Type: Trad, 360 ft, 4 pitches
FA: unknown
Page Views: 2,138 total · 72/month
Shared By: John Gassel on Aug 12, 2016 with updates from Tyler Newcomb and 1 other
Admins: Luc-514, Kris Fiore

You & This Route

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This is the namesake route on this wall for good reason — a well deserved classic that comes with a sense of adventure. You'll also be the star of the show all day as tourists gawk up at you from the parking lot.

P1 (5.5, ~60'): Go straight up, past 2 bolts to a nice ledge with a new two bolt rap anchor. It's possible (and I recommend) combining this pitch with the next one.

P2 (5.7, 70'): Move left from the anchor and up an easy corner trending back right almost immediately. Near the end of the pitch, continue up steeper terrain past an old pin or two to another nice ledge and a bolted rap anchor.

P3 (5.8, 95'; 5.6R): Move left off the belay again to the obvious crack. Some tricky pro and 3 ancient pins to get started. You'll pass some white quartz through this section that gives the route its name. After 40', run it out over easier terrain to a right facing corner above and a little left (pretty obvious). There are currently some really old, terrible cord slung around a block in this corner. Don't use it. Continue up to a new two-bolt rap anchor just above, under the roof.

P4 (5.9, 100'): Don't skip this pitch. It's the money in my opinion. Traverse low and right until under a corner system and a terrible bolt that can be backed up with a very small cam. Move up from here, passing more ancient relics (and gear options that you should use) through the crux corner. Expect this to either be wet or mossy. Go all the way up this corner to under a roof. Don't traverse right too early. See
P4, traversing too early. Don't go this way! You're supposed to be up about 15 ft. higher into the corner above where this climber is, directly under the massive roof above. for what not to do! Once under the roof, move right to a good ledge and gear/tree anchor.

P4 Aid Variation / Quartz Crack Roof (5.9 C2, 90'): Probably the best aid climb in all of Vermont, this variation follows a thin seam in the roof that the traditional fourth pitch traverses underneath. Begin the same as P4, climbing up into the corner under the roof and traversing climber's right with hands just below the roof. When you reach a thin seam in the roof, marked by a crack that is flared left and a few pitons that may have been the belay for this pitch, begin directly back onto the roof. Follow that seam through to some smaller cam and possibly nut placements, clipping an old piton and button head, as well as a brand new bolt along the way. Use a combination of aid and free moves to come over the roof, set a gear anchor, and then bushwack straight back about 10 - 15 feet for a climbers trail for the rappel.

The aid pitch is incredibly exposed with about 300 feet of air directly beneath you, and is an incredible experience for anyone who aids (or just wants to do this awesome route).

Interesting to note that the P3 belay and entire climb of this pitch is totally protected from any time of rain the notch can throw at you, which can be a fun experience.

Descent: You can rap from any of the first 3 pitches easily. Once you top out, you'll have to hike climber's right on the Beduin Trail a bit to another rap route. It's a pretty obvious trail that may be marked with orange or pink tape. Find a trail skiers right which leads to a nice ledge with two anchors on it. The one closest to the edge will have rap rings. A single 60m rope will take you to the top of the first pitch of Flight of the Manatee and a second rap gets you to the ground a few hundred feet climber's right of the base of Quartz Crack.


Follow the approach for Quartz Crack Face. This climb is really easy to spot as it's the first clearing. Look up high for the massive roof above on the first pitch. There's also two bolts on the face right off the ground to let you know you're in the right spot.

If that's not enough, check out
The start of Quartz Crack of someone on the first pitch.


Standard trad rack should get this done based on your mileage at the grade. There are a number of fixed pins of questionable nature (
Some of the ancient pro on P4. ) along the route and a few bolts on the first pitch.

Quartz Crack Roof (C2 Aid)

A true Smuggs adventure if ever there were one.

From the Pitch 3 belay, traverse right and up the corner to the roof. From here, clean aid with small/medium sized gear and one old button head gets your through the biggest baddest roof in Smuggler's Notch. Be mindful, following is not much easier than leading and both leader and follower should have a strong head.
Kris Fiore
Burlington, VT
Kris Fiore   Burlington, VT  
I know the guidebook says the first pitch is 90 feet but it's really more like 40. It might be 50 but it's nowhere near 90. Aug 18, 2016
Zak Munro
VT,CO, Bar Harbor ME
Zak Munro   VT,CO, Bar Harbor ME
The amount of haggard pitons/cord/fixed gear on the route is hilarious. Pulling the corner bulge on the last pitch was sweet! Sep 4, 2016
John Gassel
Somerville, MA
John Gassel   Somerville, MA
KrisFiore, I definitely agree regarding the length of pitch 1. I've updated the route description accordingly. Sep 19, 2016
Greg VT
Greg VT   vermont
Has anyone aided the roof? I've been on Quartz Crack a bunch, but never remember to check it out. Tough Schist says there is a bolt somewhere as well. Feb 1, 2017
Derek Doucet  
Yes, the roof has been aided. Feb 2, 2017
Greg VT
Greg VT   vermont
I should have worded my question better. I know it has been aided. I was just looking to hear from someone that actually did it. Feb 3, 2017
Kris Fiore
Burlington, VT
Kris Fiore   Burlington, VT  
The only recent aid ascent I know of would be Nate Vince and Hope Chipman's last summer. Feb 3, 2017
Tyler Newcomb
Tyler Newcomb   Burlington
My partner and I aided the roof yesterday (8/15/18). The gear is pretty good, but the worst pieces are not in optimal places. It goes at C2, but it may be closer to C1.

There's a slightly undercammed 0.3 placement at the beginning of the roof that is a bit committing. It'll hold body weight, but it's shallow and undercammed so you wouldn't have a great time falling on it, you'd probably slam hard into the wall below. Once you get the second piece (I can't actually remember what it was), you're solid. There's also another buttonhead that holds body weight, but again probably would not hold a fall. There is also a bit of a reach at one point with no gear in between that made me stretch a lot as a 5 foot 9 person. Following is also nearly as difficult and intimidating as leading, and if your second froze on the roof pitch would make for a very difficult epic.

It's a great route that has incredible exposure and is pretty well protected, is tons of fun, and is bound to induce "Mommy look!" shouts from the parking lot. Aug 16, 2018