Cathedral Peak A  
Condition Updates  
Route: Standard Couloir
Posted On: 2018-05-25, By: Cool Hand Luke
Info: Snow starts about 3/4 of a mile below the lake and is a posthole nightmare on the the way down. Lots of wetslide evidence as expected in the upper basin above the lake. I caught a decent freeze the night before and was able to head up in acceptable conditions. I rode my bike up from town and got a later start entering the couloir (9 AM) and descended at 10:30 AM and the snow was ok with the previous night's freeze. The Black Pearl and Dawson/East Couloir are both melted and with no continuous snow near the top unfortunately. Normal Pearl Couloir has plenty of snow for climbing, but is so runnelled out with debris it would be a miserable ski. I definitely used snowshoes for the ascent and descent and still postholed a good amount. 11 hours roundtrip by bike from Snowmass, about 3 hours riding and 7 hours climbing and 1 hour transitioning and remounting gear on the bike. Descent took as long as the ascent due to postholing 
Route: South ridge
Posted On: 2018-05-20, By: bmcqueen
Info: Trail was mostly dry to about 11k, then crosses a large debris field and stays mostly snow-covered to the Lake. Above the lake, the snow wasn't as supportive as I had hoped. Once farther up into the Basin towards the approach gully, snow conditions were good. The gully is a climb up avalanche debris, but snow was solid. Above the gully, the ridge to the summit is mostly dry with one steep snowfield to be crossed. I kept my crampons on for that. It's melting fast and I post holed more than I'd prefer on the descent - I was down at my car at 11:30. Start early to minimize suffering. 
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Route: gully
Posted On: 2017-07-04, By: TallGrass
Info: Snow is sun-cupped and -trenched at times, but good enough for axe and crampons. I took the right fork which tops out at the cairn pile. 
Route: East Couloir to South Ridge
Posted On: 2017-07-02, By: screeman57
Info: Couloir is in good shape for climbing, but get there early to avoid rockfall. Upper basin also has good snow coverage. 
Route: South Rodge
Posted On: 2017-06-21, By: desertdog
Info: The hike to the lake was mostly snow free. There is still plenty of snow in the couloir. We got an early start so the snow was in good shape. Coming down not so much. Once on the ridge ,it is snow free and a straight forward climb. 
Route: South Rodge
Posted On: 2016-07-10, By: Grover
Info: A view of the (shrinking) couloir up to the South Ridge on Cathedral, as seen from Cathedral Lake on Sun, July 10. 
Route: South Rodge
Posted On: 2016-07-09, By: Brad Snider
Info: Route is in great shape, melted out at bottom of gully but 500 feet of solid snow to the ridge. Lots of stones from rock fall so not very good for glissading in some spots. Ridge is dry to the summit. 
Route: Cathedral Lake
Posted On: 2016-06-20, By: Grant
Info: Very little snow from the lake to the upper basin. Mix of rock and snow in the basin. Leave your snowshoes at home. Snow free from the saddle to the summit. Snow in the couloir was in great shape for kicking steps. 
Route: Standard Route
Posted On: 2016-06-14, By: Nathan Hale
Info: Snow started a little before the lake, around the Electric Pass cutoff. I didn't use snowshoes, but I was able to mostly avoid postholing through a combination of being there really early and avoiding the snow as much as possible until I was into the upper basin where it is more consolidated. The couloir itself has already slid at some point and seemed solid, though it's clear that you don't want to be there late in the day at all because it is littered with rockfall from above. I measured it around 43-45 at its two steepest parts (somewhere in the middle and right at the top). Leave your crampons at the top of the couloir. You may want your ice axe on the upper route but I didn't take mine and it was fine. Things are melting out fast and I was glad to be down to the elevation of the lake by 9:30 or so to avoid the worst of the postholing. 
