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 ADVANCED
Notchtop
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Direct South Ridge T 
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Religion 

YDS: 5.8 French: 5b Ewbanks: 16 UIAA: VI- ZA: 15 British: HVS 4c R

   
Type:  Trad, Alpine, 9 pitches, 800', Grade III
Consensus:  YDS: 5.8+ French: 5b Ewbanks: 16 UIAA: VI- ZA: 15 British: HVS 4c [details]
FA: Larry Hamilton and Keith Bell, August 1973
Page Views: 640
Submitted By: L. Hamilton on Apr 8, 2003

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BETA PHOTO: E face of Notchtop, showing approximate lines of (...

Description 

The big corner on the first pitch, and the two traversing pitches (up left, then back right) that zig-zag through overhangs above the grassy ledge at half height, are particularly good. The rock quality is generally comparable to that of Hallett or the Petit Grepon, although much less climbed. Below is the original FA route description.

Begin slightly left of the center of the main E face of the Notch Spire itself, in the leftmost of three prominent roofed dihedrals.

P1: From the left end of a huge, flat flake, leap across a moat and into a lieback on the main wall. Proceed up the dihedral for a long, strenuous pitch. Exit left near its top and belay. 5.8.

P2: Starting from the right edge of the belay ledge, climb right-facing flakes and dihedrals to a large grassy ledge. 5.7.

P3: An easy chimney, face and corner pitch leads to a meadow. 5.4.

P4: Wander up right to another meadow. Walk up to a large block leaning against the upper wall, and belay atop this. 3rd-4th class.

P5: Make a rising traverse across the smooth face to the left, and belay on an uncomfortable grassy stance at the base of a vertical corner-crack. 5.8.

P6: Climb the crack and make a long exposed traverse back to the right, below a long narrow roof. Belay in the bulging gully that forms the right boundary of the upper wall. 5.8.

P7: Follow this steep gully. Towards the end of the pitch, wander out onto a nice belay ledge on the left. 5.6.

P8: Climb up and right into an overhanging, dihedral system that is followed to an adequate belay area. 5.8.

P9: Continue up the bulging gully to the summit of the Notch Spire.

Protection 

Take gear from small wires to 3.5".


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By Matt Juth
From: Evergreen
Jun 14, 2004

This just happened to a friend, so for the benefit of others....

Don't get suckered into the large, left-facing corner above and to the right of the start of P5, unless you are up for some more difficult climbing. We climbed this variation a couple years ago and it was 5.10 with a good runout in the middle. If you are up for it, it is a great way to avoid the two traversing piches (and remove one pitch from the climb's total). See Finding Religion....
By Jim Berg
Jul 13, 2004
rating: 5.8+ 5b 16 VI- 15 HVS 4c

One can also start the climb by bridging between the BIG block & the main wall. The gap was a little wide for little ol me to comment to jumping across. Note that doing it this way you will not get in any gear until to reach the crack system that is 15 to 20 feet off the deck. I recommend bring a few extra big pieces for the first pitch is wide. I split the first pitch into two for lack of having extra big gear. A couple #3 & #4 Camalots would have been nice to have.
By mt.wilson
From: Denver
Sep 6, 2012

Did this up to the meadow thinking it would be fun to link into the Direct South Prow. The first rope length of this route is pretty terrible. It starts as really fun handjams and laybacking but quickly turns to a complete nightmare, climbing on loose/wedged flakes up the weakness. Maybe there is a way to avoid this section, but I didn't find it.... Not recommended.