Trip Report
Book of Saturday, Notch Peak....spice and solitude
Monday September 10, 2012 4:39pm
Brad McMillon and I nudged my van up the last rugged mile of dirt road ending our 8 hour drive from Ouray. We were now at the mouth of Sawtooth Canyon and just below iconic Notch Peak which rises, Sphinx like, out of the empty desert in Western Utah. The granite domes next to our campsite our home to a few one to six pitch climbs with potential for many more.
Granite crags next to camp.
Granite crags next to camp.
Credit: donini
Our goal was the Book of Saturday, a 12 pitch 5.11- R route on the 1,500 ft. north face of Notch Peak. We had time that afternoon to carry our gear up to the base of the climb. At first glance it didn't look too far.
Can't be too far.
Can't be too far.
Credit: donini
Two tough hours and 2,500 vertical feet later we were at the base of the route.
We're almost there....thank god.
We're almost there....thank god.
Credit: donini
Coming back down to camp we were thankful for the via ferrata that had been put in to make the upper part of the approach possible.
What's this doing here?
What's this doing here?
Credit: donini
We left camp the next day at 7:00 and were at the base of the climb at 9:00. Brad uncoiling the brand new and very stiff 6mm static rope we would use for the 10 double rope raps needed for the descent.
spaghetti western
spaghetti western
Credit: donini
We combined the first two pitches which provided the technical crux with "comparatively" good rock and pro. The SPICE was still to come.
Brad pullin down!
Brad pullin down!
Credit: donini
The next few pitches were a little run out and every hold had to be tested but progress was fast and the pucker factor minimal.
Hmmmm....
Hmmmm....
Credit: donini
A little break at mid height just after a pineapple sized piece of limestone wizzed by inches from my face.
A bemused Brad taking pause
A bemused Brad taking pause
Credit: donini
Pitches 6 to 10 had some somewhat serious climbing up to 10c with interesting run outs using dubious holds. Even the 5.8 and 5.9 pitches needed a cautious approach.
Spread that weight Brad! Those holds don't look so good.
Spread that weight Brad! Those holds don't look so good.
Credit: donini
Do you need any holds up there?
Do you need any holds up there?
Credit: donini
The penultimate pitch, only rated 5.10b, proved to be the most "interesting" part of the climb. The description sucked and so did the pro. Brad used an additional 45 minutes trying to locate the two bolts protecting the upper half of the pitch. They proved to be off to the right and around the corner- NOT what our topo indicated.
Which way?
Which way?
Credit: donini
tweaky...tweaky
tweaky...tweaky
Credit: donini
I led the last pitch and we topped out at 4:30.
Are we there?
Are we there?
Credit: donini
Brad found the summit register which indicated that we were the 54th party to do the route, 4 a year just about what I would expect.
Let's see, who are the other idiots?
Let's see, who are the other idiots?
Credit: donini
I had the only camera so this is the only photo of yours truly.
I'd shake your hand Brad, but we ain't down yet.
I'd shake your hand Brad, but we ain't down yet.
Credit: donini
The raps went well and we arrived back in camp just as the sun was setting on a perfect early september day. If you want solitude, spice and beauty- this is the climb for you. If you want perfect rock and good pro....hmmmm...there are plenty of other climbs out there.



  Trip Report Views: 3,071
donini
About the Author
donini is a trad climber from Ouray, Colorado.

Comments
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Tami

Social climber
Canada
  Sep 10, 2012 - 04:43pm PT
Wow. Way to gittatt'er.
this just in

climber
Justin Ross from North Fork
  Sep 10, 2012 - 04:51pm PT
Donini you are badass. Thanks for the tr.
ontheedgeandscaredtodeath

Social climber
SLO, Ca
  Sep 10, 2012 - 05:15pm PT
Nice report. The climb looks steep!
ddriver

Trad climber
SLC, UT
  Sep 10, 2012 - 05:16pm PT
Sounds like you had fun Jim. Thanks for posting.

