|Cathedral Rocks and Bridalveil Fall from the Gateway View (April 2014)|
Today's cliffs are the Cathedral Rocks and Cathedral Spires. The Cathedral Rocks are as familiar as Bridalveil, as they provide the backdrop to the falls (above). There are three prominent triangular peaks. From the Tunnel View or from the Valley View turnout they are spectacular, but are not vertical cliffs. To get that perspective, you'll have to walk or drive east of Bridalveil Falls. Things get very steep in a hurry.
|The Cathedral Spires and the Merced River, November 2014|
Spires like these are usually found along the rim of Yosemite Valley, high above the valley floor, as they are easy targets for removal by glacial ice. The later ice ages, the Tahoe and Tioga stages, did not come close to filling the valley at this locale, and thus were not able to strip away the narrow fissured towers.
|The Cathedral Spires, November 2014|
|Cathedral Rocks in January 2011, from near Leidig Meadow|
|Does it look to you like the dead stump in the foreground is holding back a really big boulder?|
The cliffs are visible from several other meadows, although people are sometimes distracted by the views of El Capitan or Yosemite Falls. The picture below is from Cook Meadow, which is better known for the spectacular view of Yosemite Falls and the Three Brothers.
|Cathedral Rocks from Cook Meadow|
Finally, one should never forget that there are places where you can look down into Yosemite Valley. A drive to Glacier Point is never a wasted day, but one should set aside some time to take a couple of short trails to the rim, including Sentinel Dome, and Taft Point. Taft Point in particular offers a wonderful view of the Cathedral Rocks from above. It is from here that one gains a real appreciation for how tough the El Capitan granite truly is. The rocks project well into the valley, forming a narrow passageway between Cathedral Rocks and El Capitan. The valley is barely 2,500 feet across at this point. El Capitan rises 3,000 feet on the one side, while the Cathedral Rocks loom 2,600 feet above. At this point the canyon is deeper than it is wide!