All Locations > Colorado > CO Ice & Mixed > RMNP - Mixed/Ice > Bear Lake Trail… > Odessa Gorge > Notchtop & vicinity
North Face (which actually faces NE) [Edit]
Avg: 3.5 from 35 votes
|Type:||Trad, Ice, Alpine, 1325 ft, 5 pitches, Grade III|
|FA:||Thomas Hornbein and David Thurston, 1952|
|Page Views:||12,772 total · 64/month|
|Shared By:||Jason Nelson on Nov 14, 2001|
|Admins:||Frances Fierst, Monty, Monomaniac, Leo Paik, John McNamee|
North Face follows the concave north face of Notchtop Mountain. [Approach] via a gully on the east right, gain some meadows, and hope that there is ice on the route. Can be prone to avalanche danger. We did the climb in about 4 pitches with some simul-climbing on the snow patches separating the ice sections. The first steep section of ice was not formed (pitch 2) so we traversed left along a ledge and climbed rock (maybe 5.7) to gain the snowfield above. Pitch 4 was the crux, a nicely formed piece of water ice in the 3-3+ range. Then some more snow, the summit and an "easy if dry" descent down the west gully (easy to find). There was more snow on the descent when I climbed Notchtop in the summer and I slid a hundred or so feet down the hard snow and bounced across the talus for awhile before stopping. The easier pitches (1 and 3) had thinner ice and didn't protect so well, but that would probably depend on conditions. Overall, it is a good time if you get the right conditions with fun, but not too difficult ice sections in between easy sections of snow.
Ice screws, light rack of rock gear (single set of cams), maybe snow pickets, slings, maybe pitons, pitons might be useful on a winter ascent.