On the 10th pitch you should have gone right around the huge upper hueco roof. Sounds like maybe you guys went left. You'd have found two more bolts protecting the moves around the hueco and then one or two leading to the belay, but its still maybe a 20-25' run to the ledge. My original topo showed that but James wanted all the topos in the new guide to look the same. I'll take a look and see what it shows now.
nutjob

Sport climber
Almost to Hollywood, Baby!
  Sep 10, 2012 - 05:35pm PT
God bless you for kicking @ss. That place looks amazing.
jogill

climber
Colorado
  Sep 10, 2012 - 05:50pm PT
Thanks for the armchair adventure, Jim!


;>)
Reilly

Mountain climber
The Other Monrovia- CA
  Sep 10, 2012 - 06:19pm PT
Another Tale From Beyond the Retired Pale!

Two questions:
1 My map shows Sawtooth Cyn to the east of Notch Pk but the obvious
approach would seem to be the one from the west that leads to the north face.
Are you just being duplicitous or is my map wrong?
2 With yours being the 54th ascent (with an average of 4/year) it would
seem that there is a amazingly ample supply of nutters out there. Do
the various homes that care for these poor people coordinate their
releases so as not to result in a traffic jam?
RP3

Big Wall climber
Twain Harte
  Sep 10, 2012 - 06:20pm PT
AMAZING! Thanks for the post.
Jaybro

Social climber
Wolf City, Wyoming
  Sep 10, 2012 - 06:22pm PT
54 ascents? even trade routes need love....

Thanks Jim!
SteveW

Trad climber
The state of confusion
  Sep 10, 2012 - 06:26pm PT

Sheesh! Serious stuff, James!!!!

(now, about that Wind River TR we wanted. . . .)
hee hee hee. . .
ddriver

Trad climber
SLC, UT
  Sep 10, 2012 - 07:07pm PT
My map shows Sawtooth Cyn to the east of Notch Pk but the obvious approach would seem to be the one from the west that leads to the north face. Are you just being duplicitous or is my map wrong?

The officially named Sawtooth Canyon is the hiking route from the east side, so you're reading your map correctly. That is a great little summit hike btw. Garrett tagged the approach on the west side as "West Sawtooth Canyon" for lack of a better name.
HighTraverse

Trad climber
Bay Area
  Sep 10, 2012 - 07:19pm PT
out of the empty desert in NW Utah
Pedantic correction of the week:
I think you meant SW Utah.
Great TR. Love to hear about those out of the way places. HMM...just about 2/3 way from the Bay Area to Indian Creek.
snowhazed

Trad climber
Oaksterdam, CA
  Sep 10, 2012 - 08:10pm PT
Yee ha!
The Wedge

Boulder climber
Estes Park, CO
  Sep 10, 2012 - 08:22pm PT
Rad, I have the guide book to that piece of rock. Nice to hear a first hand account of the stone quality/climb. Thanks for sharing.
kaholatingtong

Trad climber
Marcus McCoy from Nevada City
  Sep 10, 2012 - 08:39pm PT
beautiful countryside, nice climb, tfpu.
Dirka

Trad climber
Hustle City
  Sep 10, 2012 - 09:23pm PT
Killar!
David Wilson

climber
CA
  Sep 10, 2012 - 09:29pm PT
That looks like the rock on north twin - no sh#t there's solitude ! Way to go Jim. You're an inspiration
mountain dog

Trad climber
over the hills and far away
  Sep 10, 2012 - 09:36pm PT
Proud.
Ezra Ellis

Trad climber
North wet, and Da souf
  Sep 10, 2012 - 09:41pm PT
Awesome Jim Thanks for a great Tr!
donini

Trad climber
Ouray, Colorado
Author's Reply  Sep 10, 2012 - 11:40pm PT
lot's of rock in the neighborhood
lot's of rock in the neighborhood
Credit: donini
The view across the canyon from high on the route.

