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Appetite for Destruction

5.12a/b, Trad, Grade IV,  Avg: 3.6 from 5 votes
FA: Dave Shewell Jim Howe may 2001
Utah > W Desert > House Range > Notch Peak > Lower N Face


This route is located on the lower face of Notch Peak. It was put up in pure ground up style. It offers a challenge for climbers with experience on loose mountain routes. It is similar to big routes in the Canadian Rockies, or less traveled routes in the Italian Dolomites... serious and objectively hazardous. When combined with either BOS or La Fin to the summit of Notch, it yields a real grade V. Even if you are usually fast, bring your headlamp.
Be aware that this route is somewhat more serious than Book of Saturdays or Western Hardman. At least one of those routes would be a good introduction into what to expect. Be ready, because this route will deliver big adventure. It is remote, and long falls are possible. The crux pitches can be reduced to 5.11 A0 but there is some 5.10 runout climbing. The climbing may be generally described as vertical, technical, edges/crimps so bring your edging shoes. Good luck, take it seriously.


Hike 50 minutes up the drainage under the N face of notch peak. (occasionally a cairn is in the drainage but is often washed out in flashfloods) The start of the route is marked by a bolt with a faded sling on it, maybe 150 meters to the left of Western Hardman (see the Beta photo). The route can be rappeled with 2x 60M ropes. From the top band is preferable to hike out along the approach to the upper wall, or rappel "Western Hardman" if you know that descent.


minimum of 1 set of cams, tcu's to 3.5"; 8 long runners. 14 quickdraws, 2x60m ropes. Bolts are 10mm stainless for protection and at all belay stations (nice)
This route offers runouts, loose rock, difficult and committing climbing

Photos [Hide ALL Photos]

The God of Chunder<br>
base of pitch 3
[Hide Photo] The God of Chunder base of pitch 3
Finishing AoD after linking the looseness.
[Hide Photo] Finishing AoD after linking the looseness.
Tom "the Hitman"  grinning on pitch 3
[Hide Photo] Tom "the Hitman" grinning on pitch 3
Chunder god
[Hide Photo] Chunder god
pitch 4, 5.11+, well protected, nicely exposed, the occasionally friable hold, What more could you want?
[Hide Photo] pitch 4, 5.11+, well protected, nicely exposed, the occasionally friable hold, What more could you want?
Will Hair on the start of pitch 4. It opens with well protected 11c/d, then dishes out continuous 5.10/11- climbing to a crux(11+) boulder problem. 120'
[Hide Photo] Will Hair on the start of pitch 4. It opens with well protected 11c/d, then dishes out continuous 5.10/11- climbing to a crux(11+) boulder problem. 120'
Arriving at the top of the 5.12- pitch.
[Hide Photo] Arriving at the top of the 5.12- pitch.
Appetite for destruction
[Hide Photo] Appetite for destruction
JK coming to grips with pitch 5
[Hide Photo] JK coming to grips with pitch 5
Jim and Dave on the summit after our outing linking Appetite and LaFin in an 11 hour car-to-car Notch peak fest.
[Hide Photo] Jim and Dave on the summit after our outing linking Appetite and LaFin in an 11 hour car-to-car Notch peak fest.
Top of P3 hauling the piglet.
[Hide Photo] Top of P3 hauling the piglet.
Coming up P4
[Hide Photo] Coming up P4

Comments [Hide ALL Comments]

[Hide Comment] This route is just like being in Canada. Do the link to La fin du monde or another route for a real day out. Go off route to see how lose the rock can be. Mar 15, 2007
Jeremy Collins
[Hide Comment] I'd give this route three stars.

On the thirty star scale.

Why, depsite all the wonderul descriptors above did I climb this route? I am a glutton for punishment, I guess... a masochist of misery, if you will. Or I guess, like Jim Howe, I have an insatiable Appetite For Destruction.

That said, it is a mastery of route finding and these chosskateers doing the best with what was provided. Hats off to those who put themselves at gunpoint on every lead of this routes first ascent. I have never seen a better example of "because it's there"... there can't be any other reason for putting up a route on this vertical kitty litter.

