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Cathedral Peak from La Cumbre Peak
updated: Feb 23, 2014, 1:55 PM

By Robert Bernstein

Arlington Peak/Cathedral Peak is perhaps the most visible and beautiful peak visible from the Santa Barbara area. Technically, Cathedral Peak is a smaller "thumb" hidden behind Arlington Peak. But to me it is Arlington Peak that looks like a cathedral pipe organ.

In any case, climbing to the top of either peak from the Seven Falls area is a very strenuous, challenging climb. Not just for the elevation gain, but because the trail is primitive and often non-existent. Much of the climb involves a full-body workout of boulder climbing. A lot of fun, but not possible for everyone!

For years I have tried to scout a less-popular route to Cathedral Peak from La Cumbre Peak, starting from Camino Cielo. After all these years, success!

And it is all thanks to my music teacher Nancy Roman, who is also a yoga teacher in town. She is one of the strongest, most agile and most fearless hikers I know. I am more than half a foot taller than her, but she can climb rock faces and step across abysses that are beyond my ability.

Last weekend she took me and a friend to scout the La Cumbre Peak to Cathedral Peak route. Even with her experience doing so, it was still hard to find the way. We ended up scrambling down one way and then finding the correct way for our return. Either way, it is quite strenuous and treacherous. Many steep, slippery sections. The elevation gain/loss was about 1200 feet, but we felt like we had climbed about 1700 feet when we were done!

Still, it was a lot of fun and I may yet lead it as a Sierra Club hike some day!

(Photos have been updated)
NEW Link to photos.


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