ViewVoting details

Quartz Peak! November 2 2013 (pre-snow)

KF7EHT's picture
Voice Cellular Coverage: 
Decent, workable
Data Cellular Coverage: 
Decent, workable
Cellular Provider: 
APRS Coverage: 
Don't know

It was a cool rainy day in Spokane. My wife Sarah, our friend Kelly, and I wanted to do a hike. And I wanted to do an activation. So we settled on a hike to Quartz Peak. Quartz Peak is another peak within the Mount Spokane State Park. The peak is right in the middle of the Mount Spokane Nordic Park, a premier location for cross-country skiing in Eastern Washington. Parking for the hike is easy. Simply park at the cross country ski area parking lot. You'll need a Discovery Pass when the ski area isn't open, and you'll need a sno-pass when the ski area is open. The parking and pass situation can be a bit confusing; check with the ranger station if you're not sure what pass you need to park at a certain lot. 

It's a fairly easy two mile hike, with about 700 feet elevation gain to the summit. The trail is always closed to motorized traffic. In the winter, it's open only to cross country skiers. This weekend was probably the last opportunity to do the hike before the trails are covered in snow. 

Sorry about the crappy low light cell-phone pics. 

Here we are starting out. As you can see the road/trail is pretty easy. In the winter this is a cross-country ski trail. Also note our adventure dog, Abraham. 


The route to the summit is well marked. Follow the signs to the "lookout" emblem: 



Here Sarah shows how Quartz Peak got it's name! Lots of quartzite :) 


This lookout tower was relocated to Quartz Peak several years ago. No longer used as a fire lookout, you can now rent it for over night stays. How cool would that be? You can find more information at the state park website.  


The biggest struggle was finding a spot relatively shielded from the wind. Here I am crouched behind this rock. I called CQ on 146.52 simplex for about 10 minutes before getting any responses. I didn't realize that the peak was sort of hidden in the shadow of a couple other hills. My signal was not as good as I thought it would be to Spokane. I didn't even think to bring my new backpack 4-element beam (an Arrow). Finally I got a few bites, with the help of the local repeater to recruit spotters. For those needing to erect larger antenas, there are abundant trees and rocks for tie-downs. You could even use the lookout as supoort. 


The wind sustained at about 30 mph, with gust probably approaching 45+ mph. The view would have been better on a nicer day. But oh well. The RF was working fine :)  I got my contacts on 2M FM and called it good.