Cutthroat Peak - South Buttress
Cutthroat's South Buttress (right skyline-ish) and South Face
The South Buttress of Cutthroat has a wonderful alpine rock
feel. So Much so that I went back after it two weeks after being
snowed off. The first 6 pitches are class 3/4 with a series of 5th
class steps up to about 5.6. Follow the SECOND sort-of hidden gully
up to the ridge crest. If you take the first one you must rappell
and downclimb some exposed 5.6 to get on-route. Once you exit the
snow finger, climb gully in one full pitch to ridge crest. Follow
buttress up and slightly right on the path of least resistance. The
Third pitch should follow an unprotectable gully with a few small trees.
Then climb up a vertical step and up through trees to a ledge. From
the rightermost crack on the ledge, follow a short step up, then easier
ground for two pitches. It is sensible (fast) to do running belays
up to this point. Over a funky block move on a ledge starts the
first continous 5.6/5.7 pitch. Here is where Becky's description
seems to make absolutly no sense. But don't despair, follow these flakes
up to a somewhat squeze chimney with trees in it. From there there
are two options. Either climb up chimneys to good belay spot at
top and then climb leftward onto little seam in vertical slab. This
involves a very airy and scantaly protectable 5.8 move up to a ledge.
The other option is to take a sandy and seemingly unprotectable
class 4 gully up to the same point, and traversse leftward into another
gully. This leads to Beckey's "open chimney." It looks easy,
but is fairly hard and perhaps only three places for pro in the entire
pitch. Another option, so I've heard, is to take the crack on the
ridge to the right. The chimney is easily 5.7/5.8 and the crack
is about 5.5. This puts you on the sandy false summit. Go
to the notch at the North end and do the "Tarzan Leap" onto the block.
Then go up the face in front of you on big awkward face moves. It's
easier than it looks! Continue towards the summit up a slab to the
base of the short 5.8 off-width (a no. 4 camalot gives a toprope, but
we slung a wedged block lower down). Enjoyable moves with great
exposure leads to the summit. Grade III, Class 5.8.
We rapped the route with a single rope. Combined downclimbing
and rapps allowed us to do only 13 single rope rappels down to the snow
The last 5.8 move!
Summit Hero :)
Marcu on top!
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