Trip Report
The Notch Peak Intergral
Thursday August 20, 2015 4:00pm
Notch Peak holds a certain lore among climbing circles. Myths epic choss, legends winter ascents, and lies of solid stone all encircle this limestone monster in Utah's west desert. At 9,654 feet it may not be the tallest peak, but what it lacks in height it more than makes up for in it's shear faces.

Photo: Matt Lemke
Photo: Matt Lemke
Credit: Grippa

Our chosen line (Western Hardman (5.10+ IV) to La Fin du Monde (5.10)) links the bottom wall with the western ridge of the upper wall. All told the ascent would entail 3,084 feet of vertical travel from the base of the wall to the summit. In addition to adding the two faces together we would also then have to descend the original route on the mountain the famed Book of Saturdays 5.11 IV. This would be my first "onsight rappel" experience, and was a fairly intimidating aspect of an already audacious goal.

Credit: Grippa

Knowing that we had a pretty full day ahead of us we got an early start, and were roped up at the base of Western Hardman by 7:00am.

Credit: Grippa
Credit: Grippa

Western sports some quality stone (for Notch pk standards), and because we're climbing on the remnants of an ancient sea every single pitch is on a different member of limestone. This makes for unique situations on each pitch!

Credit: Grippa
Credit: Grippa

We rallied WHM in good fashion finishing the route at 9:30am. Despite our good time on what is a fairly large climb our speed was partly due to the quality of the rock, and the fact that every belay had 2 bolt anchors. The adventure was just beginning.

Credit: Grippa

Strolling over the La Fin du Monde took about 10 minutes, and gained us maybe 100 vertical ft. La Fin takes a great line up the mountain, and definitely adds to the commitment of the day as there is no real easy way to descent the line after pitch 2. Linking into La Fin du Monde takes what was a day rock climbing into a day of mountaineering. No bailing allowed!

Credit: Grippa

This is pillar one of La Fin. It goes in one 250 pitch if you simul a tiny bit. While leading this I'm trying my best to mitigate rope drag by slinging things long, and running it out whenever I can. My concentration is peaked, and I'm in the zone things are flowing. When all of the sudden I hear a tremendous ROARRRRR!!!!. Peering over my shoulder into the void my partner Greg, and I bear witness to five F-16 fighter jets blasting through the "notch" of Notch pk UPSIDE DOWN. Like f*#king Maverick, and Goose buzzing the tower these pilots scared the sh#t out of the team in the tower. Needless to say my adrenaline was spiked so far through the roof I couldn't stop hooting and hollering. I was high as hell on adrenaline for a good solid 20 minutes. By far the craziest thing I've ever experience mid climb.

Credit: Grippa

Seen above is a low saddle between the two summits. The "notch" of Notch peak!

Credit: Grippa

The 2nd pillar of La Fin goes in 2.5 pitches, and is super fun. It sports the hardest technical climbing of the route as well. Near the top the rock deteriorates from it's already lack luster quality into a folded layer of strata that neither climbs or protects well. Thankfully it was over with quickly, and we could rally to the last pillar.

Credit: Grippa
Photo: Greg Troutman
Photo: Greg Troutman
Credit: Grippa

We opted out of the final pitches of La Fin du Monde in order to keep the difficulty high as the La Fin finish is rather low end. In our decision to climb The Road to Perdition 5.10+ we were awarded with engaging climbing all the way to the final belay.

After summiting we descended the Book of Saturdays which in and of itself is a grave IV wall standing around 1500+-ft. We took our time to descend safely repeating the maxim "take your time", "double check". We also made sure to shout out BOLT!, and ANCHOR! out of pure joy of finding the route in reverse. Playing that BOLT! and ANCHOR! game definitely made a stress full descent much for fun.

The gully beneath the wall is a slot canyon of sorts. With the exception of around 4-5 fixed lines, and a via ferrata drilled into one chimney. The developers of the area really took a lot of time, care, and money to pimp out the area. I mean who the hell installs a via ferrata ladder?! Insane, but also awesome.

Credit: Grippa

Credit: Grippa

All in all an amazing experience on a fantastic mountain. If you're on the fence about climbing Notch Peak just go and do it. The camping is amazing, the solitude is unmatched, and you're guaranteed to have the mountain all to yourself.

