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Quartz Creek Ridge | August 2022

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Activated Quartz Creek Ridge with Bill (K7WXW) this last weekend. This summit is easily doable with North Quartz Creek Ridge in the same day. Access for both summits is in the middle on a sometimes-not-mapped trail, TH at 46.24186, -121.72969 . This trail system is mixed-use. We saw ultramarathon runners (Dark Divide Ultra), mountain bikers, and dirtbikes. Prepare your ankles accordingly, the trail is often a narrow rut through the dirt because of the motorcycle traffic.

We camped near the trailhead ( 46.24106, -121.72173 ) and enjoyed a fantastic view of Mt. Adams. This is area is easily accessible by any vehicle, and with the exception of a few portions of NF90, the road is paved all the way. If you have a higher-clearance vehicle, there is parking closer to where the trail enters the forest, though on a warm day you will be coming back to no shade in the afternoon.

The trail heads up fairly agressively, then tempers a bit, gaining about 300' in 1/2 mile, where you will come to a junction (Summit Prairie Trail). This is a great place to stash some extra water if doing NQCR in the same day. From here, you can proceed to the left to Quartz Creed Ridge, or right to North Quartz Creek Ridge. Bill and I headed left, and just around the corner from the junction, began descending. The trail drops almost 400' in the next 1/2 mile. A (too) short flat section as you cross a saddle in the ridge, and then the trail ascends to the summit. The summit area is mostly large trees with little understory. We went off to the East of the summit a short way and found a bit of a meadow to operate from. There are no views, but the mosquitos were so thick we wouldn't have been able to enjoy it anyway.

I had no luck getting HF contacts, but fortunately there were enough operators out on other summits I was able to get my QSOs on 2m, entirely S2S. We headed back down the hill (and then up) making quick time to the junction. We then proceeded on to North Quartz Creek Ridge.