Kyle and I attempted the Cauthorn-Wilson on the East Face of Cutthroat Peak on April 21st, 2019. Snow conditions were quite poor, so snowshoes were required for the approach and descent – ugh! While we didn’t climb the money pitch, we did get to enjoy some nice alpine ambiance while climbing some fun pitches.
Kyle and I scrambled the first couple of pitches of the route. These consisted of steep snow and alpine ice. Kyle led a fun WI3+ pitch that brought us to the base of the crux WI4 pitch, where Kyle found an old piton anchor. He wisely checked the pitons and pulled one out by hand – yikes! We had wisely brought a selection of pins for just this purpose, and Kyle expertly beefed up the anchor before belaying me up.
As I followed the pitch, falling ice from higher on the peak began to intensify. The unrelenting sun was melting the mountain apart. I took a couple of good hits from falling ice just after pulling a vertical step. With little discussion as I finished the pitch, we agreed to bail. The crux pitch was sun-affected and delaminating, but it appeared climbable with rock gear for protection. No matter, because the pieces of ice falling down it were getting bigger and bigger. A couple of raps and a short downclimb got us back to the base, where we commenced a painful hike back to the car in brutally soft snow conditions.