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Cutthroat Peak

Cutthroat Peak

Cutthroat Peak

Page Type: Mountain/Rock

Location: Washington, United States, North America

Lat/Lon: 48.53059°N / 120.70361°W

Object Title: Cutthroat Peak

Activities: Mountaineering, Trad Climbing

Season: Summer, Fall

Elevation: 8050 ft / 2454 m


Page By: Fred Spicker, Moni

Created/Edited: Nov 16, 2001 / Oct 24, 2009

Object ID: 150665

Hits: 20490 

Page Score: 85.35%  - 20 Votes 

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Cutthroat Peak
Cutthroat Peak from the highway (south). Photo by rpc

Cutthroat Peak from the SSW
From the SSW
Summit of Whistler


Cutthroat Peak from the...
From the SE

Cutthroat Peak is located about two miles west of Washington Pass in Washington's North Cascades. This rugged mountain appears to be a stand alone tower from most vantage points along the North Cascades Highway but, the mountain actually has a north and a south peak. The south peak is the higher of the two at 8,050 feet. The USGS quadrangle map erroneously has the name of the peak written next to the lower 7,865 foot north peak.

Kenneth Adam, Raffi Bedayn, and W. Kenneth Davis made the first ascent of Cutthroat Peak 22 July 1937 via the West Ridge.

Paul Ekman and Joe Weis made the first winter ascent of the peak 1 January 1977 via the South Buttress.

Getting There

Nearby CutThroat
Most of the approach from the highway

The peak is easily accessed from the North Cascades Highway. There is a broad shoulder with adequate parking located about one half mile west of the Blue Lake Trailhead on the west side of the pass. There is a climber's trail starting from the west side of a group of trees near the eastern end of the main pull off where most people park. It is usually marked with cairns and may take a little searching to find. The trail leads into the basin south of the peak.

Washington Department of Transportation web site with information and updates on the spring opening of Wasington Pass:

Washington Pass Information

Red Tape, Conditions, and General Forest Information

No permits are required to climb Cutthroat Peak

A Northwest Forest Pass is required to park at the Blue Lake Trailhead.

The Okanogan National Forest web site has current information regarding obtaining a NW Forest Pass, road and trail conditions, closures, campgrounds, etc.:

Okanogan National Forest

Routes Overview

West Ridge, Cutthroat Peak
On the W Ridge

The rock on Cutthroat Peak is generally of the same excellent quality as that of its neighbors in the Liberty Bell Group.


West Ridge Grade II; Class 5+. Attain the ridge via the Southwest Gully and finish the summit block by the Second Southwest Gully or the Northwest Ledge. More direct variations on the start and summit block are from 5.5 to 5.7 in difficulty.

North Ridge Grade II and up to 5.7 depending on the variation taken. The easiest route avoids the pitch out of the notch between the North Peak and the main peak which is described as a 50 foot 5.7 lieback.

East Face Couloir Grade III to IV steep snow and ice. This winter / spring route ends at the notch between the North Peak and the main peak. It consists of 5 pitches of snow and ice with potential avalanche danger.

East Face Grade III, 5.10. A total of 6 pitches, two of which are 5.10, near the center of the face ending on the false summit.
This was what we considered...
On the S Buttress

Southeast Corner (Firefighter) Grade IV, 5.11c. Starts in the 200 foot dihedral on the corner. Six to seven pitches ending on the false summit.

South Buttress Grade III, 5.7 / 5.8. Climbs more or less directly up the South Buttress with several possible variations.

South Face of South Buttress Grade III, 5.7 & aid. Climbs the narrow and smooth face of the buttress to its top.


Beckey lists two routes on the north peak:

South Ridge Moderate class 5 from the notch between the North Peak and the main peak.

Northeast Face A complex route with climbing up to 5.8.

When To Climb

Best climbing is July - September after the snow retreats and the pass is open.


There are official USFS fee campgrounds on both sides of Washington Pass. The nearest is Lone Fir to the east with Klipchuck and Early Winters a bit further east, but at lower elevations and thus open earlier in the season.

Some folks "bivouac" at the Blue Lake Trailhead.

Campground Information


Cutthroat Peak RappelCutthroat PeakCutthroat Peak from the southLarches in the North CascadesSouth ButtressSouth ButtressCutthroat Peak as seen from...
Nearby CutThroatWest Ridge, Cutthroat PeakCutthroat Peak from the SSWSouth ButtressSouth ButtressCutthroat Peak - Lewis LakeLooking WNW to Whistler...
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