Cutthroat Peak/Southeast Buttress

A Grade III, 5.8 rock climb in the North Cascades near Washington Pass.

Temporary Closure

Update 7/13/21: SR-20 between milepost 170 and 177 (Silver Star to Early Winters) closed at 10 a.m. Monday, July 12 for fire activities in the area. There is no scheduled time to reopen. Visit the WSDOT SR 20 - North Cascades Highway web page for more information.

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 mi) and on to Rainy Pass. Continue east about three more miles and park along highway near Whistler Mountain sign.

APPROACH

Descend from highway to crossing of State Creek. Ascend open slopes on east side of southeast draining stream to basin immediately south of Cutthroat Peak.

ASCENT ROUTE

Ascend to basin headwall and climb twin gullies to notch at base of Southeast Buttress. Start in right gully and traverse into left gully before notch. Above notch, easy scrambling leads to short, steep face. Stay generally near crest of buttress, then follow large ledge to the left. This leads to a gully that must be ascended to “Tarzan Jump” at its top. Scramble sandy gully above to notch between the false summit humps, then climb mixed 3rd, 4th and 5th class rock to summit.

DESCENT ROUTE

Rappel and downclimb route or the West Ridge (reportedly loose rock and high potential for rockfall).

TRIP PROFILE

SEGMENT TIME (HOURS) ELEVATION GAIN (FEET)
Seattle to Trailhead 3.5
Trailhead to Camp 2 1,500
Camp to Summit 5-6 1,550
Summit to Trailhead 4

EQUIPMENT

Light rack of mostly larger pro (1-2 in).

NOTES

  • The approach from North Cascades Highway is very short.
  • The route is not an especially difficult, but its overall length mandates efficient climbing to avoid a headlamp return or bivy, especially later in season.
  • Some parties prefer to bivy in basin below peak night before climb.
  • Suitable Activities: Climbing
  • Climbing Category: Intermediate Alpine
  • Seasons: May, June, July, August, September, October
  • Weather: View weather forecast
  • Difficulty: Intermediate Rock Climb
  • Elevation Gain: 3,050 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
Map
  • USGS Washington Pass
Activities

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