One of the great things about living in this area is the endless number of peaks to climb. I think I could go my whole life climbing a different peak each weekend and never have to repeat one. In the spirit of climbing something new, I joined a large group of Mountaineers on Saturday to add another notch to my belt – Quartz Peak.
We drove to North Bend and headed out the Middle Fork Snoqualmie Road to an overgrown logging road. (It was so overgrown, actually, that only a GPS waypoint gave us a clue that it was there.) After the usual introductions, we were off.
We followed the logging road about a half mile to a non-distinct point just past the junction with the CCC trail, but before a really nice looking bridge over a creek. (If I did this again, I think I’d just take the CCC trail and avoid the overgrown road.) Thinking the brush looked about as good as anything, we headed more or less uphill to about 2200’ on the ridge leading to Quartz Lake. The brush was minimal for second-growth forest, so the going was fairly easy.
We continued straight up the ridge, donning snowshoes at about 3000’.
At 3400’ we encountered a big rocky outcropping. To pass it, we dropped about 25’ to the right of it and traversed about 50’ to a steep snow chute back up to the ridge. We stuck with the ridge until about 3600’ at which point we traversed to the saddle and lake between Quartz and Bessequartz. (Who names these peaks anyway?)
Along the way, we were treated to peek-a-boo views of the surrounding area.
At the lake, we had a quick snack before making the final push up Quartz.
At the summit, we each took turns snapping a summit picture and settled in for afternoon tea. The summit was mostly treed, so our views were limited. There was a nice view of the seldom-climbed Bessemer.
The descent was unremarkable, albeit a bit slow owing to the conditions and size of our group. Before we knew it, we were back at the cars dreaming of a delicious dinner at the Riverbend Café.
Big thanks to Richard and Lynn for organizing such a great climb! To John for his navigation skills on the descent, and to David, John, Mike and all the rest for their step-kicking skills.
Getting There: Take exit 34 off I-90 and turn left under the freeway. Turn right on the SE Middle Fork Road. Continue on FS 5600 to a spot about 5 miles after the bridge over the Middle Fork Snoqualmie River and about ½ mile past the CCC trailhead. Look left; there will be an overgrown road in there somewhere!
Round Trip: 6 miles
Elevation Gain: 3850’
Highest Point: ~4650’
TH to Summit: 5 hours
Summit to TH: 4 ¼ hours