Blood on the Biner: Eichorn Pinnacle

16 Jul 1997 - by David Harris

After a successful ascent of Lone Pine Peak and a day of rest, Craig Clarence and your loyal scribe David Harris wandered up to Yosemite for another day of climbing. Living in Mammoth is very convenient because we reached the Cathedral Lake trailhead in just an hour. Another hour of fast walking up a great use trail along Budd Creek put us at the base of Cathedral Peak.

In the morning we had a terrific climb up the southeast buttress of Cathedral Peak. The peak is justly famous for solid rock with great cracks and holds and very enjoyable climbing in the midst of amazingly beautiful glacially scoured scenery. The only drawback of the climb for me was that my hands were scraped raw until my locking biner got bloody!

From the summit, Eichorn Pinnacle, the lower summit spire, is an impressive sight. Jules Eichorn had soloed it and we decided to repeat his route. From the ridge between the summits, Eichorn Pinnacle looks quite difficult, but supposedly an easier route existed around to the right side. If the route had not been mentioned in the guidebook, we never would have considered the unlikely traverse to the right. I led the climb, never being able to see more than a few moves in front of me. Amazingly, good holds would appear exactly where they were needed so the climbing was unexpectedly moderate. There was lots of air under my feet and four pitons along the way to a good belay ledge at the end of the first pitch. From there, I led a short, easy second pitch to the summit. The register is bolted to the summit and features an entry signed by Eichorn himself! Cathedral peak justly receives lots of attention, but the Eichorn pinnacle is worthy of the extra time when one is up there.

The rap off the summit is protected by about a dozen slings! It can be done on a single 50m rope, but one must be careful to exactly center the rope to avoid running out of rope on a 4th class ledge! The remainder of the descent is easy and pleasant.

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