The Tallest Cliff in Utah





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Published on Jan 7, 2011

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Route description of a hike to Notch Peak from along Sawtooth Ridge.

Starting on the northern end of the Sawtooth Mountains, the route follows over and around many saw-like pointy peaks.
The route starts at Pine Peak Ridge, which starts out steep along an ATV road. There are many wildflowers and Bristlecones along this path. At the top of Pine Peak Ridge, one is blessed with awe inspiring views of the desolation below in Tule Valley.

Looking directly south you will see Little Notch, which by it's own right is a massive knob of Limestone. If this peak was by it's self, it would still be worth a visit.
Moving from the western saddle of Little Notch to the eastern saddle of Little Notch, is the most difficult part of the hike. There are many deer tracks and animal trails interlaced with lost hiker trails. I've never found a trail that stays solid through this section. You will have to just try to move cross country, trending downward to the next view point.

Between Little Notch to the west and The Pyramid to the east, you will be afforded a magnificent view of eons of stratification above and desert wasteland below. To the east is the giant "Book of Time" with it's pages slowly flaking and breaking away. The next stop is the saddle between the Book and the Pyramid. To do so you will have to go all the way around the back of the Pyramid.

To go around the Pyramid, you will have to descend 30-40 feet and then climb back up. There are a few ways back up and some of them require the use of hands. At the saddle, you will have a view back to Little Notch. Continuing up the the edge of the Book of Time, you will see one of the airiest drop-offs in Utah. From along the top of the Book of Time, it is easy going, until you reach the base of The Cleave, here you will find shaded forests of Bristlecone Pine Trees. This section is very steep, just take your time. The Cleave has a massive crack running through it, so you will have to go around it.

Then you will come upon a smaller peak, east or left of Notch Peak, which stands looming above and to the right. There are two ways to navigate this last sub-peak, climb over it, or go all the way around it. If you climb up it, it will be steep but still quicker than going around it. Going around it can take 3 times as long because you are going about 300 degrees around it's base.

Once at the base of Notch, it's good to take a final break. The rest of the way is mostly stair-stepped blocks that wind their way back and forth. There is no danger along this section, and doesn't require the hiker to get close to the edge. There are no false summits, and it turns out to be quite a bit easier than it looks.

On the way back be sure to not descend too early. Stay close to the edge, all the way back to the Book of Time.

Views of Tule Valley, Amasa Basin, Highway 60-5, Little Notch, The Pyramid, The Cleave, Deep Creek Mountains, Great Basin National Park, Confusion Range.

Stops Along the way to notice the wildlife in the area

Great Basin Bristlecone Pine
Pinus Longaeva

Sego Lily
Calochortus nuttallii

Prickly Pear Cactus Rose
Opuntia engelmannii

Thigmotactic anthers


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