Rarely does one peak offer such incredible yet varied climbing as the 12,159-foot Notchtop Mountain. Its North Face and South Ridge routes provide exponentially different climbing experiences, but each is among the best of its kind.
The North Face is one of the most sought-after alpine mixed routes in the Park, and can vary from a verglassed mixed route to a full-on snow and ice climb. The classic Spiral Route weaves its way up the south and east faces and provides an adventure in every season. In summer it’s a terrific introduction to brilliantly exposed alpine rock climbing. Come winter, snow, gloves, and boots make this climb much more challenging.
And finally, the South Ridge – a steep and spectacular route that’s a favorite of many local climbers. Its quality and exposure compare favorably to the Petit Grepon, though it’s a notch harder in difficulty. If not for the Petit’s inclusion in the Fifty Classics book, this route could be just as popular. As is, it’s one of the best uncrowded climbs anywhere.
Hit the trailhead around 3am and hike into Odessa Gorge. Begin climbing at sunrise with the hopes of summiting and descending before any afternoon thunderstorms have moved in.
Colorado Mountain School
341 Moraine Avenue
Estes Park, CO 80517
With a sixteen-bed lodge available, Colorado Mountain School provides students the opportunity to spend their entire stay in Estes Park without the hassle of commuting. Our lodge is conveniently located in downtown Estes Park and features a full kitchen, WiFi and hot showers. Reserve a bed now for just $40 per night (plus tax).