Route: Tenaya, Matthes, Cathedral Traverse (CA)

California, US
12.9 mi
Vertical Gain
7350 ft

Mike Womack submitted this classic, technical traverse in Yosemite National Park:

Start and Finish in the north Tenaya Lake parking lot. Start by climbing the NE buttress of Tenaya Peak (5.4 - 1500'), then climbing Matthes Crest south to north (5.7 - 5,200'), then climb the SE buttress of Cathedral Peak (5.6 - 600'). Then hike back to the north Tenaya Lake parking lot. All in all, it's about 7,300' of technical climbing with about 7 miles of hiking. 

The route is also described in detail on

Another option is to start at Tenaya Lake but finish at the highway near Tuolumne Meadow.  This is shorter, with less bushwhacking, and is probably a more "traditional" route for climbers.  A short (~6 mile) bike or car shuttle gets you back to Tenaya Lake.


Hey John,

Replied to your other comment regarding car-to-car or point-to-point. 


I have done this traverse in 5 hours and 2 minutes a couple years ago Tenaya lake to Tenaya lake parking unsupported with a full traverse of Matthes Crest S to N.

I did it prior in about 5:33 with Matthes traverse S to N summit traverse and downclimb from there middle because the 5.8 downclimb prior had a party and I haven't done it prior (wasn't super secure about it). So I went back and did the Matthes in full from N to S and back from S to N to get more familiar with it.

Sent you a message on FB but also wanted to here

To make sure your name gets put up, submit your data, photos, and trip report here because Peter and Buzz are buried in submissions of routes and FKTs right now and may not be reading comments.

Just to clarify this situation:  Vitaliy has total cred, but also no verification for his run of 5h2m on 9/22/2016.  Vitaliy said his personal goal was to go under 5 hours, and since he failed to do so he didn't talk about it at the time.  So, it seems appropriate for it to be mentioned here, but not listed as the FKT.  In the old days, this is exactly how things were done:  A credible person did something and then told a small community of like-minded people.  Then one of those folks might go out and take a stab at the first guy's (or gal's) time.  With the explosion of interest in FKTs we need a more systematic way of doing things, but that does not negate what people did in the past.

To add more clarification to my time: I went to the true summits of Tenaya and Cathedral, skipped the south summit of Matthes by downclimbing into the notch early, and did not climb the last two towers on Matthes, opting to downclimb to the west just shy of them. Still 2 min slower than Vitaliy’s unofficial 2016 time, so close! 

Just did it on 8/8. Submitted my time. I did the same route as CBlack (though judging by strava, I take a more circuitous route around Echo which adds a mile or more). Was knocking on the door of 5 hrs with a 5:01:51 elapsed, so I could see that going 20-30 min faster pretty easily without route finding goofs and getting lucky with crowds on cathedral (highly recommend the knobby face to the right of the chimney if it is occupied). Would be stoked to see someone take my new time.