OverviewAfter viewing any photgraph of the west side of Notch Peak, it's obvious what stands out about this mountain. The lime stone monolith block that constitutes Notch Peak is one of the highest points in the House Range complex, and the enormous west face of Notch Peak has been called "the desert equivalent of Yosemite’s El Capitan"; its rise of nearly 4,450 feet makes it one of the highest cliffs in North America. The north face has an uninterrupted vertical rise of over 2,000 feet.
The House Range complex is located in Utah's west desert in the Great Basin. Along the ridgline of the range there is a massive limestone cliff that winds its way along the entire length of each of the three sections of the complex, often reaching uninterrupted heights of over 1,000 feet.
While much of the House Range is dominated by pinon-juniper or sagebrush-shadscale communities, impressive stands of large aspen and conifers grow at higher elevations. The highest ridges and peaks support a healthy population of ancient bristlecone pine. Sagebrush, shadscale, Mormon tea, and various annual and perennial grasses cover the undulating western slopes.
While mining exploration historically took place at the base of these slopes, the predominant current use appears to be sheep grazing in the winter. Camping, hunting, rockhounding, and hiking also occur. The western alluvial fans offer tremendous views of the spectacular lime stone escarpment on Notch Peak itself. And views from Notch Peak and Bald Mountain offer unparalleled panoramas of valleys and mountains for a hundred miles in any direction. One can even see the Bonneville Salt Flats 120 miles to the north.
The Notch Peak area has outstanding opportunities for solitude when considered as an extension of the Notch Peak Wilderness Study Area (WSA).The open brush- and tree-covered western benches of the House Range have a subtle but complex topography that offers solitude. Tall stands of trees and the narrow, deep canyon bottom offer outstanding opportunities for solitude.
Besides solitude, the range has exraordinary opportunities for rock climbing, spelunking. It is also contains extremely interesting geological formations resulting from the limestone, granite, quartzite, etc.
Note: Much of this initial descriptive information is being quoted from the BLM's report of the area.
Getting ThereThe peak is located 120 miles south west of Provo, Utah, so it is a bit of a drive to get there.
East Side - Sawtooth Canyon Approach:
From Delta, Utah, take Highway 6 (aka Highway 50) west 40 miles. From here you turn north (right) on to The Notch Peak Loop Road (unpaved) just before the road rounds the southern tip of the range, just before mileage marker 46. Drive 4 miles north to the signed Miller Canyon Road, and then turn left. Drive another 5 miles to a sign that points left to Sawtooth Canyon. A short ways later you will encounter a log cabin on the north side of the road and a stone road block. Continue on up the canyon dirt road by foot from here, and it eventually turns into a trail.
West Side - North Face Approach:
Same as east side, but take the first dirt road on the right after rounding the pass. Look at the maps on the site for further directions.
Climbing Notch Peak
- Swiss Route (North Face) - V 5.10+ A2 (18 pitches) - climbed by Thomas Koch and Peter Deinen in 1986. No one is known to have repeated the route. An account of the climb can be found in the 1987 AAJ pg.128
- North West Ridge - II 5.8 (8 pitches) - climbed by Jim Howe and Jason Keith in February of 1998.
- Book of Saturday (North Face) - V 5.11R (12 pitches) - climbed by Robert Price and Tom Lyde in May of 1999.
Brent Higgins has provided links to two great reports of an ascent of Book of Saturday:
- Book of Saturday's on Notch Peak, 7/7/05 by Brent Higgins
- Top-Notch climbing by Bryce Peterson Jr. from the Standard-Examiner
Here's a little enticement to whet the appetite for the adventurous.
In addition to these routes there is a new route to the right of "Appetite" called "Western Hardman"
I recently found a book that covers some route on this enigmatic peak, but the book is not listed on Amazon.com
IBEX and selected Climbs of Utah's West Desert by Jame Garrett 2001
ISBN: 1-892540-08-8 A Cobbler Graphics Production
I came across this book in Wilson's East Side Sports in Bishop, CA .
A lot of web sites selling the book can be found by searching for the title name.
Red TapeAs far as I know, the only rules to be followed are those that apply to all Wilderness Study Areas.
Some obvious rules are keeping vehicles on established roads, and following general minimum impact techniques. No permits or fees are needed to climb the peak or camp in the range. Take care as to the selection of a campsite , since there are no campgrounds in the WSA.
When To ClimbSpring and Fall are the best times to climb due to the lack of snow and cooler temperatures. I haven't climbed in the other seasons, but I'd expect the main difficulties in the winter to be light or sporadic snow cover. In the summer the air temperature often exceeds 100 degrees farenheit, and there isn't much shade. During the spring there are a number of springs that are good for drinking water. Except for these springs, there are NO OTHER SOURCES OF WATER, so bring plenty of it.
Provides some more general info about the area, routes, and lots of good photos
- The House Range, Millard County, Utah, by Jim Drysdale
- BLM Document
Provides some more general info about the House Range and discusses its Wilderness Area Eligibility
Good general description of the House Range and Notch Peak
- Notch Peak Ascent on DesertRatsAnonymous
Slideshow and account from a summer 2005 ascent of Book of Saturday's on Notch peak.
- A TR of an ascent of Book of Saturday (V 5.11a) on the north face. - by Brent Higgins
- Standard Examiner article on an ascent of Book of Saturday by Bryce Peterson Jr.
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