Book of Saturday climbs the amazing north face of Notch Peak. The climb is reminiscent of the Dolomites, climbing fractured limestone via bolts and some traditional gear. This is not your typical sport crag route - there are long runouts and loose rock and you should be an extremely confident 5.10 climber. To compare it to stuff in the states, it's got the commitment of a long wall or alpine route and the seriousness of hard, sand-in-your eye desert routes or adventure routes in the Black Canyon. To top it off, Notch is a long way from anything which adds to the adventure because of its seclusion. And, as my wife, the nurse, pointed out, "you better not break your leg out here because you're going to be waiting for help for a long time." When my wife and I finished this route we could only think of a few friends that we would recommend this route to - not due to route quality but due to its seriousness. We were in excellent shape (recently having run a 50 mile race and climbed six days a week) yet it still felt like a long, hard day to us. The route is also described in James Garrett's Ibex guide, including a good topo.
From the end of the road, hike up sandy washes in front of the granite cliffs of Painter Springs and around the granite to a large wash. Hike up this wash for 1.5 to 2 hours. Initially it didn't seem that far but after an hour we realized that we still had a ways to go, such is foreshortening. Eventually, the wash narrows and you'll have to do some 3rd/4th class scrambling. A prominent steep chimney is passed via a fixed rope ladder and above there is a steep, smooth bowl with a fixed rope. Climb up the bowl and then traverse right underneath the face (and past Book of Saturday) until you can find a way through the lower cliffband. Then, traverse back left to the start of the route, which has a rock cairn, some pieces of wood, and a golf club at the start (no guarantee that it's all still there but it makes it pretty obvious as the first bolts are hard to see).
Pitch 1 (5.10a): Climb a right-facing dihedral past bolts with an occasional piece of natural gear to the belay.
Pitch 2 (5.11a): Climb a steep corner on sandy rock and then traverse left on steep rock that is well protected to the belay.
Pitch 3 (5.6): Climb up and into a chimney via easy climbing. End at another nice ledge.
Pitch 4 (5.9): Climb a left-facing dihedral to face climbing and some ledges with a lot of loose rock. Above a couple of bolts the guidebook says to to "go straight up to a short, right-facing corner" instead of going right. I had difficulty figuring this section out and there was scant pro so I stayed right, and managed it fine. End on another great ledge.
Pitch 5 (5.8): It's only 5.8 but there are also only a few bolts protecting the pitch. This pitch and the next climbs in a giant chimney on good, featured face climbing. From the belay go right and up to the first bolt, then meander up the face to the belay.
Pitch 6 (5.7): Again, it's only 5.7 but there are also only a few bolts on the pitch. Climb up and to the right of the large arch at the top of the chimney and belay on a large ledge.
Pitch 7 (5.9): Traverse left and up past some neat holes/huecos. A very cool pitch.
Pitch 8 (5.10c): Negotiate the steep face above the belay. A good example of how the route is not always obvious, but if you spend time looking for your next bolt you can figure out where the route goes. At the top of this pitch, the bolts are sparse at times and there seemed to be some committing moves high above your last protection, that or I was off-route. Definitely a pitch where you want to be solid and confident.
Pitch 9 (5.10a): Traverse left and then up, passing bolts to a left-facing corner. Go up and to the right of this corner. At the top of this pitch are some crazy, stacked blocks that you precariously climb around. Again, end at a sweet ledge.
Pitch 10 (5.7): Climb straight up on easy terrain.
Pitch 11 (5.10b): Climb straight up and then left at the 3rd bolt to a big hueco and then the face above. A great, exposed pitch.
Pitch 12 (5.8): Climb a right-facing dihedral and then up and left to the final belay stance where there is also a route register.
Hike 5 minutes to the summit.
To descend, rappel the route, praying every time that your ropes won't get stuck or dislodge large rocks on top of you. At the base of the route, traverse climber's left to rappel anchors and a fixed rope or two (that are pretty crusty and stiff). That rappel takes you to the top of the bowl and the wash where a couple rappels and a long hike leads back to your car and cold beers.
Cheers to the first ascent team for the hard work putting up this cool route.