Route: "Standard" SE couloir/S ridge
Posted On: 2016-06-13, By: d_baker
Info: 3am start. Snow continuous from signed junction of Cathedral Lake/Electric Pass. Wore snowshoes from creek crossing just beyond sign all the way to near base of SE facing couloir on Cathedral. Mostly firm snow in morning. Couloir had the usual late spring avy debris and the start of runnels. Ridge proper can be mostly done on dry Elk rock. Descended couloir with perfect plunge stepping conditions. Descending "headwall" gully above lake (that leads into the amphitheater below Cathedral) was too dicey wearing snowshoes down the entire gully with the top couple of inches too soft on top of firm base, so booted down 1/2 of it with snowshoes on back. Trail out had areas of post-holing, but not terrible. Overall a ~10hr day with moderate pace. ~2.5hrs to base of couloir ~1hr to climb couloir ~50min from saddle to summit ~30min on summit ~1hr from summit to base of couloir 
Route: Pearl
Posted On: 2016-05-23, By: XterraRob
Info: - Still a lot of snow right before the lake (starting consistently ~10.5-11k) - A lot of wet avalanche debris on S/SE aspects - N aspects had a few point releases - Pearl couloir had a lot of wet debris at base 
Route: Standard SE gully from Cathedral Lake
Posted On: 2015-07-05, By: Jason Halladay
Info: Snow free until the upper basin below the gully. The gully itself is melted out in the bottom 3rd leaving the upper 2/3rds with snow. Decent steps kicked into the snow. I ascended/descended in trail running shoes without traction but would have appreciated micro spikes or lightweight crampons and an ice ax. I used three tent stakes duct taped together as my "ice ax" setup and that was much appreciated for peace of mind on the descent. 
Route: Pearl Couloir & SE Gully
Posted On: 2015-06-25, By: Wildernessjane
Info: We started up the Pearl Couloir at about 5:30 and headed down the standard route around 9:00. The snow starting up the couloir was very firm. It was starting to get a little too soft around 7:30 as we were exiting the couloir. The couloir was kind of a mess (lots of remnants of previous slides/rockfall and a dirt path running down the center) but still fine for climbing. Also, there is big cornice hanging over the top of the couloir still. Some in our group elected to veer left and then scramble up to the ridge, while others exited just to the left of the cornice. The descent down the gully on the standard route was soft but still doable around 9:30 or so. Temps on Sunday were pretty warm though (a low of 39 degrees overnight, I believe, with clear skies and a light wind). The ridge was clear of snow. We did not bring snowshoes and did not regret that decision. There was some postholing above 12,500 or so but it would't have been worth carrying snowshoes. 
Route: SE Gully and Pearl
Posted On: 2015-06-24, By: fightgravity
Info: Trail free of snow until ~13k ft. At this point, drifts of snow could be used to avoid walking on the talus laden trail. The basin proper, where the gully is, still has snow coverage but the bottom of the gully is starting to thaw out and there were telltale browny bits starting to peak through. 8am on the summit and snow going up/down was perfect with this timing. Oh, and btw, the top of the Pearl Couloir had a huge cornice on it. Quite a shock to my friends who didn‘t see it until they were about half way up. See pictures, with captions...Hope this helps. P.S. the Creek flowing from the lake was huge...So consider staying above the lake and avoiding the creek altogether. The last picture is showing a bit of bushwacking, but shows the rocky bench with the trail that you want to be on. This is a good 200 ft or more higher than the Lake. 
Route: SE gully & Pearl couloir
Posted On: 2014-06-02, By: SnowAlien
Info: Did Cathedral A on Saturday with a few others. Trail mostly dry for about ~2 miles towards the lake. Crosses several significant avy slides (old) - snapped trees, debris, etc. Standard route SE gully is filled with wet slide debris, but was firm enough around 7-8am to make the ridge. Since SE gully didn't look skiable, two of us traversed to Pearl couloir (short, but very airy class 4ish traverse on typical Elk rock). Getting into Pearl was very difficult once the snow softened past 9am (and the time was lost on the traverse). Incredibly beautiful line, but ski conditions were challenging due to very unsupportive snow. I would advise against attempting the peak unless there is a solid overnight freeze. Wet slide potential currently is very high. Pic 1- Standard route gully Pic 2 - avy debris Pic 3 - entering Pearl via the ramp from the ridge Pic 4 - Pearl 
Route: South Ridge
Posted On: 2014-04-14, By: jwinters
Info: We were able to skin from the truck in Ashcroft to the bottom of the couloir on the standard route. Cramponed up the standard coulour in decent conditions and left skis at the top. Booted the ridge (mixed snow and rock) to the summit. Skied from the top of the couloir back to the road. Great day in the Elks! Pic1 - Heading up to Cathedral Lake, Malamute Peak in the distance Pic2- Upper Basin near the Lake Pic3 - Approaching the couloir we climbed/skied Pic4 - Descending from the summit...a look a conditions along the ridge, with Castle in the distance 
Route: Standard gully to S. Ridge
Posted On: 2012-06-03, By: BobbyFinn
Info: We did not need flotation. Trail is 99% dry until above the lake. There are snowfields after that, which were mostly supportive in the morning (and afternoon). There is a trail; watch for cairns. Even if you start postholing, you can find rocks to walk on most of the way. The gully is about 1/2 melted out, but the exposed scree/dirt isn't too bad. Snow is avoidable on the ridge and was a non-issue for us. Be wary for rock fall. The photo shows the gully in the morning. 
