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Fletcher
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Fletcher
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PostTue Jun 20, 2017 11:07 am 

After leading some other moderate alpine rock in the Washington Pass area this spring, I wanted more of a challenge. I wasn't really sure I was ready for the cruxes of Cutthroat, but there was only one way to find out!  cool.gif

Jake and I drove out on Sunday night for an early start Monday. We started hiking at 5:40. We found a decent spot to cross State Creek without getting out feet wet and quickly found the climbers trail. I was slow on the approach because of foot issues I have been struggling with. 
Cutthroat's South Buttress from the car
Cutthroat's South Buttress from the car
creek crossing
creek crossing
getting up there
getting up there
Cutthroat Peak 6-19-17
Cutthroat Peak 6-19-17

The approach was more melted out than I thought it would be. Glacier Lilies everywhere! We began climbing the approach gully, but ran into sketchy feeling under-cut snow. We had to find another way. We came back down the gully and found a place where we could get on rock between the two prominent gullies. It was slabby, down-sloping, wet, mossy, and littered with kitty litter. Fun stuff! It actually felt pretty sketchy.
coming up the wet kitty litter slabs, this was past the worst of it
coming up the wet kitty litter slabs, this was past the worst of it
back in the gully
back in the gully

We re-entered the gully, and continued up, but soon ran into more trouble. The upper gully gets super narrow, and had the perfect amount of snow in it to screw us. There wasn't enough snow to use it to travel, but the moat between the snow and the gully wall was way too tight a squeeze for us. Time to turn around and try something else.

Luckily for us, we figured out that you could climb a long pitch of low 5th from near the top of the gully, out climber's left, that gains the ridge. We pitched it out. The climbing was mostly pleasant and well protected. Im not sure why this isn't the standard way because it avoids the difficulty of the narrow gully/slot and the 5.7 moves to exit it.
pitch we climbed to gain the ridge
pitch we climbed to gain the ridge
Jake nearing the ridge crest
Jake nearing the ridge crest
time for the fun part!
time for the fun part!

We lost a ton of time because of the difficulties we had on the approach, luckily it was only 10:30 and the 2nd longest day of the year! We had a snack, and began simul-climbing up the ridge which quickly becomes more of a buttress. Now we were having fun!
simulling fun
simulling fun
simulling fun
simulling fun
simulling fun
simulling fun
simulling fun
simulling fun
simulling fun
simulling fun
one of the harder parts we simul-climbed
one of the harder parts we simul-climbed
simulling fun
simulling fun

We simul-climbed what felt like half the entire buttress. It went really quick  and we were feeling a bit redeemed after our slow approach. Its mostly class 3/4 with numerous little 5th class steps and is an absolute blast. Eventually, we came to the base of what was obviously the end of simul-climbing territory. Jake anchored into an existing rap station and I prepared the head up our first pitch.
nearing "The Ramparts"
nearing "The Ramparts"
P1
P1
really fun crack on the first pitch
really fun crack on the first pitch

I can't really remember how many pitches we climbed to get to the saddle area between the two false summits, and was too preoccupied with climbing to photograph the route very well. The last pitch below the saddle that ends with the "Tarzan Jump" was the distinct crux of the day and downright scary for me. Not sure what this is rated, I guess I would say maybe 5.8?
fun and short layback section (taken on descent)
fun and short layback section (taken on descent)
crux pitch to the right of Jakes rappel, some people go up the gully instead, but i thought it looked harder when I rapped it
crux pitch to the right of Jakes rappel, some people go up the gully instead, but i thought it looked harder when I rapped it

After the Tarzan Leap, I let out a stress-relieving WHOOO!, anchored into another of the numerous rappel anchors and brought Jake up. When he was climbing the crux pitch, a foot hold broke out on him and he took a little fall. Once we were both below the saddle, we coiled up the rope and walked up toward the summit.
easy terrain below the summit
easy terrain below the summit
Jake and our trusty rope
Jake and our trusty rope

After a short walk, the 5.8 off-width and the summit were in view, but we knew that it was a little tricky to get to. You basically have to down-climb down into one notch, up and over a small bump (which involves some unprotected and sketchy moves), into another notch, and up to the summit area from there.
the Infamous Cutthroat Off-Width ahead
the Infamous Cutthroat Off-Width ahead
some of the climbing below the off-width
some of the climbing below the off-width
getting close
getting close
Jake GETTING IT
Jake GETTING IT
here it goes
here it goes

I was a little bit nervous about how I would feel about the off-width. I scrambled up to it and checked it out. The exposure off to the right (east) is thrilling. I placed a #3 in the bottom of the crack and a #4 in the top, which is overkill but I was a little scared. Not really having any experience making off-width moves, I used a few layback moves and got my right foot on a small foot-hold out on the face. Then I wedged my left foot in the crack, and was able to reach a big jug at the top. It was really easy, easier than I thought it would be. Cutthroat was in the bag.

I knew there was supposed to be some sort of anchor just after the off-width but I couldn't find it. It could have been under some snow that hadn't melted off yet. I slung a big chockstone and belayed Jake up. We were stoked.
Jake finishing Cutthroat
Jake finishing Cutthroat
Jake on the summit
Jake on the summit
register
register
some friends of mine
some friends of mine
two dumbs hits that managed to find their way up Cutthroat Peak
two dumbs hits that managed to find their way up Cutthroat Peak
Silverstar
Silverstar
Tower and Golden Horn
Tower and Golden Horn
peaks I am too lazy to name
peaks I am too lazy to name
peaks I am too lazy to name
peaks I am too lazy to name
Sinister, Dome and Spire Point
Sinister, Dome and Spire Point

We ate and hung out for a bit, but knew we had one million rappels ahead of us, so we began our descent. Like I mentioned before, we could not find a rappel anchor in the summit area, so we had to leave some tat up there. Up over the hump, then down into the 1st notch and down easy terrain to the first of countless rappels down the South Buttress. The rappel route is ridiculously well established.
Jake in a notch
Jake in a notch
rapping
rapping
rapping
rapping
rapping
rapping
rapping below the ridgecrest
rapping below the ridgecrest

One million raps later, we were at our gear. 4 or so more rappels and we were off the peak with a short hike back to the car.
nice light on the Liberty Bell Group
nice light on the Liberty Bell Group
looking back
looking back
marmot
marmot
Cutthroat Peak 6-19-17
Cutthroat Peak 6-19-17
Silverstar
Silverstar
almost there
almost there

Back at State Creek, we didnt bother looking for a crossing and just forded across in our boots. We got back to the car just after 8, making for just over 14 hours RT but would have shaved hours off of that if the approach had gone a little smoother. What a great day in the hillz!!

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hot.choss
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hot.choss
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PostTue Jun 20, 2017 2:24 pm 
Nice work. The West Ridge is descent is easier. 5 raps (4 of them are off chains) with some easy scrambling gets you to the basin pretty fast.

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Fletcher
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Fletcher
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PostTue Jun 20, 2017 6:16 pm 
We were familiar with this option but really didnt want to carry all of our gear on the climb. Getting back down the South Buttress takes some time but it was pleasant and fun.

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Gimpilator
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Gimpilator
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PostTue Jun 20, 2017 6:47 pm 
Nice work fellas!  Whats next?  SW buttress of SEWS?

Fletcher wrote:
nice light on the Liberty Bell Group
nice light on the Liberty Bell Group

It's similar in some ways but a bit steeper and more sustained.  I think you would like it.

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Gimpilator
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PostTue Jun 20, 2017 6:57 pm 
Just watched the video.  Very well constructed and I like your music choice too.  Wow.   up.gif  hockeygrin.gif

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