Cathedral Peak Route Delineation
This project proposes to delineate one path from the junction of the Budd Lake Fisherman's trail to the base of the south east face of Cathedral Peak, as well as a single descent path from the north ridge of the summit back to the base. By delineating one path and using extensive ecological restoration, the multiple social trails would be restored to natural conditions.
The following actions are:
• Establish "carabiner" signposts and to direct hikers and climbers to the preferred route. Their purpose is to reduce ecological impacts by clearly indicating preferred climber trails so restoration on other social trails will be more effective. The park interdisciplinary team believes that in this case the carabiner signs are necessary to keep climbers and hikers on one single approach and decent route. The team estimates that no more than five posts will be needed.
• A single path will be delineated from the junction of the Budd Lake Fisherman's trail to the base of the popular south east face of Cathedral Peak, as well as a single descent path from the ridge north of the summit back to the base. These routes would be connected to form one continuous path from the final quarter mile of the approach to the shoulder of Cathedral Peak. The route chosen for this delineation will be the most sustainable due to the abundance of stable rock, as well as natural features that border this social trail. This path will be the most effective at preventing foot traffic from entering the restoration areas.
• Proactive ecological restoration work includes: re-contouring, discouraging erosion, re-vegetating and seeding. It will help restore the wide swaths of paths and gullies (about five acres) to their natural conditions. To keep visitors out of the restoration area, "Restoration in Progress" signs may be needed where there are no clear natural barriers, and the delineated route is not obvious.
Wilderness Management will conduct outreach efforts before and during the project implementation to increase compliance and awareness of impacts. During the project, interpretive signs will go:
• Climbing information board in Tuolumne, Tuolumne Wilderness Center.
• Trailhead (John Muir Trail/Cathedral Lakes).
• First carabiner post on the approach as well as the first carabiner post on the descent.
Cathedral Peak has long been a popular destination for both climbers and adventure hikers. After decades of consistent use, severe erosion, extensive informal trail networks, gullies caused by "scree skiing", loose footing, and major vegetation loss characterize the final quarter-mile of the approach, as well as the descent back to the base. These impacts have only accelerated over the last few years as several new guidebooks promote the peak as a "classic", "easy" introduction to Sierra climbing.