Quality aside, the topo and views are pretty good for this route. The 'gorge' looks like an Albino Grand Canyon, minus the tourists, river, and enjoyable hiking. Only one rack of cams to hand size, no doubles. The 11a and 11d pitches were really quite enjoyable, along with sections of the crux pitch. The rest, however, was absolute hair raising agony. Dirt, loose rock, and stressful climbing were the norm.

I imagine climbing another route in the canyon first would be some good advice(as given above), but my partner and I figured this was the first and last time we'd be here, so might as well get the worst of it, eh?

We both grew up on choss limestone in Missouri, and figured this was a qwerky extension of our Missouri Ninja skills. We never knew how good we had it.

Some thoughts from Team Choss Chuck'n:

Pitch 1: Nasty, but standard nasty. Like Paris Hilton I guess.

Pitch 2: Actually really nice climbing, but very height dependant crux.

3rd class ledge: actually 60 feet, not 300

Pitch 3: Rotten as a skid mark on 4 day worn undies. I'd probably give this pitch an 'x'. Makes Garden of The Gods sandstone look like Eldorado Canyon.

Pitch 4: Sustained, exposed, well protected, and very entertaining. Cool mantles and a cryptic, technical crux.

Pitch 5: If only it were a little cleaner, we could call this pitch the best of the route. The crux dihedral is sustained, but well protected (a tcu supplements the bolts nicely). The upper section is a bit creepy, passing through a number of precarious moves and features that threaten to blow off in your face at any given time.

Pitch 6: The business. I would definitely give this pitch an "x". My guess is the only reason it is not more protected by bolts is that the rotton rock wouldn't take it? This pitch is only made more difficult by the fact that you have been on edge for most of the route; the flies are buzzing around your face; and massive rock falls are echoing from across the canyon.

Pitch 7: You know when you vomit just a little bit and it sits in your mouth for awhile? That would be this pitch. We linked this with the next pitch with a little simul climbing. Half way through you bushwack through a dirt slope littered with dinner plate blocks. If ANYTHING cuts loose, you will nail your belayer. Go slow, Choss Ninjas. Choose life.

Pitch 8: Traverse 50 feet right to the corner, marked by a lone bolt with a sling hanging from it. The corner above is pretty cool and aesthetic, albeit pretty fuzzy with lichen. The top out is beautiful, and the view of the Notch summit and the desert to the west is striking.

Descent: We rapped Western Hardman, to avoid having to downclimb the 3rd class section on this route. There is some funky business on the second rap. We planned on summiting, but had a late start to the day due to bad directions. The turnoff from 6/50 is milepoint 33, not 43. Aug 15, 2007
[Hide Comment] good on you Jer ... it seems like your memory is quite vivid!
This route started and ended as an adventure. Aug 18, 2007
Jim Howe
Salt Lake City
[Hide Comment] While putting up the route, we were able to reduce the risks. We did'nt simuclimb any pitch as it really does expose the 2nd to rockfall from the leader. The belays are usually out of the way of the leaders on lead cleaning during the FA.
I love solid, well traveled rock routes as much as the next climber, but sometimes we look for some other kind of adventure, it sounds like you found it.
Like all of the routes on Notch, they clean up somewhat with traffic, but this will always require some level of commitment. Aug 24, 2007
[Hide Comment] Note To any potential climbers of this route:
The pin at the top of the second pitch had broken free from the rock and is now only hand placed. If you want to secure this piece of protection(and it is some of the only good protection as you ascend a very scary loose chopping block) Please bring a hammer to bash it back in.
This is as of July 15th/2010.
Start early if you're combining routes as this climbing is a good amount slower than typical 'bolted' routes.
Please post if someone pounds this back in. Jul 19, 2010
[Hide Comment] The pro where the pin was is solid. Jul 17, 2011
Joe Forrester
Palo Alto
[Hide Comment] This is the real deal. Quite an adventure.

Would strongly recommend against linking P6+7, leaves you simul-climbing through some pretty horrific terrain.

That this was drilled on lead is a testament to the fortitude and vision that is regrettably less and less common in the sport. Got to love the West Desert. May 31, 2015