From the end of the road, hike up sandy washes in front of the granite cliffs of Painter Springs and around the granite to a large wash. Hike up this wash for 1.5 to 2 hours - it initially didn't see that far but later it seemd like we hiked forever. Eventually, the wash narrows and you'll have to do some 3rd/4th class scrambling. A prominent steep chimney is passed via a fixed rope ladder and above there is a steep, smooth bowl with a fixed rope. Climb up the bowl and then traverse right underneath the face (and past Book of Saturday) until you can find a way through the lower cliffband. Then, traverse back left to the start of the route, which has a rock cairn, some wood, and a golf club at the start (no guarantee that it's all still there but it makes it pretty obvious as the first bolts are hard to see).
Bring about 12-15 draws, including extendable trad draws. For trad gear, bring some stoppers and cams up to hand size. Two ropes. All belay anchors are bolted with typically three bolts each.
|By Michael Schneiter|
From: Glenwood Springs, CO
Mar 14, 2007
According to James Garrett's Ibex guide, it's "Book of Saturday," named for the Saturdays that the first ascentionists spent completing the route over a period of two years.
|By Jer Collins|
Aug 15, 2007
The rope ladder is gone, but has been replaced with new fixed ropes as of July, 2007
|By Stu Ritchie|
Jul 1, 2009
As of June 29, 2009 the rope ladder is in place. The rap from the base is about 100 meters left of the start, not 50 feet.
This is an excellent adventure route with an easy descent back down the climbing line. The rap pulls are remarkably clean. A very good effort by the FA party.
From: Stony Brook, NY
Sep 8, 2010
Great route, one you'll remember for a long time. Not as quality as western hardman, but way more aesthetic for sure. Also quite a bit more serious than W.H. All the beta is spot on. Gear I enjoyed on the route were blue metolius master cams (green aliens) to a gold BD camalot and a shit ton of slings. Nuts can be placed, but I would leave them at home. I placed a tri-cam once, but could have swapped it out. I brought a few offset mastercams and really liked those babies. Someone said the hard pitches weren't the ones to look out for, it's the 5.7-9's. I disagree. The 10c pitch wasn't that bad except the fact i went too far right and skipped about 3 bolts (whoops), but the upper 10a and 10b are heads up, especially for short people with even shorter arms. They do have more bolts than most pitches, so a fall probably would be ok, it would just scare the crap out of you. Yes, the 5.7/5.8 pitches are quite run out, but if you think those are bad...start rappelling. The 11a pitch is probably the psychologically easiest on the route. W.H. felt like a picnic compared.
You can camp right at the base of the route in a bivy spot, or on a little knoll before the final talus to the traverse in ledge. The latter is a really nice spot where you can make a little fire and stare up and not worry about hiking in the next day. Hiking in the dark without knowing where you are going can be challenging, Stay right as you get pushed without knowing it into the side canyon on the left that contains a supposed spring. climbing after a rainstorm will greatly increase the chance of rockfall, as will climbing on a holliday or weekend because local rednecks love to trundle this summit. I came VERY close to getting the axe with my G.F. once from summit trundlers.
If you want (and probably should), drive to the hiking trailhead just past the cabin (google the summit hike beta) and post a sign explaining that trundling will kill you and the day you'll be climbing.
If you want a plush worry free descent you could bring two cars and hike off.
Camping in the wash about an hour in (just past W.H.) is also really nice, also lots of wood for a fire.
If you pre-set a camp on the knoll below book of sat, you could climb W.H. and casually camp on top, doing BOS the next day. If you do camp, don't forget how much water two people can consume.
The upper face doesn't get any sun in early sept on until VERY late. If you are in the sun, you were climbing S.L.O.W....LY...so bring a jacket. I did the lower face in october and froze my ass off.
Just some suggestions from someone who's spent some time there.
p.s. as of 9/10 the fixed ropes are still in place. I broke a rung on the ladder a while back, and also had to put a knot in the lowest rope, so bounce test these first before batman'ing up them. I believe there are now 46 ascents...although I forget who it was, but someone has done this route like 10 times so still not a lot of folks have sampled it's delights.
|By Ben Kiessel|
Sep 25, 2010
Matt and I just climbed this on Sept. 22nd.
We had a 70m rope and were able to link pitches 1&2, 3&4, 5&6, 10&11. You can also link pitches 7&8 but we didn't.
Some of the pitches that we linked were called 80-85m on the topo we had, but all were really less then 70m.
Pretty fun climbing that big of a route on limestone in western utah!
