Wichita Mountains Climbers Coalition
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Quartz Mountain Nature Park
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Quartz History

Baldy Point, or "Quartz" as it referred to by the local climbing community, has been attracting dedicated climbers to southwest Oklahoma for more than thirty years to hone their skills and test their nerves on its fabulous granite and legendary routes. Located twenty miles north of Altus at Quartz Mountain Nature Park, Baldy Point rises three hundred feet from the prairie at the far western end of the Wichita Mountain range. The nearly half-mile long south face hosts what is undoubtedly the greatest collection of one and two pitch, technical friction climbs in this region of the country. Routes like Bourbon Street (5.8), S-Wall (5.9), Last of the Good Guys (5.10), Amazon Woman (5.10) and Chicago Bound (5.11) are just a few of the celebrated classics. The quality of the rock and style of climbing are so fine that Doug Robinson once referred to Quartz as the "Tuolumne of the Midwest", an honorable comparison to the climbing found in Tuolumne Meadows in Yosemite National Park.

The earliest ascents at Quartz took place in the late 1960's and early 1970's, and were limited to the easier crack lines, such as Hobbit (5.7) and South Pacific (5.8). Free climbing was just coming of age then, and the techniques and tools for ascending Quartz's steep, featureless walls had not yet made it to Oklahoma. But all of that changed in the late 1970's, when a young group of talented climbers from around the state descended on Quartz for what was to become the "Golden Age" of Oklahoma climbing. During the five-year period from 1978 to 1982, the majority of Quartz's most difficult and classic lines were established in a purist style that involved only the highest standards of free climbing, ground-up first ascents, and a bare minimum of fixed anchors. The results were some of the finest and boldest face climbs in the Midwest. Today, those lines remain in their original style, as the local climbing community has chosen to preserve Quartz's historic values and honored traditions.

Since technical climbing began at Quartz in the early 1970's, the property was privately owned by Ted and Margaret Johnson, who graciously allowed the climbing community access to the mountain. Over the years, Ted's initial curiosity with the sport grew to become a serious armchair interest. In later years, it wasn't uncommon for Ted to show up at the parking area at the end of the day to hear about a new route or an epic ascent. When Ted passed away in 1993, many in the climbing community began to worry about what might become of Quartz when Margaret was no longer around. Those concerns became a reality in 2000 when it was learned that the Johnson's property was to be sold in order to provide for Margaret's health care needs.

Following the discovery that a local developer had purchased part of the Johnson property just east of Quartz, the Wichita Mountains Climbers Coalition and the Access Fund began an immediate effort to save Baldy Point. Thankfully, Ted and Margaret's daughter understood how much the Baldy Point property and climbing had meant to her parents, and quickly committed to work with the two organizations to find a way to preserve the area. At the same time, the Oklahoma Tourism and Recreation Department began to express their interest in acquiring Quartz, to protect both its climbing resources and natural environment.

On March 30, 2001, following more than a year of negotiations and fundraising, the Access Fund and Wichita Mountains Climbers Coalition finalized the purchase of the Baldy Point. The property was immediately donated to the State of Oklaoma, and one month later on May 5, 2001, Baldy Point was officially dedicated as part of Quartz Mountain State Park.

On January 1, 2002, Quartz Mountain State Park, including Baldy Point, became Quartz Mountain Nature Park. At that time, management of the park was transferred from the Oklahoma Tourism and Recreation Department to the Oklahoma State Regents for Higher Education.

 

 
Dedicated to protecting the climbing resources and natural environment of the Wichita Mountains