Forum Index > Trip Reports > Cutthroat Pass and Hidden Agenda (Peak 7552) 11-30-2019
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Bluebird
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PostMon Dec 02, 2019 9:55 pm 
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After a frustrating failure on the Hardscrabble route to Big Snow the previous day (really terrible powder snow conditions on boulders was f'ing dangerous!) Jake and I wanted a more spectacular view trip that wasn't a "gimme" nor crowded. We left SEA a bit late, around 645am and reached the PCT TH in time to start snowshoeing at 10am. There were several cars on the N and S side of HWY 20, but only a stale filled in set of posthole tracks headed north. I wondered if it was gonna work with way more snow than I'd expected and only 19f outside, but we layered up & started snowshoeing up the road and then the trail anyway.

The trailbreaking was alternately pleasantly easy (in the dense forest) and up to knee deep in the open areas.
We alternated breaking trail for the first 3.5 miles... not used to trail breaking after the summer, I started to get tired. Or maybe it was the 15+ mile attempt at Big Snow wearing a winter overnight pack the day before? Or both? But I digress.

It was easy to follow the PCT route most of the way, although as we approached Cutthroat Pass we cut off some of the switchbacks by snowshoeing steeply uphill. Even though we were going uphill, it was cold enough that I was able to wear my warmest base layer top/bottoms, softshell pants, an R1 fleece, a hat and gloves and still feel a little chilly!

It had taken 3 hours to reach the pass and Jake started to do his usual thing of trying to micromanage time. I was feeling kinda toasted and slow, maybe because I hadn't eaten or drank anything this far. He snowshoed ahead towards the peak and I ate some snacks and drank water before plodding along behind him.

The higher we snowshoed, the better the views. Yowza. The coat of fresh snow on all the peaks was better than a set of 10K diamond jewelry on a beautiful woman.

The summit had a "sporting finish" for which we removed our snowshoes in order to more securely posthole in the fluffy snow along an exposed ridge with one crux move, which I used my ice axe on a rock to get a nice hold on.


Really amazing views here.

It was bitterly cold, so cold that my phone stopped working and wouldn't record the rest of my GPS track. Jake realized his right snowshoe had broken on one side. We weren't sure if it had happened on our trip to North Start snowshoeing over rocks, but it seemed a distinct possibility that was it rather than during the day today. It would be terrible if the other side broke now when it was about 10f, almost dark and 5+ miles from the car in deep snow. It was also 2 hours before sunset, so we headed down our route with me tromping down the snow better to allow Jake easier conditions and hopefully preserve his snowshoeing ability.

We reached the car just before headlamp time.

Really nice trip, I felt lucky to snowshoe there since usually HWY 20 is closed once much snow accumulates up there biggrin.gif

About 10.5 miles, 2700 gain... but in all that fresh snow with only 2 trailbreakers it felt like hard work. Thanks to Jake for doing the majority of the trailbreaking in the deepest snow sections.
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Matt
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PostMon Dec 02, 2019 11:40 pm 
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Strong work getting up there.  Those smaller summits off the main peaks make good destinations for the shoulder seasons.

--------------
“As beacons mountains burned at evening.” J.R.R. Tolkien
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geyer
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PostTue Dec 03, 2019 9:57 am 
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Bluebird wrote:
Jake started to do his usual thing of trying to micromanage time.

lol.gif

Nice trip! I wonder how much longer it will be open
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Bluebird
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Joined: 22 Jan 2014
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PostTue Dec 03, 2019 2:26 pm 
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i also wonder how long hwy 20 will be open. its a beautiful drive right now!  i took jake’s snowshoe and my broken reactor stove to msr this morning and left with a repaired snowshoe for jake and a new stove for me, free of charge. 😍
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Fletcher
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PostTue Dec 03, 2019 4:19 pm 
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How would the skiing have been up there?
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Jake Robinson
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PostTue Dec 03, 2019 4:37 pm 
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Fletcher wrote:
How would the skiing have been up there?

Decent in places, bad in others. You'd probably have wanted your rock skis.
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Forum Index > Trip Reports > Cutthroat Pass and Hidden Agenda (Peak 7552) 11-30-2019
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