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[TR] Cutthroat Wall - Easy Getaway (F.A. III 5.10-) 8/29/2007


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Trip: Cutthroat Wall - Easy Getaway (F.A. III 5.10-)


Date: 8/29/2007


Trip Report:




This TR is going to read like the boring blow-by-blow climb description that it is, but that's in hopes of providing adequate info for folks to go get on it and have some fun.


Upon climbing one route on the Cutthroat Wall, I was eager to go back and investigate the clean looking roofs and corners to the left of what we'd done in early August.


Last weekend, Dan Hilden and I headed up to check it out. Bryan Burdo was a late scratch on the roster for this climb as well, after he dropped his tennis shoes off a new route on SEWS and was left with just rock shoes and sandals. His Methow valley cragging guide should be out within a month, and his North Cascades Rock (WA Pass Area) guide by next spring... :rawk:


Anyhow, we braved the 45 minute approach from the car and began the climb ~40' to the left of The Perfect Crime on a perfectly flat granite patio.




From the base, one can locate a series of clean L-Facing corners which serve as good landmarks for the route. A vertically striped dihedral (the Zebra corner) is especially obvious.


The climb went very well, with fun moves, some nice challenges, and a few spots where the cliff seemed made for climbing.


Pitch 1 (5.10-) Up left on a slab to a clean crack and obvious overlap/roof. This roof move can be protected from above with a blue alien. From here, climb up and left (easy slab), past another steepface, to beneath a large roof.


Pitch 2 (5.9) Start up the R-Facing Corner with stemming and finger cracks. Past tree, move left (delicate undercling) into the clean orange corner. Move right out of the corner and belay.

Pitch 3 (5.9) Face climb up and right, then follow clean cracks (layback, mantle) back up and left to a short splitter finger crack, ledge, and belay below short overhung RFC.




pitch 4 (5.9) This pitch leads to the base of the striped corner visible from below. Power up the short overhung corner and face climb up and left into a crack. (Don't get tempted rightward into the blank corner) Follow this crack up to a tree at the base of the corner


Pitch 5 (5.9) Again begin by fun moves up another overhung corner, then follow the beautiful/clean Zebra Corner crack upward. The top of the corner was seeping from the prior day's rain, so we "walked the plank" rightward across a solid/safe block and along the ledge to the right. If dry, consider following the corner to the top and doing an undercling out right for the directissima.








Pitch 6 (5.10-) This pitch looks imporbable but works out great. Face climb up to the base of a L-facing corner below roofs. Jam the corner, climb left through the roofs, and continue jamming and laybacking up into the granite chimney. Follow the chimney to a large pine at the base of an obvious long corner.





Pitch 7 (5.10-) Jam or layback the perfect hand crack up past a tree to some roofs. Undercling/jam through the roofs to the very top of the corner, step right, belay. (From here, one can downclimb rightward ~30 to get to the belay ledge before the last pitch of The Perfect Crime, whish is a *** pitch featuring splitter cracks on the far right edge of the buttress.)




Pitch 8 (5.9) Head up the obvious chimney straight above. Good pro can be placed deep inside, and one can then move to the outside edge to climb though. I found this great fun. Dan, with a pack on, had a differing opinion. Follow the lower-angle stemming slot to a 5.5 hand crack on a slab, and belay above. From here, unrope or belay one more pitch (low 5th) to the flat summit.



The rock quality on this climb is as good as Rebel Yell and better than anything else I have climbed on in the Washington Pass area, but the climb is only an hour from your car. All the cruxy bits are well protected and could be A0ed. I think it'd take a strange climber to not enjoy this route quite a bit. The only drawback is the pine needeles on ledges, but maybe with some traffic this would change. We also found an OLD rusty, and completely unmarked bent piton on p2, so maybe someone did the whole route back in the 60s and didn't tell anyone... who knows. I'd enjoy re-climbing it and leading the pitches Dan took as well, so if you are looking for a partner, send me and email. :wave:


From the top, you can scramble up to the ridge and look down on the Hwy 20 hairpin, and of course see much of the North Cascades as well.


Descent: walk across the flat summit terrace (cairn) to where the crest narrows before you'd need to scramble 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.




Mini Topo - Big Version Linked Below





Green Writing goes with Green Topo, pitch-by-pitch





Gear Notes:

One set of nuts


Cams from finger tips to #4 camalot (only needed if you avoid the chimney and do the last pitch of The Perfect Crime)


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.



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Blake is right, this was fun. Next to Rebel Yell I would say that this route has the best rock of any route that I have done in the mountains, and is way better than anything that I have done in the Liberty Bell group (and has a shorter approach, and is 5 minutes away). Fun slabs, splitter cracks, nice face holds, and pro right where you need it.

