Matthes Crest is an extremely long knife edge fin that cuts across a spectacular part of Tuolumne. It is sought after for its length, moderate grade, and the unique element of a huge fin traverse in an awe inspiring area of the country. It is most widely known for its traverse, but many other routes exist on both sides.
The Matthes Crest Traverse is a true 5 star classic route characterized by mostly 4th class climbing with the occasional fifth class section. With immense exposure on many sections it offers a rare experience to enjoy such a long moderate route in an idyllic setting. Located in a region completely invisible to tourists or road traffic, it gives the true feel of a backcountry alpine climb.
Located in Tuolumne Meadows, Yosemite. Park at the Cathedral Lakes trailhead along Highway 120. Bear boxes and port-a-potties are available here.
3 miles on good trails and 3 miles cross-country 1700' elevation gain (2,300' total gain to top of Matthes Crest)
Head South down the John Muir Trail toward Cathedral Lakes. After ~8 minutes the trail curves right and ascends about 30 granite rock steps. About 200' after these steps there is a well traveled climbers trail that is blocked by a log (to keep hikers on the correct trail). Follow this trail that runs along Budd Creek for a while then diverges right. It is a pretty good trail for about 1.5 miles. Cross a more open area of rock slightly right that is often marked by cairns. The trail reappears. Eventually you will see a creek crossing and the trail splits here. Following it up the hill on the right will take you to Cathedral Peaks. Instead cross the creek on your left across some fallen logs (very obvious). Continue following the trail on to Budd Lake. At the West end of Budd Lake, head South through a weakness by Echo Peaks. Ascend this steep/loose section and veer left (East) around Echo Peaks. Matthes Crest will come into view from this top section. Head down into the valley and walk cross country to the South end of Matthes Crest.
Mountain Project's determination of some of the classic, most popular, highest rated routes for Matthes Crest:
Approach Time: 2-3 hoursDescent Time: 2-3 hoursTime to climb the route: 3-6 hoursSun Exposure: sunrise to late afternoonHeight of route: ~500', length 1/2 mile to North Summit or 0.8 miles to the end.Generally, people do the traverse from South to North. This is because the crest slopes upwards in that direction and therefore you will end up at a higher elevation. Doing it North to South would involve more downclimbing.Probably best to Simul or Solo much of the route. To rope up for every singl...[more]Browse More Classics in CA
Just wanted to mention here that you can start on Tenaya peak, do matthes, and if you are fast finish on Cathedral for a killer linkup! i've done the first two legs twice now, very doable, but haven't done Cathedral...