Fred, let's call it West Central Utah....see you in the Creek!
Moquah

Trad climber
Carson City Nevada
  Sep 10, 2012 - 11:46pm PT
That is a really cool area and Notch Peak in my opinion has some of the best summit views out there. Lot's of interesting history there as well. I believe there was a main road that went through just north of Notch Peak that was maintained partially by a hermit that lived in the area back in the day. Great Job on climbing an interesting "off the beaten' path route."
Fritz

Trad climber
Choss Creek, ID
  Sep 10, 2012 - 11:52pm PT
Holy-fuking, schisty, limestone, Sunny-beaches!

Nice climb Donini!

I am somewhat amazed that 54 parties have climbed that rotten-ass, middle of no-where, West Desert chunk of choss.

Guess I'm living in the past.




--


Never saw any climbers out there in the 1980's.
Mighty Hiker

climber
Outside the Asylum
  Sep 11, 2012 - 12:12am PT
What sort of rock is it? Part of the Basin & Range dealio?
donini

Trad climber
Ouray, Colorado
Author's Reply  Sep 11, 2012 - 12:16am PT
Limestone, limestone and nothing but limestone, so help me god.
The Warbler

climber
the edge of America
  Sep 11, 2012 - 03:08am PT
That's a cool looking climb, JD, one of a kind, and BIG. Great to hear you're tearing it up like that!

Looks semi serious too. The first ascent must have required a boat load of work.
mooser

Trad climber
seattle
  Sep 11, 2012 - 09:31am PT
Great TR, donini! That sucker looks full o' pucker!
Todd Gordon

Trad climber
Joshua Tree, Cal
  Sep 11, 2012 - 11:26am PT
You youngsters having fun at the crags again......get a haircut and get a job!...........(Great trip report;..thanks for sharing....)...Looks like a five star adventure to me! Bravo!
Leggs

Sport climber
Made in California
  Sep 11, 2012 - 10:12am PT
Fantastic TR ... the photos, breathtaking.

Thanks for sharing!
dirt claud

Social climber
san diego,ca
  Sep 11, 2012 - 10:43am PT
Look awesome ,super cool stuff, thanks for the TR. Way to dodge them rocks, glad all was ok.
Gagner

climber
Boulder
  Sep 11, 2012 - 11:11am PT
SWEEEET!! Looks awesome Jim. See you next week???

Paul
Ron Anderson

Trad climber
Relic MilkEye and grandpoobah of HBRKRNH
  Sep 11, 2012 - 11:20am PT
Holy choss batman! looks "interesting"!
10b4me

climber
  Sep 11, 2012 - 11:20am PT
Looks umm. . . . Interesting
Reilly

Mountain climber
The Other Monrovia- CA
  Sep 11, 2012 - 11:23am PT
That last face looks sweet, eh? Who doesn't love those 200m bands
of hanging cactus gardens? I think I'd take some ice tools for that.
mission

Social climber
boulder,co
  Sep 11, 2012 - 02:09pm PT
Jib, was it Type 1 fun or Type 2 fun?
Brian in SLC

Social climber
Salt Lake City, UT
  Sep 11, 2012 - 03:51pm PT
Big country!

Great TR, Jim.
survival

Big Wall climber
Terrapin Station
  Sep 11, 2012 - 03:54pm PT
Whoa....

Dude you are such a badass.

Still my number one curmudgeon hero.

I will go out to the shed, cry, and flog myself for weakness now....
WyoRockMan

climber
Flank of the Big Horns
  Sep 11, 2012 - 05:50pm PT
I hate it when my hands get sweaty from the comfort of this desk.

Strong work. As usual.
micronut

Trad climber
Fresno/Clovis, ca
  Sep 11, 2012 - 08:49pm PT
Yall got 'er dun! Excellent. Burly fellas. Bur-lee.
mouse from merced

Trad climber
The finger of fate, my friends, is fickle.
  Sep 11, 2012 - 10:31pm PT
But stupid.
But stupid.
Credit: Nawmeen

Thanks for the absolutely best TR in the universe (and putting the quotation marks in).

