Quartzite Peak has the distinction of being the northern most peak within Yosemite National Park. It was named by miners in the 1940's and 50's for the white-creamy rock that crowns its summit. As is typical for peaks north of Yosemite, the peak lacks the dramtic spires commonly found further to the south. However, the summit offers spectacular panoramic views of northern Yosemite, the Emigrant Wilderness Area, and Hoover Wilderness Area. It is also of geologic interest, with incredible bands of metamorphic rock
. The Montezuma Tungsten Mine (now closed) is located on the eastern shore of Snow Lake, at the base of the mountain.
An old mining road extends from Bond Pass that leads to the summit. It's an easy 45-minute walk-up. There is not much traffic in this remote region, so you will likely have the peak all to yourself.
Other peaks in the nearby vacinity include Bigelow Peak
, Forsyth Peak
, Saurian Crest and Keyes Peak
, Grizzly Peak
, and Big Sam
which can make for a great weekend of peak bagging.
Quartzite Peak is located in the remote eastern region of the Emigrant Wilderness Area and straddles the boundary of Yosmite. It can be easily tied in with climbs of other nearby peaks and reached from several different trailheads depending on your plans. The closest trailheads are at Leavitt Meadows
, Kennedy Meadows
or Leavitt Lake
1) From the Leavitt Meadows trailhead, follow the West Walker River trail south until you reach the Cascade Creek trail. Follow the Cascade Creek trail until it joins the PCT. Stay on the PCT until you get to the signed junction of the Bond Pass Trail. Head west until you reach Bond Pass.
2) From Kennedy Meadows, follow the Huckleberry Trail past Relief Reservoir, then take the trail split to Brown Bear Pass. Continue on this trail all the way to Bond Pass. (18.5 miles total)
3) From the Leavitt Lake trailhead, follow the Leavitt Pass trail south, up and over Big Sam, for 10 miles until you reach Emigrant Pass. Take the trail split to the south. Near Grizzly Meadow, you can take 1 of 2 routes that lead to Bond Pass. The Bond Pass High trial is a bit more scenic. Or you can take the trail that borders Summit Meadow. (13.5 miles total)
Free wilderness permits are required for overnight stays in both the Emigrant Wilderness Area
and Yosemite National Park
Call the Summit ranger station at (209) 965-3434 near Pinecrest ahead of time and they will prepare a permit for you in advance, or the Bridgeport Ranger Station at 760-932-7070 if traveling from the east.
Bear cannisters are required by federal law in most areas of Yosemite National Park.
However, they are not
currently required in the Emigrant Wilderness Area.
When To Climb
The climbing season varys each year depending on how much snow the area receives during the winter months. Hwy 108 closes during the winter, making winter access more difficult. So typically the most popular time to climb the mountain is from June through October.
There is excellent camping available on the northern and western shores of Snow Lake
and also at Dorothy Lake
. Both lakes offer excellent fishing for large Rainbow trout.
Call the Summit ranger station for current conditions. They can be reached at (209) 965-3434.
The following links provide additional information on local conditions.
Hwy 108 road conditions
of the Stansislaus National Forest.
This peak is described in Ben Schifrin's guidebook on the Emigrant Wilderness, as well as the USFS map that come with the book (printed by Wilderness Press). The name is descriptive of the metamorphic rock of which the peak is comprised. It is not to be confused with the better known Quartzite Peak at the north end of Clark's Canyon in Yosemite.