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first ascent [TR] Cutthroat Wall - The Perfect Crime (F.A. 5.9 III) 8/10/2007

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Trip: Cutthroat Wall - The Perfect Crime (F.A. 5.9 III)


Date: 8/10/2007


Trip Report:

A few weeks ago, Max Hasson and I did a new route on what I'm calling "the Cutthroat Wall", near Washington Pass. The top of the wall (and top of the climb) can be seen from the Cutthroat Lake Trailhead, but most of the wall cannot.


The climb was done in 5 pitches (most were 60m) and featured very good rock and some fun moves. It was all pretty neat to be anble to walk up to a wall like that, one hour from the car, and climb a new free route of good quality, hence naming it "The Perfect Crime." Dan and I repeated it the other day, and he liked it as well.


Here's a small topo, the larger version is linked below.




Climbing begins at the right toe of the buttress, above a small cairn, and just left of ~6 dead silver snags in a group.


The first two pitches begin with a steep bouldery step, before angling on nice cracks, slabs, and a couple short/steep corners. Generally begin going up/left and follow the cleanest line of least resistance.



The 3rd pitch has you undercling and layback rightward along a nice crack, before overcoming a roof. This roof is smaller and further rightward than the other prominent roofs.




another view...




You'll know you are on route if you climb to the left of, then above a spiral-trunked "barber poll" tree.


The 4th pitch goes up a steep crack from the belay ledge, traverses right across bulletproof orange rock, then follows a hand/fist crack up to a nice patio belay spot.


The 5th pitch begins with a face climb traverse right, then beautiful splitter cracks (4" then 1") for most of 60m, to where the angle eases off and the flat summit can be reached.









From the top, you can scramble up to the ridge and look down on the Hwy20 hairpin.


For descent, walk across the flat summit (cairn) to where the crest narrows before you'd need to climb up again. Look for a pine tree on the right with a yellow runner. Make one 20m rappel down to the right, then contour at that elevation, skier's left around the head of a gulley and walk down/left on timbered rib to the base of the wall.


The rock is overall very good, well protected, and with nice views. Every belay is on a comfy ledge, but with a 50m rope you'd need to do it in more pitches. Every pitch is rated 5.9 except the first pitch (5.7) and cruxes are short. At only 45mins-1hour from the car, this might make a good alternative to other routes in the area, especially if traffic gets more of the pine needles off the cracks. Feel free to email me if you want more detailed info about anything. A written topo is attached.


Gear Notes:

One set of nuts


Cams from finger tips to #4 camalot (needed for last pitch)


Doubles in finger-hand sizes


Approach Notes:

From the Cutthroat Lake TH, walk up the old road bed for ~5 minutes, then head left up the hill into the brush. The brush is moderate at first, then the forest is pretty open and easy until moderate brush for the last couple hundred feet. The route begins at the far right (west) side of the wall. From the base of this route, the toe of the "Snout" is a ~10 minute level traverse across open ground, so one could combine a climb of those routes as well.


Climb Location


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Nice Blake! That was on my "secret list" and I totally forgot about it, I'm glad you got it - you're kicking ass!!!! Awesome job.

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