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Routes in Notchtop

Direct South Ridge T 5.9 5c 17 VI 17 HVS 5a
Finding Religion on the Spiral T 5.10 6b 20 VII- 19 E2 5b R
Instant Clarification (AKA Rap Route) T 5.9+ 5c 17 VI 17 E1 5a
Laid Back (a.k.a. NE Ridge) T 5.8 5b 16 VI- 15 HVS 4c
Mornin' T 5.7 5a 15 V+ 13 MVS 4b
Optimismus T 5.9 5c 17 VI 17 HVS 5a
Relief Train T 5.7 5a 15 V+ 13 MVS 4b
Religion T 5.8 5b 16 VI- 15 HVS 4c R
Spiral Route T 5.4 4a 12 IV 10 VD 3c
Topnotch T 5.11b 6c 23 VIII- 23 E3 5c
White Room T 5.11 6c+ 23 VIII- 23 E4 5c X
Unsorted Routes:
Type: Trad, Alpine, 170 ft, 2 pitches
FA: Richard DuMais and Steve Komito, 1987.
Page Views: 2,623 total, 17/month
Shared By: Tim Stich on Aug 20, 2005
Admins: Leo Paik, John McNamee, Frances Fierst, Monty, Monomaniac

You & This Route

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Seasonal Closures Details


This is the obvious crack in the middle of the East Meadows gully that leads up to the saddle of the Notch. Many parties [apparently] mistake it for the finish of the Spiral Route, which is a good mistake to make as the climbing is excellent, well protected, and superior to the grassy ledges of that last 5.4. The initial crack is quite long and continuous. Secondary cracks and features are just left of the main crack, which affords you a variety of gear opportunities. The first 40ft is sustained, but it relaxes after that with large foot ledges.

After the initial crack, a ledge with a small gully leading right appears. I went up the gully and found another crack system and a tiny roof. This had more moss and lichen, but was good in any case. Turn the roof and go way right or head straight up. If you go far right to the next crack, rope drag will be an issue. Backclean if you do this. The line ends on a large ledge just 50ft to the right of the Notch saddle. It's probably possible to link both pitches with a 60m rope.


Standard alpine rack.


William Thiry
Lakewood, CO
William Thiry   Lakewood, CO
Good route description, Stich, and great climbing. The initial 40-foot crack is excellent, and I'd give it a 7+ because it feels a bit difficult with an alpine pack at 12,000 feet. We belayed on top of that to reduce rope drag and take advantage of and excellent belay ledge. The 2nd part of the route has a few options. The mossy corner crack described above by Stich has rotten rock and is runout at the top, so I tried the crack system 6 feet to the right, and although it looks/starts out a bit suspect, it becomes quite a nice crack system to climb with better rock and protection than the left-hand crack. Great way to finish up the Spiral route. Jun 27, 2016
Boulder, CO
claytown   Boulder, CO
Fun pitch of 5.7 in an alpine setting. If you climb Notchtop via this route, it will go very quickly. Many people would be comfortable scrambling all the way to the 5.7 and only roping up for that one pitch. Careful of loose rock in the meadow though.

To find the rap descent cut straight west to the low point of the Notch directly above the standard Spiral Route. When you go through the notch, walk a few steps out right and look left at the 3rd class scramble to the spire summit. It's very easy to see the 3-pin anchor from there. It's a fast and easy way to get to the bolted rap line.

Next time I go up there, I'm going to take everything and complete the circuit to the Continential Divide trail then hike down the Flattop trail. Would be a fun, cruiser alpine tour. Jun 4, 2012