top ropes and just head up as Jim indicates. A really fun scramble and spectacular views from the summit.


06/02/2011 14:57
Looks like a fun day. Nice Pictures.

Doctor No

Oh, man!
01/02/2011 18:21
Always love your photos. Especially when I'm freezing my tuckus off, it motivates me to get back out there.


01/05/2011 17:27
Good stuff Jim!


Truly Spectaculer Pics
01/03/2011 03:22
I always love pics from the Garden of the Gods. Such a variety of color and with the dusting of snow it adds another layer of beauty. Pics 7 and 9, what else can I say but sublime.


01/04/2011 14:48
Eric, definitely.
Tom, you'll have to get down here and do some climbing with us.
Barry, Dr. No, Sen - thanks guys.
Randy, I couldn't get my ass out of bed early after the snows the day before to get those sunrise shots our peers are getting! : ( But I was happy with image 7, too. Image 9 is one you don't see much - guess I should have taken more shots from the summit! I like that perspective looking down at the towers. Next time...
All in all, the most convenient 300 verts of 4th class around.

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