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 finger.

The last 5.8 move!  

Summit Hero :)  

Marcu on top!

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