Total time for the day was 15:50
Total Vert 4596 camp to summit

  Trip Report Views: 2,004
Grippa
About the Author
Grippa is a wannabe living in Salt Lake City, UT.

Comments
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donini

Trad climber
Ouray, Colorado
  Aug 20, 2015 - 04:10pm PT
Sweet....great TR! I love the climbing there. I did the Book of Saturdays about three years ago.
Ezra Ellis

Trad climber
North wet, and Da souf
  Aug 20, 2015 - 05:12pm PT
Excellent job!!!!
crankster

Trad climber
No. Tahoe
  Aug 20, 2015 - 05:26pm PT
Good stuff, never been there but want to go.
Reeotch

climber
4 Corners Area
  Aug 20, 2015 - 05:26pm PT
Fricken badass
I wanna go
donini

Trad climber
Ouray, Colorado
  Aug 20, 2015 - 05:28pm PT
It really is unique.....expect some, but not too much, spice.
thebravecowboy

climber
The Good Places
  Aug 20, 2015 - 05:43pm PT
I appreciate your taking the time to share the accomplishment, the day, the rock with us. And what a day it must have been! How were the air temps?
Grippa

Trad climber
Salt Lake City, UT
Author's Reply  Aug 20, 2015 - 06:01pm PT
The weather was perfect save for the hazy smoke coming from stupid California. We both wore pants all day, and maintain it was perfect weather. On the approach we both wore long sleeve fleeces. The forecasted high for Delta, UT was 90 the day of our climb.
Ney Grant

Trad climber
Pollock Pines
  Aug 20, 2015 - 07:39pm PT
Fantastic trip report and climb! Thanks!

I'm a pilot and earlier this year I was tooling along in my Cessna across NV when a fighter came straight up from under me, straight ahead, and I could was the bottom of the jet. Definitely F**ing with me big time. Kinda dangerous as I could have hit his jet blast, but I didn't. It is pretty awe inspiring to witness those guys (kids really) having fun with that much raw power.

But back to climbing. Notch Peak is massive and a little intimidating to think of climbing it when I hiked it. Great job.
Fritz

Social climber
Choss Creek, ID
  Aug 20, 2015 - 07:48pm PT
Great work lad! Thank you for taking the time to share your adventure!
T H

Boulder climber
ne'erdowell
  Aug 20, 2015 - 07:54pm PT
ah-mazing
BrassNuts

Trad climber
Save your a_s, reach for the brass...
  Aug 20, 2015 - 07:57pm PT
Good job and cool report! Notch Peak is definitely a unique experience, you got the full tour! It must have been a little adventuresome to locate the BOS rap route from the summit, wouldn't want to walk off that sucker! Cheers.
Timid TopRope

Social climber
the land of Pale Ale
  Aug 20, 2015 - 08:59pm PT
Really different. I like it.
Ed H

Trad climber
Santa Rosa, CA
  Aug 20, 2015 - 09:38pm PT
Great chimney photo! 16 hour day! TFPU!
Sierra Ledge Rat

Mountain climber
Old and Broken Down in Appalachia
  Aug 21, 2015 - 05:35am PT
bomber bolts
Grippa

Trad climber
Salt Lake City, UT
Author's Reply  Aug 21, 2015 - 06:14am PT
thanks for the kudos everyone. just trying to keep the stoke high, and climbing content on this site.
yanqui

climber
Balcarce, Argentina
  Aug 21, 2015 - 06:35am PT
Nice
moosedrool

climber
Andrzej Citkowicz far away from Poland
  Aug 21, 2015 - 06:51am PT
TFPU!

Great TR.

Moose
ElCapPirate

Big Wall climber
Ogden, Utah
  Aug 21, 2015 - 08:35am PT
Awesome!! Thanks for sharing, can't wait to climb there.
Reilly

Mountain climber
The Other Monrovia- CA
  Aug 21, 2015 - 09:02am PT
Major league choss! Sweet! And a "grave IV" descent, to boot! Yikes!
I don't get the via ferrata. If nobody goes there it sure seems like a hell of a lotta work.
Trashman

Trad climber
SLC
  Aug 21, 2015 - 09:05am PT
Via ferrata was to replace a rotten old ladder that only got you about halfway up last time I did it.

