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North America, United States, Colorado, Notchtop Mountain, East Face, Religion

Notchtop Mountain, East Face, Religion. Australian Keith Bell and I established this long excellent free climb on the highest part of the face in late August, 1973. We began (with a jump) in the left-most of three prominent roofed right-facing dihedrals on the lower east face, well to the left of Optimismus. This first pitch was fairly sustained and ended on a ledge to the left of the dihedral’s roof. A pitch higher easy climbing was encountered, as Religion was crossed by the Spiral route’s meadows. The steep upper wall was attacked on the fifth pitch, with a long diagonal traverse up and to the left. The sixth pitch then diagonaled for a rope-length back right, in one of the exposed maneuvers so characteristic of the harder Notchtop routes. Climbing continued more or less up the center of the face to a prominent vertical gully that ended a few feet from the summit of the Notch Spire. The last pitch and a half contained several old pins; evidently we had joined the finish of the South Ridge route at this point, which went free with one section of very solid F8. Except for the vicinity of the Spiral meadows, the climbing on this route was very consistent and worthwhile, comparable to the CulpBossier route on Hallets. At least four of the pitches involved F8 difficulties. NCCS III, F8.

Lawrence Hamilton, Unaffiliated