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Quartz Hill Ski Tour

Ski Touring (Moderate Winter Scramble to Summit)
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Saturday, November 21, 2015

With two days of skiing planned for the weekend Meghan, Liam, and I were looking for something low stress to get our ski - legs back (and gauge snow conditions to get a feel for an appropriate trip for Sunday!) and settled on Quartz Hill, a smallish peak in Sunshine Meadows.  Oddly enough I was the only one who had been to Sunshine (or the meadows) before so at least Meghan and Liam could get some new views.

Several years prior, Steven and I had gone up Quartz Hill but I had to turn back due to I'll fitting boots, so I was glad to be heading back to settle the score with the mighty Quartz Hill.

Parking at the Sunshine lot just as people started to file up the gondola we managed to avoid too much traffic while ascending the ski out (sleds and skiers on the ski out are likely the biggest hazard of the trip).  Before long we were skinning up the Strawberry Chair and then were past the hussle and bussle of the ski hill.


Liam and Meghan about to cross from the ski hill into the backcountry.


Snow conditons in the meadows were very supportive for November and it didn't take long to wind our way closer to the peak.  From afar Quartz Hill actually looks somewhat intimidating but the closer you get the more gradual the slope becomes.  We took our time stopping for lunch and some start of season hide-and-seek avi beacon practice.  Once above treeline the snowpack became quite thin with a veneer of snow atop rocks and moss.  We managed to ski to the top of the false summit and then down to the col before stashing our skis and booting up the last few meters to the summit.


Pretty good snow trailbreaking.


Looking up towards the false summit.


A touch windy up here.


Quite bare in places.


Skiing down to the col between the false and true summits.


Views were decent (neither horrible or excellent) but Quartz is certainly a good viewpoint for getting a feel for Sunshine Meadows.  Fatigue Mountain and Citadel Peak are especially tempting, have to head back for them in the future.  As the day was fast drawing to a close we headed downwards with a fairly decent run from the col before shuffling back to the hill.  One nice thing with getting back a little later is we had the runs on the ski hill to ourselves and happily carved our way back to the car.  Quartz Hill is a pleasent outing in Sunshine Meadows and certainly would be worth a trip up if passing by (say skiing into Assiniboine from the north).


Views from the summit.


Looking down into BC from the summit.


Fatigue and Citadel would be a long day-trip from the parking lot!


Back down we went towards the resort.

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