Mountain Project Logo

Holiday Weekend, Is Wet Quartzite Safe To Climb?

Original Post
Clint White aka Faulted Geologist · · Lawrence, KS · Joined Jan 2015 · Points: 158

 How does quartzite hold up after rainy days?  Per the wiki on quartzite, it is fully metamorphosed to the point "that it will fracture and break across grain boundaries, not around them."  Can any of the local crew weigh in on local practices, as well as others who have experience with this rock?

We need to escape KC this weekend, have the kids, and wanted some climbs.  Devil's Lake has been on the list for a while.  The storms rolling in have eliminated Arkansas and Missouri sandstone.  Colorado has 100% rain forecast on Saturday.  I looked up Devil's Lake and saw some 50% chances. 

Also may be down for some BMX races - the reason I haven't posted here in a long time (greasy fingers from all the builds).



FosterK · · Edmonton, AB · Joined Nov 2012 · Points: 43

Wet quartzite is usually turns a climb into a skating rink and not recommended.

Jason Todd · · Cody, WY · Joined Apr 2012 · Points: 1,119

I'd venture to guess wet quartzite would be pretty slippery.

Clint White aka Faulted Geologist · · Lawrence, KS · Joined Jan 2015 · Points: 158

I need to clarify, I suppose...  Safe for the rock, not for the climber (kinda both if holds start falling).  

Sandstone becomes weak when it is wet, so it is suggested that one not climb on it for a couple days after some serious rain.  Another geologist figured the water inside the crystalline structure expands it, causing the weakness.  Since quartzite is metamorphic I thought it would be more like a granite where it is still strong later in the day; so long as the rock is dry, climbing is on.  South-facing climbs should dry pretty quickly.  We just wanted to tread lightly in our neighbor's playground.

Andrew Vinzant · · Unknown Hometown · Joined Dec 2014 · Points: 373

I'm in the same boat this weekend. Oklahoma has killer weather if you haven't checked out Wichita Wildlife Refuge. I'm opting for a Sunday/Monday Missouri climbing session after the rain leaves.

Allen Sanderson · · Oootah · Joined Jul 2007 · Points: 1,145

Quartzite is brittle, I worry more about freeze thaw cycles. Though when wet the term slick as snot comes to mind.

Clint White aka Faulted Geologist · · Lawrence, KS · Joined Jan 2015 · Points: 158

I suppose we are going with Game On!  Still undecided between Colorado and Wisconsin.  Any BMX families up north or out west?

Guideline #1: Don't be a jerk.

Post a Reply to "Holiday Weekend, Is Wet Quartzite Safe To Climb?"
in the Wyoming, Montana, Dakotas

Log In to Reply