West Ridge, Cutthroat Peak III+ 5.7
Avg time to climb route: 2-5 hours
Approach time: 2.5-4 hours
Descent time: 2.5-4 hours
Number of pitches: 9
Height of route: 5,000'
OverviewThe West Ridge has some interesting climbing that is very moderate and exposed. There are some slightly loose sections that are a little run out, but the crux is short and well-protected. It is an adventurous “off the beaten path” route known for known for its fun, exposed and easy traverses.
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Route HistoryThis was first climbed in 1937 by W.K. Davis, Kenneth Adams, and Raffi Bedayn, all Californians and Sierra Club members. They were well trained on Yosemite granite and bagged some of the prime first ascents in the area, shocking locals and making a few enemies in the process. They hoped and believed they had the first ascent of Liberty Bell, but their map only loosely labeled the whole massif as Liberty Bell, so they climbed the Southwest Couloir of what turned out to be the South Early Winters Spire. They said, “all the other peaks looked extremely difficult on all sides.” Locals argued that these so-called Yosemite-trained climbers might have bagged the tallest peak, but by the only non-technical route in the whole Liberty Bell massif.
Route StrategyThis is not climbed often and it is unlikely you will have to share the route with another party, even on a busy weekend. One of the biggest drawbacks to the West Ridge is the approach, which is long and steep with a fair bit of loose sandy walking. The West Ridge approach is slightly easier and much more pleasant earlier in the season when large portions of it are covered in snow. Because you descend the route, you can wear boots to the base and climb the ridge in your rock shoes, leaving your heavier footwear at the bottom.
The West Ridge has a reputation for slightly loose rock. This is not undeserved, but the rumors are a little blown out of proportion. There is no pitch on the West Ridge as loose as Pitch 1 gaining the crest on the North Ridge. There is some poor protection mixed with some tricky route findin... [full history for SuperTopo members only!]
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