URD1, Jim!!!
Gal

Trad climber
going big air to fakie
  Sep 11, 2012 - 11:00pm PT
Great job, looks like a spicy route... I like the photos depicting the distance of the approach.
donini

Trad climber
Ouray, Colorado
Author's Reply  Sep 12, 2012 - 10:01am PT
Some interesting history about the route. The two first ascensionists, both now deceased, started the route in 1997 and finished in 1999 climbing most often on saturdays- hence the name.
ddriver

Trad climber
SLC, UT
  Sep 12, 2012 - 10:18am PT
Some interesting history about the route. The two first ascensionists, both now deceased, started the route in 1997 and finished in 1999 climbing most often on saturdays- hence the name.

That is interesting Jim,... but, I AIN'T DEAD YET! ;)

Tom did indeed pass back in 2000 from a rapelling accident. There's an entry in the AAJ from 2000 or 2001 detailing the route history. Carry on.
donini

Trad climber
Ouray, Colorado
Author's Reply  Sep 12, 2012 - 10:27am PT
Yikes.....sorry! I got the wrong info. thanks for all your work on the climb, and I'm glad you're around to enjoy it! Let's climb sometime.
Vitaliy M.

Mountain climber
San Francisco
  Sep 12, 2012 - 11:24am PT
Awesome TR. We need more of this stuff here, especially with peaks involved!
Brian in SLC

Social climber
Salt Lake City, UT
  Sep 12, 2012 - 11:36am PT
King Crimson is the rumor...

//If I only could deceive you
Forgetting the game
Every time I try to leave you
You laugh just the same//

From earlier this summer...

ddriver on JACOB Wall in BCC June 2012
ddriver on JACOB Wall in BCC June 2012
Credit: Brian in SLC

Hopefully see you tomorrow night RP?

Rumors of your demise have been greatly exaggerated...ha ha!
ddriver

Trad climber
SLC, UT
  Sep 12, 2012 - 11:55am PT
Would love to Jim. Maybe I'll see you at the Creek in October. Gilroy wants to come out and do another tower around then, though, was thinking of basing around Moab. Will see.

Jeesh Brian, now people know I own hexes.
Crump

Social climber
Lakewood, CO
  Sep 12, 2012 - 12:02pm PT
Actually he is in and out of body condition... Since I am fat, no longer climb and that his wife is really hot... I have taken over his body so that I get to climb again, etc...

And Tracey doesn't even know yet!!!
ddriver

Trad climber
SLC, UT
  Sep 12, 2012 - 12:38pm PT
Hey Lakewood, easy on the bottle. It's still early.
donini

Trad climber
Ouray, Colorado
Author's Reply  Sep 12, 2012 - 01:12pm PT
James,
Angela says you should get your fat ass on over to Ouray for a visit!
Crump

Social climber
Lakewood, CO
  Sep 12, 2012 - 01:45pm PT
Yous Guys should join us up in the Veedauwoo the last weekend in Sept. DD and gang are coming from SLC, and a bunch of Yahoos are coming up from Texas, and Daniel McClure might even join us!

Say Hey for me to both of your better halves!!!!
pix4u

climber
Sonoma, CA
  Sep 20, 2012 - 12:43pm PT
Another view of Notch Peak from the desert floor.
Credit: pix4u
WanaB-MtnMan

Trad climber
Salt Lake City, UT
  Sep 20, 2012 - 03:26pm PT
Nice Job guys. Wondering how long it would take to bring this wall into the spotlight. The climber in me wants to say that you're all right, this is a giant choss pile and to be avoided at all costs (never seen another climber out there and I like it that way) but to be honest Notch peak is amazingly fun adventure climbing with multiple routs now and TONS more opportunity for the would be FA's out there. Book of Saturdays and other such adventure routes on the upper wall can be linked up with Western Hardman or similar routes on the lower wall for 10+ pitches of adventure climbing. The routes are all cleaning up nicely and James Garrett just put out a great new book on the area. Have fun
Johnny K.

