Easy Route over Quartzite Col - ClubTread Community

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post #1 of (permalink) Old 09-04-2013, 07:15 PM Thread Starter
High on the Mountain Top
 
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Default Easy Route over Quartzite Col

I posted a comment about an easier route over Quartzite Col yesterday. Since then a few folks have contacted me asking for more detailed description or GPS track. Many more might be interested as well and some are headed into the area this weekend, so I figured I'd post a quick report.

Difficulty: Easy scramble. Steep hiking on loose rock. No hands-on scrambling involved. Helmet recommended. Routefinding skills required.
Elevation Gain: North (Devon Lakes side) - 370m from a huge bolder field at the start of the gully. South (Mosquito Creek side) - roughly 270m from the end of alpine meadows and beginning of a rock slide.
Highpoint: 2670m. Coordinates: 11 U 547745 5728065
GPS track: https://dl.dropboxusercontent.com/u/...ol%20Route.gpx

When researching optional return route from Devon Lakes area over Quartzite Col I couldn't reconcile two contrasting opinions. Some parties described it as "fairly easy", "just a slog", brought 9 and 13 year old kids, while others had to rope up or referred to it as a "climber's scramble". It was often more experienced parties that encountered more difficulties. After contacting everyone I knew who went over Quartzite Col in the past, it became clear to me that "Quartzite Col" is a loose term that refers to several routes of various difficulty. This TR describes easier route (probably the easiest one) that is just a steep slog on loose rock. I found it to be typical Rockies' combination of anything ranging from huge boulders to scree. Anyone who has done many slogs on this type of terrain will find himself on familiar grounds. Not a pleasant experience but very familiar for any scrambler.

I found this route, especially if approached from north side, very similar (possibly slightly more challenging) in terms of difficulty to Abbot Pass. I did Abbot Pass 6 years ago with only one functional hand (the other one was in cast). And I felt that I could have done this traverse over Quartzite Col with one hand as well if needed. This tells a lot about the overall difficulty of the route. I would rate it as Class I terrain. Having said this, it's a very steep slog on loose rock that shouldn't be taken lightly.

A few pictures describe this route. The gully in question is easily noted when approached from Clearwater Pass. It is straight ahead of you (photos 1 and 2):



Hike towards this gully over rolling meadows, cross a huge boulder field and start a steep ascent. Hike up 220-250m vertical meters up before bypassing a bump in the middle of the gully on either side. At this point you have reached a small dip or "plateau". The rest of the route up is obvious from this point. Note a steep gully on climber's left (photo 3)


There are no other easy visible alternatives so the route up at this point is obvious. The gully steepens near the very end and it's the most challenging part. Crest the ridge at 2670m. You will notice a low point of the ridge, that looks like official Quartzite Col, 200-250m north and 60m below. From the highpoint pick any route down towards meadows.

Routefinding from the south side (Mosquito Creek) is more difficult. When approaching the rockslide you will face the following view (picture 4):


Note a dip in the ridge (centre left). That's official Quartzite Col. Now look climber's right and note a point where the grey rock meets red/yellow rock (arrow). Aim at that point. Once on the top the route down the gully (photo 3) should be obvious.

Hope this will help.
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post #2 of (permalink) Old 09-04-2013, 07:36 PM
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Thanks a lot for the post.
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post #3 of (permalink) Old 09-04-2013, 10:37 PM
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Nice. Thanks for this.
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post #4 of (permalink) Old 09-05-2013, 08:23 AM
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Awesome! We went down too far to skier's left (when descending from Mosquito Creek side). I looked at your route from the top after we re-climbed on our way back and thought it was probably much easier than our (So's) line.

Thanks again for this!
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post #5 of (permalink) Old 09-05-2013, 09:53 AM
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I'm just getting a text page when I click the link. What am I doing wrong?
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post #6 of (permalink) Old 09-05-2013, 10:01 AM
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Quote:
quote:I'm just getting a text page when I click the link. What am I doing wrong?
Right-click and save as a .gpx file. Some browsers don't recognize it as a file and so display it as text.
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post #7 of (permalink) Old 09-05-2013, 11:17 AM
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Thx
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post #8 of (permalink) Old 09-05-2013, 03:39 PM
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I guess talk of an easy scramble can be ignored depending on conditions, like if there is snow or ice involved, which was the case when I went last year in July. I agree that the approach from Mosq Cr was easy, but there was nowhere to "hike" down on the Clearwater side, or we would have. I'm pretty sure we took the same route. All I'm saying is that an ice axe might be a handy thing if you think there would still be lingering snow patches.

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post #9 of (permalink) Old 09-05-2013, 04:05 PM Thread Starter
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As Alan Kane mentions in his book, his ratings apply only to the ideal conditions. Snow or ice can turn any easy scramble, like Mt. Rundle or Cascade, into a mountaineering objective. My scariest adventure this year was an early spring ascent of Thunder Mountain, a simple hike in the ideal conditions.

I actually might prefer snow (provided there is no avalanche danger) to the scree bash on Quartzite Col, similarly to Abbot Pass route, but the ice can turn it into a pretty technical undertaking, similarly to many other very steep routes.

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quote:Originally posted by Candy Sack

I guess talk of an easy scramble can be ignored depending on conditions, like if there is snow or ice involved, which was the case when I went last year in July. I agree that the approach from Mosq Cr was easy, but there was nowhere to "hike" down on the Clearwater side, or we would have. I'm pretty sure we took the same route. All I'm saying is that an ice axe might be a handy thing if you think there would still be lingering snow patches.
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post #10 of (permalink) Old 09-05-2013, 04:09 PM
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Well said Taras. As usual your posts on this board are wealth of excellent information!
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