The Cascades, our home range in Washington, have incredible first ascent potential. During the last few years, I've had the fortune to be able to sneak a few new lines in in between guiding with AAI. One of them was the "Wright-Pond Route" on the Cutthroat Creek Crag, at Washington Pass.
My friend Chris Wright guides a lot, too, which made it pretty hard to make plans. In the summer of 2009, Chris was training for an AMGA course and I had a few day off. I showed up in Mazama and we packed the bags for a new route, on a virgin cliff that we later named the Cutthroat Creek Crag. The cliff itself is the first chunk of rock that you pass on the way to Washington Pass from Mazama. It's a clean piece of granite with with high-quality granite cracks all around. Its low elevation, however, meant that there was ample vegetation in the cracks, which took a lot of work to clean out. We did the first ascent of the Wright-Pond Route in 2009. We bolted only anchors on the first ascent, but returned the following day to clean the cracks, put a few protection bolts to help some runouts, and add a bolted variation to pitch 2. We were going to give it a go that second day, but it started raining. I had to guide the next day, so we returned a short year later and climbed the Wright-Pond Route.
All in all, this climb was a true pleasure. Each of the first three pitches is challenging, technical, and has high-quality climbing on clean granite. (Well, it's clean now). We hope that more people go and check out this crag, as its lower elevation often has better weather than the Spires or Silverstar, and has a mellow one-hour approach. There are numerous other cracks and faces that can be established without too much engineering or gardening.
Here's a pitch-by-pitch breakdown of the climb: