Mineral County Highpoint Trip Report

Quartz Peak

Date: July 24, 2005
Author: Ben Knorr

Existing reports were excellent resources for this hike. I followed bits of both and have a few things to add.

The end-of-road on 7789, where the saddle below Sunrise Mountain is bulldozed, is a great place to camp. I had no visitors except for a moose that wanted to help me make breakfast. The hike along the road is easy and offers views of Quartz along the way through clear-cuts, as well as a great view of nearby Illinois Peak (highpoint of Shoshone county, ID).

I took the road all the way into the Windfall Creek drainage as Tim Worth did. I followed some faint use trails and remnants of the old road for a quarter mile or so to the burned up hillsides to the east of the ridge between Landowner Mountain and Quartz. I chose a poor route, as I was using fallen logs to assist me in climbing up cliffs that line the slopes. After some close calls and exposed log-hops, I was on top of the ridge. From there, a use trail follows most of the ridge through intact forest and meadows almost all the way to Quartz. Tim's register wasn't there as I had expected but the cairn of wire, sticks, ladybugs, and rocks was definitely there. Each rock that I turned over had thousands of dead ladybugs stuck to it. There must have been hundreds of thousands of dead ladybugs up there or more. I left a new Ziploc register that will hopefully last a year or two.

The way down was just as interesting as the way up. The cliffs aren't quite as easy to see from above as from below. I found a gully that went from the ridge all the way to the drainage below, allowing an easy way through the cliffs. Some of the taller grasses keep the rocks and ruts in the ground hidden, so foot placements frequently went bad and I fell down. I don't think I would've tried this without trekking poles (up or down). I was blackened with soot from run- ins with all the burned up trees on the hillside.

Approximate mileages from west side of I-90, exit 55:

  0.0 Quartz Road
  2.8 Veer right.
  3.1 Bear right (straight) through fork.
  3.8 Bear right onto dirt "Meadowcreek Rd, Sunrise Pt 1 1/2".
  4.1 cattle guard
  5.1 Veer right (straight) onto FR 7789.
15.8 End of road at Sunrise saddle (gated). Passenger car suitable.