climber
  Sep 20, 2012 - 08:54pm PT
Thanks for such a beautiful tr Jim!We dont see too many of these from you,quite a treat.Cheers!
Hankster

Social climber
Golden, CO
  Sep 20, 2012 - 10:44pm PT
Yep, the Wifey and I have to do this now. Solid work Donini, now I'm all inspired and stuff! Great TR.
PellucidWombat

Mountain climber
Berkeley, CA
  Sep 23, 2012 - 12:55am PT
This is one of my favorite peaks in Utah. At the time that I visited this (in high school), we hiked up the backside and explored some of the canyons on the more scenic West side. At the time we wondered if anyone could possibly have climbed that immense limestone face.

I was surprised a while later (2003?) to find the Ibex guidebook (by James Garrett) containing the Book of Saturday! As I recall, it illuminated very little about the route except that most people who climbed it probably wouldn't want to do it again!

Thanks for shedding some light on this enigmatic route.



From some old print photos that nicely show the West Side:










Interesting Pillar by the N Face



On a side note, the House Range has some interesting limestone caves and a lot of good rock-hunting potential :)
BASE104

Social climber
An Oil Field
  Sep 23, 2012 - 04:16pm PT
Hankster,

I would say to take the wing suits, but I have heard a couple of horror stories. I believe that Notch Peak is actually the highest peak in the lower 48 when it comes to vertical relief.

Dunno how popular it is.
Marlow

Sport climber
OSLO
  Sep 23, 2012 - 04:25pm PT
It's a world from my dreams.
donini

Trad climber
Ouray, Colorado
Author's Reply  Sep 23, 2012 - 04:37pm PT
Johnny K, I usually don't bring a camera when I'm climbing domestically, but I though that Notch Peak was unique enough to warrent the effort.
Rick A

climber
Boulder, Colorado
  Sep 23, 2012 - 09:06pm PT
Well done, gentleman.
That's Full Value, indeed, as the saying goes.
Thanks Jim for the inspiration.
I will get out this week!
Rick
Mike Layton

Trad climber
Salt Lake City, UT
  Oct 4, 2012 - 11:17pm PT
Nice Job!

Hopefully it doesn't get too popular, half the fun is the solitude and desolation. It ain't for everyone, that's fo sho.

Bottom half of the wall (Western Hardman 5.11 13p) is awesome too - a link up of the lower cliff and upper headwall (book of saturday) gets you about 25 pitch o' climbing limestone 1/2 trad, half "sport"

Careful, locals love to trundle off this things. Came very VERY close to dying, and found out someone else had the same experience.
handsome B

Gym climber
SL,UT
  Oct 5, 2012 - 12:16am PT
http://vimeo.com/16536940
A better use of a big pile of choss.

Way to get after it.
ddriver

Trad climber
SLC, UT
  Oct 5, 2012 - 10:51am PT
http://vimeo.com/15699398

More of that wing suit stuff. Fun to watch. Be careful out there Hank.
nopantsben

climber
europe
  Oct 5, 2012 - 11:11am PT
Awesome!!! Thanks! Looks like a superb route..
eKat

Trad climber
  Nov 11, 2013 - 07:47pm PT
BBST!

(As a reminder = BBST = donini for Bump for a Better SuperTopo)
10b4me

climber
  Mar 12, 2014 - 04:40pm PT
bump
survival

Big Wall climber
Terrapin Station
  Mar 12, 2014 - 04:59pm PT
This thread is still a winner!
ddriver

Trad climber
SLC, UT
  Mar 12, 2014 - 05:30pm PT
Some of my photos.

The granite and camping. You can no longer camp inside the side canyon due to WSA closure, but you can get right to the edge:

Credit: ddriver

Approach drainage:

Credit: ddriver

Western Hardman is on the tombstone feature part way up the drainage:

Credit: ddriver

Line drawing of BOS from the rim:

Credit: ddriver

Tom in the descent drainage. Probably May or early June.

Credit: ddriver

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