Utah Labor Day Weekend - Day 2

Date of trip: 09/03/2017

Mileage: 7.3 Miles

Elevation Gain: 2300 Feet

Time: 6 Hour(s) and 23 Minutes

Class: 2

Partners: Carrie

GPS Track: View Here

Peaks Climbed on Trip:
Peak Name Elevation Prominence Range Close to County highpoint Range highpoint Map
Notch Mountain11263804UintaKamas, UtahNoNo40.7070, -110.9482
Mount Watson112631141UintaKamas, UtahNoNo40.6984, -110.9799

Trip Report

After yesterday's successful hike of Lofty Peak and Mount Marsell, day 2 of our Utah adventure was Mount Watson and Notch Mountain to the west of Bald Mountain Pass.

We left our campground at 10,600' and actually drove down in elevation to the trailhead for today's adventure, which was only 10,000'. We left the Crystal Lake trailhead and soon after took the right fork heading to Cliff Lake. Just past Cliff Lake, we branched off the trail and headed up the southeast slopes of Mount Watson. Our chosen route up Mount Watson wasn't ideal, but it got us there :-)

The top of Watson had incredible views of the dozens of lakes and high peaks. It was warm and sunny, so we soaked in the views and warmth before studying a descent route down to Clyde Lake, up to "The Notch", then up Notch Mountain.

Our descent route was quite nice and we were surrounded by scenic lakes once we got into the basin below Mount Watson. The hike to The Notch was straight forward. However, the first 500' of scrambling to get from The Notch to good slopes on Notch Mountain were quite a hassle. However, our spirits were lifted when we noticed how impressive the views from the ridge were. We were even more impressed once we saw how rugged and dramatic the east face of Notch Mountain was. It was very cool to "walk the edge" of the ridge, looking down straight down a 1000 feet!

Eventually we reached the summit marked by a very large cairn. After hydrating and taking in the views, it was time to figure out the best route to finish off the loop.

I decided that backtracking a little ways down the ridge and dropping to The Notch trail would work best. Although steep, this quickly got us to the trail. I guess 2 days of hiking and being above 10000' was taking it's toll, as we were both pretty tired.

We then followed the trail past Hope Lake, Wall Lake, then between Lily Lakes. Visiting new lakes nearly the entire day and great views kept our spirits up despite the tired legs.

This loop was one of the most scenic and rewarding days of hiking I have had!


Getting There

The Crystal Lake Trailhead is located off of Mirror Lake Highway (Utah State Route 150), west of Bald Mountain Pass.


Hiking Directions

Crystal Lake trailhead to Cliff Lake, cross country up the southeast slopes to the top of Mount Watson. Descended Watson to Clyde Lake. Hiked cross country to The Notch. Followed the west ridge of Notch Mountain to the summit. Descended to The Notch trail and followed it back to the Crystal Lake trailhead, passing Hope Lake, Wall Lake, and Lily Lakes in the process.


Photos

View Slideshow

Carrie starting down the Cliff Lake trail
Carrie starting down the Cliff Lake trail
Mount Watson from Cliff Lake
Mount Watson from Cliff Lake
South slopes of Mount Watson
South slopes of Mount Watson
Nearing the top of Mount Watson
Nearing the top of Mount Watson
Carrie taking in the views on Mount Watson
Carrie taking in the views on Mount Watson
Mountain Goat on Mount Watson
Mountain Goat on Mount Watson
Dan on Mount Watson
Dan on Mount Watson
Looking back at Mount Watson
Looking back at Mount Watson
Ridge to Notch Mountain
Ridge to Notch Mountain
Carrie on Notch Mountain
Carrie on Notch Mountain
Ibantik Lake from Notch Mountain
Ibantik Lake from Notch Mountain
Carrie descending Notch Mountain with Mount Watson behind her
Carrie descending Notch Mountain with Mount Watson behind her
Cool rock on near Hope Lake
Cool rock on near Hope Lake
Notch Mountain from Wall Lake
Notch Mountain from Wall Lake
Sunset from Bald Mountain Pass
Sunset from Bald Mountain Pass




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