Notchtop is a stunning peak which is the equal of just about any other in RMNP outside of Longs, for quality climbing. The routes range from a classic mountaineering route, the Spiral, to the steep, popular South Ridge, very difficult free-climbs such as Topnotch, and classic winter mixed and ice routes. The rock is a mixture of gneiss and granite and is fairly solid, although the summit of the Notch Spire (where most routes end) seemed pretty unstable! Features such as the South Ridge and the SE Face approach 1000' in height.
Approach Notchtop from the Bear Lake trailhead. Follow signs toward Odessa Lake. Notchtop comes into view after a couple of miles. When the trail begins to head down into a valley, find an unnamed spur trail to Lake Helene. From here, follow your nose, and possibly a faint trail and some cairns, for about 1/2 mile to the base of the face. To descend: downclimb 4th class to the SW from near the summit of the spire. Then, up for several hundred easy feet to the summit of the main peak. From here, find a long, exposed ledge system (4th class) which leads west and diagonals down into a large easy gull. Resist the temptation to downclimb too soon. Follow the gully back to the base of the cliff.