Yesterday Arne and I went to Quartz Mountain to climb. Quartz (also known as Baldy Point) is the one of several granite domes that rise 300 feet out of the wheat fields of southwestern Oklahoma.
Most of the routes at Quartz were established in the late 70’s and early 80’s by a hard-core group of climbers that believed in doing ground-up ascents using a bare minimum of fixed protection (bolts). As a result, the climbs tend to be bold (scary) with many receiving R (runout) and X (extreme runout) ratings. “Runout” refers to the distance between points of protection and it dictates how far you would fall if you slipped. An X rating means falling is not an option — the consequences would be ugly. Needless to say, I stay away from the X-rated climbs. But just about all of the climbs at Quartz involve some runout, so it’s as much a mental test as a physical one.
After a thick morning fog burned off, the sun came out and Arne and I climbed 6 or 7 routes and did a little exploration. It was a great day, but I wish we didn’t have to drive 4 hours each way to do it. Some day I’d like to live closer to the rock.