Cutthroat Peak/North Ridge

A Grade II, 5.6 rock climb in the North Cascades near Washington Pass.

getting there

Drive I-5 to Exit 232 (Cook Road) at Burlington. Turn east to Sedro Wooley and junction of SR-20. Turn left and drive through Marblemount (47 miles) and on to Rainy Pass.


From Pacific Crest Trailhead (PCT), north of SR-20 at Rainy Pass, follow PCT north for about 20 minutes.

Leave trail at small stream bed just before large creek, and ascend steep open timber to basin northwest of the peak (brief avalanche swath debris to cross before entering basin. Ascend to head of basin and 7,520+ ft notch between north and south peaks.


Gain ridge via obscure gully 200-300 ft south of notch. On ridge, rock improves significantly. Fifth class steps and easier climbing lead to base of summit block. Ascend easy broken chimney to summit. Running belays are frequently useful on this route.


Downclimb route on easy terrain with several short rappels and one longer rappel to notch. Or descend West Ridge on West Ridge route (reportedly loose rock and high potential for rockfall).


Seattle to Trailhead 3.5
Trailhead to Camp 3-4 2,000
Camp to Summit 3-6 1,000
Summit to Camp 2-3


Light rack of mostly medium to large protection.


  • This is a short approach from North Cascades Highway to a short, uncrowded climb of modest technical difficulty.
  • Some parties prefer to bivy in basin below ridge night before climb.
  • Suitable Activities: Climbing
  • Climbing Category: Intermediate Alpine
  • Seasons: May, June, July, August, September
  • Weather: View weather forecast
  • Difficulty: Intermediate Rock Climb
  • Elevation Gain: 3,000 ft
  • 8,050 ft
  • Land Manager: North Cascades National Park
  • Parking Permit Required: None
  • Recommended Party Size: 12
  • Maximum Party Size: 12
  • Maximum Route/Place Capacity: 12
  • USGS Washington Pass

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