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Trip Report    

Cutthroat Peak/West Ridge

Great climb! Drove to WA Pass on the evening of Sat 9/12/15, for a more casual start on 9/13.

Small, strong party w/ 2 leaders and one student made for a long but relaxed day on a beautiful peak. Spotted elk on the drive out, falcons and Clark's Nutcrackers in the Cutthroat Basin, and a small black bear before we drove home.

Hiking at 7:30, creek crossing v easy after a summer without rain, and trail in great shape. At the col by 10:00, and climbing by 10:30. Party ascended the west side of the buttress to the West Ridge in two long pitches and one short. Running belays along the ridge crest to the base of the summit block. Given the party's strength and performance, we chose to climb the 5.6 chimney variation on the W side of the block, and traversed right easily into the gully finish on the SW. Two long pitches here, with very significant rope drag in the chimney. (See topo in Nicholson, "Washington Pass Climbing")

Summit by 3:30. Two 30m rappels to the ridge on lovely new chains; a quick running belay back, and easily found the cairn marking the top of the next set of chains. Student took initiative and rappelled to final set of chains and set up belay station perfectly.

Descent down scree/sand slope was much easier than the approach, but it is critical to stagger descent, or keep party close to prevent rockfall injury until the sand slope broadens enough to descend in echelon. You WILL push TV-sized rocks downhill.