A lot more people use the area than you'd think. Is NOLS still doing their week long trips to the area?
ddriver

Trad climber
SLC, UT
  Aug 21, 2015 - 09:12am PT
Great day, great job and great TR Grippa. Funny how 90 degrees in Delta makes for ideal conditions on that wall.

What is the condition of the rappel slings on BOS? Do they need any TLC?
Chris McNamara

SuperTopo staff member
  Aug 21, 2015 - 09:12am PT
Awesome report. Love that area. Probably among the biggest walls in the US with the least amount of people in a 100 mile radius.

A video from the exit i found in 2006

Grippa

Trad climber
Salt Lake City, UT
Author's Reply  Aug 21, 2015 - 10:24am PT
ddriver - the raps are in pretty good shape. All but maybe 2 had new webbing/cord. Those 2 that were faded either had a 10mm fixed rope or 3 bolt redundancy.

Grave IV... I'm glad someone saw more than a spelling error! hahah!
W.L.

climber
Edge of the Electric Ocean Beneath Red Rock
  Aug 21, 2015 - 10:29am PT
fantastic! as always.
NutAgain!

Trad climber
South Pasadena, CA
  Aug 21, 2015 - 10:30am PT
Really cool report, of a place that was not at all on my radar. Thanks for sharing! Definitely looks like a place I'd enjoy climbing. I'm not in shape for sustained 5.10+ climbing, but I definitely see this in my future.
snowhazed

Trad climber
Oaksterdam, CA
  Aug 21, 2015 - 10:40am PT
I got buzzed by upside down f-18s at the needles a few years ago- once overhead, and thne 2 days later under us as we were on don juan- such a cool experience!! Super adrenaline for sure- nice tr
le_bruce

climber
Oakland, CA
  Aug 21, 2015 - 11:06am PT
Grippa! Nice very nice.

But holy sh#t this looks like placing an anchor into a peanut butter and jelly sandwich



All of those strata are solid? Solid'ish?

Two questions:

110, highest headiness factor on the day?

O1O7, what would this get on the O-scale out there in Utah?

References for O-scale:

1. http://www.supertopo.com/climbing/thread.php?topic_id=42866&tn=60
2. http://www.supertopo.com/climbing/thread.php?topic_id=118633&tn=0&mr=0
Reilly

Mountain climber
The Other Monrovia- CA
  Aug 21, 2015 - 11:08am PT
You ain't HEARD noise til you've been on the S Face of Denali when two
Phantoms come through Denali Pass and crank the AB's heading down the
NE Fork only a 1000' AGL! HOLY DECIBELS LEVEL, BATMAN!
Grippa

Trad climber
Salt Lake City, UT
Author's Reply  Aug 21, 2015 - 12:34pm PT
LE_BRUCE!!!

All of those strata are solid? Solid'ish? - Somewhat...

Two questions:

110, highest headiness factor on the day? //8 out of 10 experience was... Getting 50ft off route on pitch 10 of Western Hardness, and TOP ROPING through the worst stone I've ever climbed. Imagine clinging to 3/4 refridgerators worth of choss ready to part with the cliff praying you don't rip it off or fall.//

O1O7, what would this get on the O-scale out there in Utah? //I'd say maybe O4/O5 since there is some super obscure stuff in the San Rafael Swell, Zion, and other places in the west desert. Like Marjum Canyon//
JEleazarian

Trad climber
Fresno CA
  Aug 21, 2015 - 12:52pm PT
Great stuff, Grippa! Thanks for an inspiring trip report.

John
Trashman

Trad climber
SLC
  Aug 21, 2015 - 01:02pm PT
Shouldn't it be O2-O3 according to the links above? It is in the guidebook after all ;)

Compared to Yosemite it reminds me a little of the west face of EC, most climbers of a certain ability level know of it, but the majority of said climbers choose to practice their craft on other local objectives.

Edit to add: Nice TR, brings back some great memories, thanks for that. Way to onsight the approach, seems obvious, but we blew it the first time in spite of warnings from friends.
Bad Climber

Trad climber
The Lawless Border Regions
  Aug 21, 2015 - 05:46pm PT
Oh. My. God. That is so cool. I'd love to climb there. I've only seen the peak from the road. Thanks so much for the TR.

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