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Boulder Quartz System

5.12a, Sport, 75 ft,  Avg: 3.1 from 104 votes
FA: Vaino Kodas & Bob D'Antonio
Colorado > Boulder > Boulder Canyon > Lower Dream Canyon > Plotinus Wall > Right Side
Access Issue: Closure Details
Access Issue: Access now open Details
Access Issue: Seasonal Closure / Update Details


Start twenty-five feet right of Lucid Dreaming on the Plotinus Wall at a overhanging quartz-filled corner.

This is the Boulder Quartz System. Clip the first bolt and climb up nice moves on large quartz holds. After the the fifth bolt make hard moves up and right into a overhanging corner.

Strenuous moves leads to the anchor.



Eight bolts to a two-bolt anchor.

Photos [Hide ALL Photos]

On the top of BQS.
Awesome photo credit to Vince Nett.
[Hide Photo] On the top of BQS. Awesome photo credit to Vince Nett.
Plotinus Wall, middle.
[Hide Photo] Plotinus Wall, middle.
Plotinus Wall, right side.
[Hide Photo] Plotinus Wall, right side.
mid crux
[Hide Photo] mid crux
Tony leading Boulder Quartz System.
[Hide Photo] Tony leading Boulder Quartz System.

Comments [Hide ALL Comments]

[Hide Comment] I'm surprised this route doesn't get more raves. I thought it was excellent! The diagonal traverse up the quartz dike is unique in the canyon, and the crux is very interesting. Hint: It seemed easier to me to start the crux up and right, then move back left. Jul 10, 2003
Tony B
Around Boulder, CO
[Hide Comment] Good climb. As Dougald said, this climb seems to be unique in the area. I've personally never climbed anything like it. nickle to fist-sized chunks of quartz litter the ground below, and the system in and of itself is going through a diagonal swath of quartz 6 feet wide. Somewhat of a surprise that the miners didin't get into that years ago, as quartz bands are usually co-located with sought-after minerals and metals...
A few small quartz flakes blew out under my feet, and under the feet of Peter, who followed it. Nothing large or dangerous, and nothing that caused a fall. The climb is still cleaning up and it will take some time, but the significant holds are pretty solid already. That said, the route is fun. The crux comes when you step out of the quartz onto the granite underclings, then up and over. The feet are hard to find and the moves extended enough to be a gut-buster. The 'crux move' is a "a hold must have broke off" move now, although that made the climb easier, not harder. On my ascent I tried to pinch a little flake under the sloping undercling -- it moved significantly (nice fall produced). I went back up to it and removed it completely with a simple pull. The crux hold is actually now more secure/square.

I have to give it an extra star for the overall oddity. The moves alone are 3-star, but the climb goes into a bonus round for the rock.

Easier now that the crux hold changed. Jul 21, 2003
Joe Collins
[Hide Comment] An instant classic! Sep 11, 2003
[Hide Comment] I found the clip right after getting out of the quartz to be really difficult and tenuous. Maybe I was clipping from the wrong stance, but it just seemed like there was one good edge off to the left you use to get out of the crack, and then a dicey stance to clip from... It'll go soon (I hate having to always say that :) Nov 15, 2004
Chris Archer
[Hide Comment] Thoughtful and pumpy climbing up a unique geologic feature. Jun 6, 2005
Adam Brink
on the road
[Hide Comment] Wow! What a cool feature! Felt more like mid 11 than 12a. All very easy climbing to a couple 5.11 moves. This felt miles easier than other 12a classics like Grand Inquisitor and Arms Bazaar. Jan 2, 2007
[Hide Comment] What can I say... A Boulder Canyon personal classic. Great moves over a beautiful stream in a nice setting - what more could a bolt clipper ask for. Bah. Started climbing at Lower Dream last year and always wanted to get the Quartz System without falling. Today was the day. Mar 19, 2008
Paul Hunnicutt
Boulder, CO
[Hide Comment] Finally a repoint!!! Couldn't even do the moves last fall.

One guy in our party knocked some very large crystals down, so be careful here belaying or sitting under someone climbing.

For me, this is 5.9/5.10 climbing to a long, "The Spot Bouldering Gym" like problem. Powerful, fun climbing. All the falls at the crux are clean...believe me I've tested them all. May 29, 2008
Curt MacNeill
Boulder, CO
[Hide Comment] Having ticked pretty much all routes at Plotinus Wall, this is the one of the last that I did today. Very interesting and easy climbing all the way up to the crux. You can get a good rest right before the crux and the first half of the route in the quartz-filled corner can be made significantly easier if you get creative with the stemming and liebacking. The crux has some funky high undercling moves that felt a bit desperate, but fun and well bolted. I used a hold out right and did a gaston to reach the undercling easier. I completely missed this hold my first time on the route but felt significantly easier the second time when I found it. Overall, a great route. As other people have said, it's gonna take some time to clean up since it's fairly new. Some of the quartz foot holds seem rotten and I had a buddy bring down a fairly large-sized block in the last month or so. So, be careful on the belay! Enjoy.... Apr 23, 2011
Mark E Dixon
Sprezzatura, Someday
[Hide Comment] I managed two unlikely tasks- somehow climbing past the crux bolt, mandating a sketchy reach down and left to clip, and then getting the rope stuck when I pulled it down! Neither recommended.
Nevertheless a fascinating geological feature, a must climb for that reason alone. Apr 17, 2012

[Hide Comment] What a neat route. The climbing on this is really fun, the quartz cubes are unique. Very well-protected and the moves flow nicely. After getting through the first part of the crux, I thought it was in the bag, but it keeps a consistent level of difficulty for a bit. I could see 11d or 12a either way without too much argument. Might be easier on a cool dry day. Highly recommended.

Easiest way to get your draws back is to TR it and clean on the way up. I tried to grab them on the way down, but the route is steep and traverses a fair amount. Aug 1, 2012
Eric Thomas
[Hide Comment] The last good right sidepull (right before the real business), feels like it's gonna break -- it doesn't move, but I could hear/feel this thing feeling like it's ready to blow.

It would suck if this hold broke, because it could not only make this climb much harder, but worse is that the bolt at the bottom for your belayer to tie into would be right in the line of fire.

Basically, I would recommend not belaying off the convenience bolt or at the very least protect your noggin'.

Anyways, this climb rules, have fun! Mar 13, 2016
Mark Rolofson
Boulder, CO
[Hide Comment] This climb has been one of my favorites, having climbed it many times. The amazing quartz system followed by steep climbing through a strenuous bulge offers some of the best climbing in Lower Dream Canyon.

I just repeated it & didn't find a loose sidepull. I am assuming Eric is talking about the good lieback hold in the shallow crack system that you clip the 5th bolt from. At this point, there are two ways to go. I go left to a flat edge then up to the undercling flake. It also goes up slightly right & then underclings back left.

As for the belayer, don't tie in with a daisy chain to the belay bolt. I tie in to the belay bolt with the end of the rope & 8-10 feet of slack, so I can stand directly below the 1st protection bolt. This way you are out of the line of fire should anything break. Apr 10, 2016