Ascent of Notch Peak on 2018-05-26

Climber: Caleb Crandall

Others in Party:George Groesbeck
"Kyle" Groesbeck (Stayed behind)
Wife of Jackson (Forgot Name) (Stayed behind)
Josh Crandall
Jessica Crandall
Can't Find ClimberID br
Date:Saturday, May 26, 2018
Ascent Type:Successful Summit Attained
    Motorized Transport to Trailhead:Hi-Clearance Vehicle
Peak:Notch Peak
    Elevation:9654 ft / 2942 m

Ascent Trip Report

We left Bluffdale, UT at 8:00 AM for the trailhead. Very few towns were encountered along the way south past Saratoga Springs, save Eureka and Delta. We got gas in Delta after 2 hours flat and drove another 35 minutes or so to the turnoff onto the dirt road.

The dirt road is very well maintained for the entire 7 to 8 miles to the pavilion. There was a well maintained outhouse bathroom there, which came in handy both before and after the hike. From there, we turned on to the 4x4 road and endured a slow and very bumpy mile to the trailhead. We made it past this road in a Subaru Outback with little trouble. Our bumper only hit the ground once on an especially bad uphill rut.

Parking was scarce, but adequate. The trailhead was marked very clearly with a sign. The temperature stayed between 65 and 75 degrees throughout the day.

The first section of the hike took us north through the beginning of Sawtooth Canyon for about 1/2 of a mile. The trail is wide and obvious here, and impressive cliffs already surrounded us as we progressed through this first section.

The second section begins after the turnoff left at the canyon fork, which was marked with a cairn. The wide gravel trail encountered before stayed for another 1/4 of a mile before what I believe to be the most frustrating part of the hike began. The canyon closed in and the trail thinned before we found ourselves at the bottom of a heavily vegetated wash. Sharp and scratchy plants were constant obstacles for another 1/2 of a mile as we slithered up the wash. Luckily, the trail on the ground stayed clear, so that we never worried about getting lost through the frustration.

After the 1/2 mile of pain, the trail widens out again to a wide and dry creek bed that slowly travels higher and further into the wash. It was very easy to follow and we did not see any way to get lost along this 1 mile long section. The creek bed bottom here was basically gravel and the hiking here was easier than anywhere else on the hike.

The beginning of the fourth section was clearly marked by the biggest bristlecone trunk I have ever seen fallen over over the trail. Immediately after climbing this trunk, we scrambled up three small "pitches" that were probably dry waterfalls. There are trails around all of these scrambles to the right to bypass scrambling if preferred. They were never used by our group. After these scrambles, the creek bed continued to the higher reaches of Notch Peak, although much more rugged at this point. We continued up the creek bed in this section for 1/2 of a mile.

Eventually, the creek bed forked, and we took the cairn-marked left fork up to the most rugged parts of the creek bed. Scrambling over boulders and around bristlecones was common through this brief 1/4 section before the trail took us out of the wash and up a sparsely vegetated slope toward the saddle. The trail was much more faint in this section after leaving the wash, but cairns are common and the way was obvious as we headed northwest along the left side of the small subpeak above us. The saddle comes into view after a short climb and multiple unmaintained trails led to it. We took one to the saddle and took a few minutes to gaze in jaw-dropped awe of the massive drop below us. We threw some rocks off the edge to hear the echoes of their landing several seconds after we threw them. Hopefully no one was climbing below us! I felt bad afterwards, and do not recommend doing it. Just scream "echo!" to get the same effect.

After the break, we embarked on the final section of the hike, which was an obvious but steep climb from the saddle for 1/4 of a mile to the summit. There are sparse trails criss-crossing their way to the top here, and we trudged our way up them to the top. It was easiest to stay as close to the ridge line as possible without being in danger of falling off of the right edge. There never really is a false summit along this last stretch, so I was surprised when I climbed over the last small cliff band onto the summit area.

I went with a group of 7 other people, most of whom were casual hikers, so we took very frequent breaks. 5 of us made the summit in 5 hours flat at around 4:00 P.M.. There were intermittent clouds all around us, and there was some mild wind, but the views of the surrounding mountains and valleys were still unforgettable, not to mention the cliffs to the north. We spent 20 minutes at the top before meeting the others at the saddle and eventually heading back down. The descent was at a breakneck speed compared to the ascent. We made it down in about an hour and a half from the saddle at 6:00 P.M.

We made it back home in Bluffdale at about 10:30 after eating dinner in Delta. Clouds had rolled in when we left and we felt lucky to have avoided rain the while we were on the 4x4 road. It rained all night in Bluffdale after we got back. A great hike that I would recommend to everyone.

Summary Total Data
    Total Elevation Gain:2700 ft / 822 m
    Total Elevation Loss:2700 ft / 822 m
    Round-Trip Distance:7.3 mi / 11.7 km
    Quality:7 (on a subjective 1-10 scale)
    Route Conditions:
Maintained Trail, Unmaintained Trail, Scramble
    Weather:Pleasant, Breezy, Partly Cloudy
Ascent Statistics
    Gain on way in:2700 ft / 822 m
    Distance:3.7 mi / 6 km
    Route:Sawtooth Canyon
    Start Trailhead:Notch peak trailhead  6954 ft / 2119 m
    Time:0 Days 5 Hours 0 Minutes
Descent Statistics
    Loss on way out:2700 ft / 822 m
    Distance:3.5 mi / 5.6 km
    Route:Sawtooth Canyon
    End Trailhead:Notch peak trailhead  6954 ft / 2119 m
    Time:0 Days 1 Hours 30 Minutes

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