Cutthroat Peak/West Ridge

Cutthroat Peak via the West Ridge is a Grade II, class 5 climb with the difficulty varying depending on the exact route taken.


Take I-5 to just north of Mount Vernon, then go east on SR 20 (North Cascades Highway) to just beyond Rainy Pass. Park at the Blue Lake Trailhead parking lot (5,200 ft) — 1.5 mi west of Washington Pass.


From the North Cascades Highway, about 2 mi west of Washington Pass, drop down and cross creek and ascend meadows into the bowl southwest of the summit. Ascend to the saddle just west of the end of the West Ridge.


Traverse east along the South Face of the West Ridge about 100 ft to a shallow blocky gully. Scramble the first section of the gully and then belay up to the ridge crest past two solid pitons (about a 50 ft pitch). Easy scrambling along the ridge leads to the summit block. The last section of the ridge is exposed. A belay may be needed. At the summit block traverse an obvious ledge to the North Ridge. One belayed low 5th class pitch and easy scrambling leads to the summit.


ASCA replaced all the hardware on Cutthroat in 2010. From the summit block, look down and west for the first set of chains. Two 30m rappels down the NW side, trending toward the W. Ridge will put you at the end of the ridge.

Downclimb the ridge, looking left for a cairn above the chains as it becomes easier to travel below the ridge crest. (Cairn may be absent - chains are below a nice ledge, significantly E of the large, east-facing dihedral)

From the first chains, rappel west down a ramp to the next set. The second rappel, also from a bolt station, takes you down on the inside of the large dihedral. The third rappel, from midway down the face, takes you down to the gulley, or up and over a bump to a ledge that traverses w. to the W foot of the West Ridge buttress.

Scree, sand, and meadows from there to the creek crossing, then up the hill and home!


Seattle to Trailhead 3.5
Trailhead to Summit 6-7 3,200
Summit to Trailhead 4


Standard rock equipment.


This route is not to be confused with the Southwest Gully route that was done as a Basic Climb many years ago and which should not be repeated. Small stoppers and any-size cams useful for running belays.

  • Suitable Activities: Climbing
  • Climbing Category: Basic Alpine
  • Seasons: June, July, August, September, October
  • Weather: View weather forecast.
  • Difficulty: Basic Rock Climb, Strenuous 1, Technical 2
  • Elevation Gain: 3,200 ft
  • 8,050 ft
  • USGS Washington Pass
  • Red Marker
    48.518989, -120.674261
    48.5189888922 -120.674261302
  • Red Marker
    48.526389, -120.703611
    48.5263888 -120.7036111

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