The House Range isn’t well known outside the local area, but it is one of the spectacular ranges in the United States. It has been likened to “Yosemite in the Desert”. Some of the highest cliffs in North America are present here and the entire range is quite vertical on the west side. It’s almost as if the range was cut lengthwise with the west side missing. Notch Peak, the second highest peak in the range is the monarch and is said to have the highest cliff in North America, though it isn’t quite as sheer as the ones on places like Baffin Island or Yosemite.
While much of the range, including the highest cliffs, is limestone, there are also huge granite outcrops on the west side of the range, which provide spectacular climbing on solid rock. There are also several difficult big wall routes on the limestone faces, including the Book of Saturdays
The range is also rich in fossils and caves. the trilobite
beds here are considered to be the most extensive in the world. The range was named because the geologic and block-ish features of the range reminded someone of houses.
The range is very dry for a range of this elevation in Utah. Snowfall is light. There are a few places with Douglas fir trees, bristlecone pines, and a few aspen though. There are a few springs in the range, but no running streams.
Peaks such as Swasey Peak and Notch Peak are climbed rather frequently, but the other summits in the range are seldom climbed. Although the west range has some of the highest cliffs in the country, the east side is gentler and most of the peaks have non-technical routes to the summit. One exception is the summit block of Tatow Knob, which is technical (though there is a pretty easy technical route up). Many of the pinnacles and towers detached from the main north-south ridgeling and on the west side of the range are also technical.
This region is very isolated, so make sure to have a full tank of gas when visiting the range. This is a desert range, so bring a good supply of water as well.
Notch Peak is said to have the highest cliff in North America.
The major access road to the House Range is Highway 6 and 50, which is just south of the range. This is the only paved road in the region. Various well graded county roads are on either side of the range and also cross the range at Dome Canyon Pass and Marjum Pass.
Several other rough roads and 4wd roads penetrate the fringes of the range as well.
Looking north from Swasey Peak.
None, so tread lightly. This area is isolated and there are almost no rules other than motorized vehicles aren't allowed in the Wilderness Study Areas.
There is no red tape, so tread lightly. This is Tatow Knob.
Summers here can actually be hot, making spring and fall the ideal times to climb in the range. Early and mid spring can still have a fair amount of snow on the highest peaks.
Winter climbing is possible, but sometimes challenging since some of the access roads aren't maintained in winter. Still, this is a dry area, so winter climbing can be pleasant.
The west side of Howell Peak in October.
There are campsites all over this region, but there are no campgrounds. You can drop a tent almost anywhere along the access roads. Good campsites are around Painter Springs and Antelope Springs.
Looking down the face of Notch Peak to Painter Springs, about 5000 feet/1500 meters below!