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Call it "Cutthroat Quagmire" for all I care Ross, I just started calling it the Cutthroat wall because it was a wall of rock above the Cutthroat Trailhead. All I know is that it has really nice granite, it's close to the car, and with more traffic it will get cleaned up and even better.

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Climbed this route Sunday, with a variation finish. Gorgeous rock and fun climbing. Thanks Dan and Blake! Photos first:


One of many overlaps



The underback variation (part undercling, part lieback).



Underback finish.



Snaffle eating nuts.



If you want your own adventure stop reading here and go climb.






Approach notes: turn uphill when the trail crosses a small creek. Stay left of the creek and veer slightly left up to the West edge of the cliff above. We went straight across the creek, ascended through the brush to another steep cliff past the entire basin, scrambled to the ridge, and then traversed all the way back to the route. Doh!


There are some deathblocks that could use trundling. There was a party below us so we refrained. The first deathblock is on p3 in the topo below. It is about 8ft long, one foot wide, and two to three feet high, and it is only suspended by its ends. You can avoid this by veering up and right. A small loose block is in a spot where you really want to step later in that pitch. This probably would come off with a tug. Deathblock 2 is on the exit from the zebra corner. It is 6ft long, 2 feet thick, and three feet high, and it overhangs the lip of a ledge. It may be heavy enough to be stable, but climb gingerly ON it and don't do a hand traverse on the outside of it. Ouch.


Variation finish: We wanted to go straight up the zebra corner but it was still wet in a key spot. I really wanted to get on something new I'd seen in the photos, so at the end of our p5 I veered left and belayed at cracks 10 feet left of the large tree that is the base of the dihedral in Blake's photo. Just above that is a short, steep fingercrack (5.10a/b?). This leads to an amazing clean corner (the underback - see photos above). I belayed at a nice tree atop that corner. From there it is 60m of mostly easy ground to the summit. If you go over the roof at the end of the zebra corner you'd find a tree to belay and a great handcrack leading up to the start of the variation mentioned above.


We lead and TRd the dihedral in Blake's 2nd to last photo before lowering back to go up the variation above. This pitch has a loose block that needs to come out.


Go late in the day to be in the sunshine. The rock here is superb. Enjoy!


Where we went:



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Sweet! Glad its getting climbed. I spent a while kicking and jumping on both of the things that you called loose blocks on the topo while I was following, and couldn't get them to come off. I think the bottom one will come off at some point, but the top one just seemed to get more stuck in the crack, and might be ok. I didn't see the first deathblock, but Blake gave the one below the zebra stripes a good kicking and it seemed pretty steady. I'll admit, I was pretty scared walking over that thing at first, as it very well could have chopped the rope if it fell. Kind of a fun traverse since its solid though; we dubbed it "walking the plank." I had pictures of Blake on it, but mistakenly deleted them.


Nice job on the variation, I'd bet that by the end of next summer every crack up there will have been climbed.

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We were the other party on the route with Rad. Very fine route. We did get a little off once and went up the orange dihedral and found no exit so had to back down.


The last pitch offwidth was brutal! I'm still not sure how to get up that thing cleanly and usually I do ok in offwidth's. I was a little jealous of Rad and partner whooping and hollering next door as I was thrutching up an offwidth.

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Cfire, I hope you guys weren't bushwhacking in the dark. We just hit the cars as the peaks went red at sunset.



My partner sprained his ankle on the way up, so the going was slooow on the way down, especially when it got dark!. We finally made it though :tup: However plans for at the pass the next day changed to an enjoyable day on Goat Wall in Mazama...



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The last pitch offwidth was brutal! I'm still not sure how to get up that thing cleanly and usually I do ok in offwidth's. I was a little jealous of Rad and partner whooping and hollering next door as I was thrutching up an offwidth.



The last pitch begins with more of a chimney than an offwidth. I actually took my helmet off, but got through it and enjoyed it, and I am a terrible offwidth climber! It's possible to traverse down to the far right edge of the wall from this belay (before the final pitch) and finish up the final pitch of 'The Perfect Crime' which is the best pitch on the route and has splitter cracks to the top.


How did the ratings feel... accurate or a tad soft?

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nothing harder than 5.4. :)


(just kidding)


might be a little soft mainly due to the less sustained nature. The photo of the zebra corner looks steep and burly in the photo but that is an illusion. Our 3rd pitch was unsure if we were on route or not. Not as obvious as the other pitches. (clean wise)


It is rather impressive though on the clean nature of the rock and cracks. would have expected lots of gardening. Did seem to get a tad bit dirtier the higher you go. good route and good find blake. I wonder if mazama locals hit this area up but have kept it silent.

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  • 2 months later...

good route and good find blake. I wonder if mazama locals hit this area up but have kept it silent.



Perhaps a little credit where credit is due :/ But then again, I don't want those guys pissed at me.


Way to get at it Blake and Dan. I knew good things would happen hooking you two up :tup:



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