From: birmingham, al
Aug 23, 2011
the name is from the name of a song by the band King Crimson
May 29, 2012
See the Notch Peak overview page for an update re the ladder at the approach step. There is now a permanent installation.
|By Jim Donini|
Sep 11, 2012
Fun climb full of adventure. The bolting is a little schizophrenic, some pitches are well bolted others are not- grade or rock quality didn't seem to be the determining factor.
The description of pitch 11 IS NOT GOOD. You find yourself looking in the vicinity of the hueco for the final bolts....they are NOT there. The bolts are around a corner a fair distance to the RIGHT and are not visible from the hueco.
Easy to combine the first two pitches.
|By Scott McLeod|
Jun 10, 2013
June 2013 - If anyone is headed up there soon, it would be nice to bring along some leaver-biners and cordlette. Someone was kind enough to install chain on many of the anchors, but only one chain per station. Everything was in good shape, but it could be made a bit more straight forward with some additional cordage at the anchors. In most cases, the webbing / cordlette was tied straight through the bolt, so it will last longer and be safer by adding a biner or quick - link
Jun 13, 2013
Re the pitch 11 description, the inital bolted face (3 or 4 bolts) is easy enough to follow. Once you pull up on the slab below the huge hueco, move right around its end. The first bolt is actually somewhat low and right. I placed it and when I first came back to repeat the route I missed clipping it so I know that one is easy to miss. But, the following bolt on the steeper face is easy to find.
Apparently, someone has recently done an alternate finish (on purpose) by going around the left end of the huge hueco and combining pitches 11 and 12. Report was positive regarding the climbing, but of course a bit run out. EDIT: I see its been posted up now, "Further on up the Road," 10b/c R.
|By Steven Lucarelli|
From: Moab, UT
Jul 10, 2013
rating: 5.11a 6c 22 VII+ E3 5c R
Just climbed this with double 70m ropes and linked 1/2, 3/4, 5/6, 7/8, 9/10 & 11/12. All the pitches linked easily with minimal rope drag and four of them were full 70m pitches with no simul-climbing required. Also rapped the route in the same manner for 6 rappels plus one to get down from the starting ledge.
A single rack of 5 cams from .4 to 2 is plenty plus about 16 shoulder length runners.
|By Peter Valchev|
From: Truckee, CA
Aug 13, 2013
rating: 5.11a 6c 22 VII+ E3 5c R
Definitely a full-on adventure! My partner and I grew up on a steady limestone diet in the Canadian Rockies and still felt like this route is chossier than most... suspect rock in several areas, heads up for sure. Pitch 11 could use a couple of more bolts in my opinion, the beta for it is very confusing - multiple people said to "go right" after the big hueco. Well, I went right, and ended up ~40 feet run out with no gear in sight, until I spotted the last/second bolt directly on my left. So go straight up and you should see two bolts *slightly to the right*. The way I went the rock was even chossier and a gingerly horizontal traverse left eventually brought me to clip the last bolt & finish the pitch. Weird that pitch is so runout, while pitch 9 had twice as many bolts as it needs, and so does the 5.11a pitch... at one point I could reach 3 bolts from a single stance! Pitch 11 felt like it was needlessly dangerous but again, I suppose I was off route (like many other reports?). The only other "noteworthy" thing - I managed to also initially miss that pitch 7 traverses diagonally left - remember not to go straight up after clipping the 3rd or so bolt, but keep heading left.
We linked pitch 1/2 and 5/6 (a little simul-climbing as we used twin 60's), on top at 2:30pm. Oh, another thing - we almost brought the 80 meter single, thinking we can rap with it... don't do it! Not all the stations are actually setup to rappel, so a single wouldn't work well, bring two ropes.
That said, a thanks to the first ascentionists for putting this thing up - I can't imagine the work and dedication it took, in such a remote area. Kudos!
Also, on the driving beta - I doubt you could get a "sedan" up to the "big boulder" parking, it is quite rough and high clearance is needed. Also the directions don't make it obvious but it's ~30 mins of driving after the gravel pit, it's not short. I drove a 4-door long bed Frontier all the way to the camping area but it was narrow and tricky in one spot inside the wash. Shorter trucks would do better and watch the sidewalls on the tires... some sharp rocks in there waiting to bite you!
Overall, a day to remember! To echo other comments - if you want good climbing, don't go there, but if you want to have a wild adventure in one of the most remote places in the lower 48, go for it! (Feeling of remoteness compared to the Ruth Gorge in Alaska... except there you probably have a better chance of rescue if things go south)