South Buttress, Cutthroat Peak III+ 5.8

   
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Washington Pass, Washington, USA

  • Currently 4.0/5
Avg time to climb route: 3-7 hours
Approach time: 1.5-3 hours
Descent time: 1.5-3 hours
Number of pitches: 12
Height of route: 1,000'
Overview
The South Buttress is neither the least difficult nor the shortest route on Cutthroat Peak, but because of the rock quality and access, it is easily the most popular. This route is characterized by lots of low 5th class climbing interspersed with short sections of 5.7-5.8 on mostly solid rock. There are a few loose and sandy sections of rock. Take care not to knock anything down on your partner or other climbers below. The whole time you are climbing to what appears to be the summit, you are actually climbing to a sub summit, the “Two Humps” that are actually sub-summits of the true summit. This can be a small mental blow, with a few cruxier sections still to go, but the rock quality only improves and the route finding gets more straightforward.
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Route History
The Northeast Ridge of Black Peak was first climbed by Robert Jackson and Michael Kennedy in September 1973. Nothing else is known about their ascent.

Route Strategy
The Northeast Ridge is not as popular as the South Ridge, but it is not uncommon to have to share the route with another party on a busy weekend. Mid-week, you are likely to have the route to yourself. Passing is easy in many places along the ridge. The ridge is fairly steep, and as long as parties give each other enough distance, the odds of party-inflicted rock fall are slim. Unlike the South Ridge which melts out quickly, the Northeast Ridge holds snow well into July, so plan to bring boots, ice axe and crampons until then. This makes the Northeast ridge feel alpine.
To begin the route, climb up a sandy ramp system (snow until early to mid- season). The route ascends mostly along the ridge crest with a couple sections going onto the eastern face not far from the crest. The climbing on the lower part of the ridge is exposed and the ridge is slender. Don’t get suckered into the ledges too far down on the left (east) side of the ridge; always fight to stay within 20-30 feet of the crest. If you find yourself traversing too casually and getting farther and farther away from the crest, find a place to regain it b...   [full history for SuperTopo members only!]

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Source: SuperTopo Guidebook Staff
Cutthroat Peak - South Buttress III+ 5.8 - Washington Pass, Washington, USA. Click to Enlarge
An overview of the routes.
Photo: Ian Nicholson
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