Cutthroat Peak – Cauthorn-Wilson (attempt)

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.

On the approach.  Photo: Kyle

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 brought a selection of pins for just this purpose, and Kyle expertly beefed up the anchor before belaying me up.

Following Kyle’s lead on a cool WI3 ice pitch. Photo: Kyle

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 on our belayed pitch.  With little discussion as I finished reached the anchor, 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.

Kyle wishing we got to climb this wild pitch!
We added a new rappel anchor on the climber’s left wall of the couloir 60m below the fixed anchor at the base of the crux pitch.  This allows you to stay on rappel through the steepest part of the entry pitches, which had become totally soft and unstable in the glaring sun.
Kyle on our final rappel. Big avalanche debris pile far below.
Nice views. Photo: Kyle


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