Quartz Mountain (4,641 ft)
December 3, 2016
It was forecast to be snowy all day so I went for a below-treeline peak on the Homecourt 100 list. Quartz mountain is actually the lowest one on the list, but that doesn’t mean it’s easy – there’s no trail to the summit. I had actually tried unsuccessfully to climb Quartz last weekend, but hadn’t started hiking until noon and turned around early since I didn’t want to be bushwhacking in the dark.
This time I started out at 8:15am on the CCC trail along the Middle Fork Snoqualmie River. After hiking up the trail for about 15 minutes, I cut left into the woods between the yellow geological survey marker sign and the bridge with the hand railings.
The bushwhacking started out pretty dens in fern and bush-filled trees. I scrambled up a gully in a short cliff band, and then the forest opened up more. I generally aimed for the ridge extending due south from Bessequartz mountain, walking through mostly open forest down low, which got denser up high. Snowline started around 2,000ft, and got deeper and deeper. The ridge itself got quite steep, with cliffs on both sides at times and some scrambling required.
When I reached the elevation of the Bessequartz-Quartz pass (around 3,900ft) I traversed right, below some cliffs, to reach the pass. From the pass it was an easy walk up to the summit, though the snow was quite deep, around 5ft in some places. Luckily I had snowshoes, so this was no problem, and I reached the top by 11:45am.
The summit itself is an extremely steep pyramid of snow on top of a big rock outcrop. I couldn’t tell if it was a cornice, so from the side I chopped off the top foot of snow so I could touch the top with my hand without having to get too close.
The hike back down was easy since I could follow my tracks in the snow most of the way, and I got back to the car by 2:15pm for a 6-hour round trip.