Cathedral Mountain

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Cathedral Mountain
  • Location: Yoho National Park
  • Activity: Mountaineering
  • Height: 3,189 m (10,463 ft)
  • Elevation Gain: 1,750 m (5,742 ft)
  • Distance: 19.6 km / Round Trip (12.2 mi)
  • Avg Steepness: 10.1°
  • Estimated Time: 9-12 hrs
  • Technicality: Expert.I
  • Fitness Level: Athlete
Hearing how awesome Cathedral Mountain is, it was high in my list. I was hoping to do this with ski ascent, but suddenly Vern decided to go for it in summer time, so I said yes.

Approach:
My description is based on my descent route (red line). I had the route from Chic Scott’s book, but we found a trail so we followed it. So my route is different from the ski route. From Lake O’Hara parking lot, we walked shuttle bus road for 4 km. Then forded Cataracl Brook. This creek’s depth can be varied so look for a place where it’s a shallow spot. The hardest part is to find the trail. The trail cannot be seen from the creek, so this is I think the best way to do this. After 3 km road sign (waypoint “3 km Sign”), you should see opening on the right where Narao Lakes are, then there should be a small up/down hill. After the hill, Cataracl Brook approaches roughly 30 m away from the road at GR456960 (waypoint “Off-Road”). This is where I suggest going off-road and trying to cross the creek. The trail is north side of a stream originated around GR940954 in topo map. So once on the other side of Cataracl Brook , bushwhack and try to stay close to north of the stream, sooner or later you should find the trail. (Sooner the better, since bush is very dense.) Even if you can’t find the trail, you should come across old hiking trail. Near a bridge on this trail, there is a red tape (waypoint “Rea Ribbon 1”) to indicate the trail for Cathedral. This trail will lead you to alpine. If you don’t find one, you will face the bushwhacking from hell like we did on the way up! Once above treeline, route is too obvious.

To Summit:
We bivy right at where glacier starts which was about dist. 1.6 km / ele. 250 m away from the summit. Next morning at “I still wanted to sleep in” time, evil Vern wake me up to attend Mass at Cathedral… It wasn’t Sunday and I am not even Christian Darn it!! He put leash on me so that I couldn’t run away. I had no choice but to go to Mass. There were no signs of crevasses what so ever. It was rather very safe glacier walk in the dark. Then suddenly the bright sun rising between mountains far far away. I kneeled and asked for forgiveness. Please forgive me god! It was me who ate half of my nieces’ ice cream… (ToT)ゞ I charge $10 for my route description. Please Paypal me.

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Vern crossing Cataracl Brook. The color of water was very pretty.

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Bushwhacking from hell. Vern's still smiling.

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At alpine meadow. The best view of Lake O'Hara access road peaks. Mouseover for peak pointers.

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Almost at our bivy site. Also this is where ski route merges.

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Cathedral Crags and a tarn.

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Sunset.

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It was little too dark for my cheap camera to take picture of stars. I needed more moon light...

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Summit ridge.

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I am still leashed. No way out!

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The moment of sunrise.

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Mount Goodsir.

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From the summit. Little Yoho area.

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Kootenay area.

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What a way to start a day!

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From summit ridge.

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Narrowest part of the ridge. There was glacier down below.

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After 1 hour, snow already got soft.

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The end.


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