Route: Standard route
Posted On: 2012-05-20, By: Matt Lemke
Info: Climbed Cathedral Today with Grover. I'm sorry to hear you got turned back yesterday but today was absolutely fantastic! I ran up the trail to the lake around 6 pm yesterday and saw Bob and Matt there. Since I was hanging out in Castle Creek all yesterday I didn't get the word they were going to be there. I stashed all my gear off the trail and headed back down to meet Grover at the TH. We started from the trailhead around 5am today and was at the base of the steep gully around 8:15. The snow was actually great for cramponing up despite one small 5 foot area of bare scree which posed no problems. The ridge above the gully was snow free although we did climb up one small section of snow that can be avoided. The summit views were beautiful and rivaled Sneffels for me as my favorite. Calm and warm sunny day. The descent down the gully was slow and tedious but not bad at all. Just be ready to arrest if you slip (which I did for one small 5 foot section). Who ever told me that the angle of this gully is 48 degrees, you are spot on. Slightly steeper than 45 but not quite 50. The trail itself to the top of the final steep switchbacks was snow free but the area around the lake still held some soft snow that is best walked around far to the north of the lake on dry but willow infested terrain to reach the upper basin. Upper basin was about 75% covered in snow but very firm in the morning...even pretty firm around noon...the fresh snow yesterday made the snowy areas very white and bright. Lake is still frozen over but will likely melt out within the next 2 weeks. All in all, a great climb that will only hold good snow for at most another 2 weeks. The small 5 foot scree bare spot will quickly begin to melt and the couloir will melt from the base upwards. So go do it now!!! 
Route: Cathedral Lake TH
Posted On: 2012-05-19, By: IHikeLikeAGirl
Info: Sorry, not a complete conditions report. The fab Fincutters and I attempted Cathedral via the standard route, but stopped short of the standard gully due to a snow storm. ~3" of snow fell in 20-30 min and we could not see the gully (or Cathedral Peak) at all. Given that the ridge is class 3 and the storm only seemed to be getting worse, waited for a bit, then made the call to head back to camp. Althought tedious, no traction or snowshoes needed on the way up to the lake. Snowshoes and gaitors are probably a must in the afternoon near and above the lake. Passed 2 skiers heading up, just below Cathedral Lake, and did not see them at all, even after leisurely packing up my camp and chatting with their buddy who twisted his ankle on the trail, and was patiently waiting in the parking lot. So, assuming ski conditions were stellar. All gullies on every peak (from that view point and while we could still see) looked completely filled in. Lightly snowed 3/4ths of the way back to the TH. Pics #1 and #2 shows conditions at 6:19a - taken just above Cathedral Lake Pic #3 shows it snowing lightly at 6:48a - Cathedral Lake is behind and below Bob and Kate Pic #4 7:00a - Cathedral Peak is behind Bob and Kate 
Route: Standard East couloir
Posted On: 2012-05-13, By: CarpeDM
Info: Great weather despite the forecast. (Well, the hike to the lake the evening before was no fun.) Trail is almost entirely dry for the first 2.5 miles or so from the TH. For the last 1/2 or 3/4 mile to the lake there is some posthole snow, but also a little bit of muddy trail. Approaching the couloir past the lake, it's a mix of moraine-ish rock-hopping and some snow travel. (Coming back to the lake in the late morning, you MAY want snowshoes. We managed without.) The couloir was in decent shape. We started up the couloir a little late (8-ish?), so it was a little soft (and mashed potato-y on the way down). We set up a handline with ropes/pickets for the trip down; these covered the top two-thirds almost; probably made things a bit safer and faster, but wouldn't have been too bad without them. The climb above the couloir was tougher than the couloir due to the little bit of new snow that made the loose rock slippery. Plus, there were a couple of little snow fields. I wish I had kept my crampons on for that portion; had them on for the trip down. Photos are 3 views from the same location on the way down: 1) Wider shot that shows mixed snow and rock on the approach 2) Closer shot of the couloir (the right branch) and the other (left) branch that you don't want to take. That left one avalanched (wet slab, I hear) while I was about half-way up and some folks were still down at the base; they weren't too concerned. Well, one decided not to continue because it freaked her out. 3) Tighter shot showing 3 of our group descending after successfully summiting. 

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