Cutthroat Peak - South(east) Buttress, September 2003 (by Paul Klenke)
Bent on getting his throat cut one last time in the Washington Pass region before summer came to an end, Sergio proposed that we go climb Cutthroat Peak. Though not necessarily a routebagger myself, I have always been interested in doing a trip up the South Buttress (sometimes called the Southeast Buttress) of Cutthroat purely because of its choice reviews and tasty views. What also factored into my decision to go was the additional promise of seeing a rock tower and the not-so-nearby Hoodoo Peak, Star Peak, and Oval Peak; which, thankfully, I did not hear Tom Sjolseth make frequent reference to last summer. Sergio and I estimated it would take somewhere in the neighborhood of three hours to drive from Seattle to Washington Pass. We did not leave Seattle too terribly early (I believe it was something like 5:00AM). At any rate, with the post-climb beers pre-purchased, we headed to the pass. I drove. Yes, I drove. The heater has been fixed, but apparently, according to Sergio, my driving skills are now out of alignment.
When we arrived at the designated pullout (wide gravel shoulder on SR-20) there was a twosome readying to make their way to the peak. I asked them what their destination was. They said the South Buttress of Cutthroat-the same as us. This being a rock climb, I figured it was good to have others on the route with us. The other twosome (their names being Chris and Patsy) decided to bushwhack down to the creek. Apparently, they missed the obvious cairned entrance into the woods just down the embankment. Sergio and I found the cairns and quickly got to the creek, wherein we stashed our six pack to keep 'em nicely chilled. It was a hot morning so we sweated all the way up to the upper basin in our trail running Salomons. The trail was steep and dusty in places but better than no trail at all. We arrived at the upper basin just behind Chris and Patsy (C&P). They tried to hide from us behind a big boulder but we could hear their clatter. While I took care of "other business," Sergio and Chris attempted to decipher which of the two gullies above was the proper one to take to gain the base of the buttress. (more...)
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