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Mount Columbia Climber's Log

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Old IckabodRoute Climbed: Harvard and Columbia Traverse Date Climbed: July 2003  Sucess!

Old Ickabod

I was able to summit both of these peaks in a day. The hike toward bear lake was gorgeous and I did see a bearprint on the trail. A nice hike to the summit of Harvard. The traverse to Columbia is much farther than it looks. However, it is a lot of fun! The scrambling up to Columbia's Summit was boulder-riffic!
Posted Mar 28, 2005 8:50 pm

ColoradoScottRoute Climbed: West Slopes Date Climbed: September 14, 1985  Sucess!


It is a beautiful trail hike into Horn Fork Basin; well worth it for the fun, even without the climb. After reaching timberline in the basin we angled up to the northeast, encountering much scree on this route. Two steps forward, one step back. It felt like 6,000 ft elevation gain, probably because it was. Once the south ridge is attained, it's a simple hike to the true summit. This was another memorable climb from the standpoint of seeing no one else all day. Try that on a nice weekend now! I guess there will still be solitude on 13ers though...alas.
Posted Feb 4, 2005 11:54 am

NatashaRoute Climbed: Harvard-Columbia via Hornfork Basin Date Climbed: July 4, 2004  Sucess!


Had a great day, first time spending this much time on a class 3 section...it was tough, but we really enjoyed it. The scree coming down from Columbia leaves MUCH to be desired and seemed endless. Some unsolicited advice, bring ankle gaitors. Surprisingly, we didn't run into that many people doing Harvard, especially for a holiday weekend. We didn't see anyone on Columbia...very peaceful.
Posted Oct 14, 2004 11:18 pm

mr_gRoute Climbed: West Slopes Date Climbed: June 23, 2001  Sucess!


A short climb, relatively speaking, although it was steep until we reached the ridge. Trekking poles came in handy for this one.

Posted Oct 12, 2004 8:52 am

jrfRoute Climbed: East Slopes / Three Elk Creek Date Climbed: September 11, 2004  Sucess!


After what I've heard about the standard route I decided to give this route a shot. This route is long and feels even longer once you get down. The bonus is that this hike is gorgeous and you likely won't see anyone else until the summit.

The false summits on the ridge get kind of depressing but if you tough it out you'll get there. You can't even see the actual summit until about 10 feet from it.

The skeleton forest to get up to the ridge crest is awesome.
Posted Sep 13, 2004 8:16 pm

ZekeRoute Climbed: Standard Date Climbed: Aug 28, 2004  Sucess!


Great day, blue skies and a wonderful and easy climb with good friends. took us 9 hours car to car and we took our time, and also enjoyed the summit for about 30mins.
Posted Sep 4, 2004 11:58 pm

bdewoodyRoute Climbed: West slope Date Climbed: August 14, 2004  Sucess!


After searching around for trails that looked like they may head to the summit I found what was most likely an animal trail. It went straight up the large scree gully on the west slope. I stuck to the larger rocks as much as possible and made the summit in good time.
Posted Aug 21, 2004 12:28 am

Larry VRoute Climbed: Harvrd-Columbia combination from Horn Fork Basin Date Climbed: Aug 1983, July 1998  Sucess!

Larry V

Climbed with Dad the first time, Aaron and Luke the second time. Got wet both times. Descended in the dark and the rain the first time, after wasting precious time off route. Encoutered the buzzing of electricity in the air near the summit, following hail on Harvard.
Posted Aug 14, 2004 6:52 pm

SaintgrizzlyRoute Climbed: Frenchman Creek Date Climbed: Summer, 199?  Sucess!


Columbia is one of the easier of the Sawatch, and in many respects one of the most rewarding. I climbed it by myself, on a beautiful day, and was quite taken with the terrain gradually unfolding during the trek upward. For some reason, maybe the gentle tundra leading up to the summit, maybe the lack of any kind of "extreme" steepness on the route, or possibly just the nice weather, the word that kept running through my mind then, and--years later--now, is "gentle." I think Columbia a quite personable, gentle mountain. (Beautiful view of Harvard, too, and--if one so chooses--the traverse between.) On this almost perfect day Columbia combined all the elements to offer one of the best of reasons we go into the mountains. I like it's personality!

Then, a unique thing happened on the way down: there was a pack of coyotes in the brush on the other side of the canyon, and when they all started yapping and howling at once, the noise by itself would have been impressive, but that, coupled with the echoing across the canyon, gave an impression of a substantial number of the critters on the loose. Never saw hide nor hair of even a single coyote, but their caterwauling and carrying on gave me goose bumps, it did--just the mountains and the sound of animals gleefully doing their thing. A very nice day!

Posted Jul 31, 2004 4:36 pm

DaveCRoute Climbed: se slopes Date Climbed: june 99  Sucess!


i didn't think this was nearly as bad a route as its reputation. had to run for it, though, as clouds were rolling. camped in horn fork basin.
Posted May 20, 2004 9:21 pm

RyanSRoute Climbed: West Slopes Date Climbed: August 19, 2002  Sucess!


This is my least favorite route on a 14er. A trip report is available here.
Posted Apr 12, 2004 12:09 pm

hhsilleckRoute Climbed: off route from Harvard Date Climbed: July 2002  Sucess!


Climbed Harvard and decided the connecting ridge looked unpleasant to traverse solo, so I decided to descend into the Three Elk Creek drainage. This made for a long day (7000+ vertical feet) - bring lots of water.
Posted Jan 10, 2004 7:17 pm

GrantRoute Climbed: West Slopes Date Climbed: June 14, 2003  Sucess!


Alan Ellis, had an idea of having the first annual SP campout at the Twin Lakes CG. I decided to go and nine of the Sp members went to it including me. It was a lot of fun and I met some excellent people. The group was going to hike Elbert and Massive during the event, but I have already done both of them and passed on Elbert for Columbia and La Plata for Massive. I attempted this peak last year and didn’t make it due to my dog, Amanda. So I knew the route and the steepness involved on getting to the top. After hiking up the very steep 1,800 foot slope I reached the ridge at 13,600 feet. From here it was a fun ridge walk to the summit. Columbia has surprisingly good views from its summit, some of the best of the Sawatch Range, although I never want to do it again from this route.
Posted Dec 18, 2003 12:58 am

JonBradfordRoute Climbed: East Ridge Date Climbed: November 2001  Sucess!


I have trouble saying I made this summits as I neared the final 20 feet a lightining bolt cracked to the west. I ran downhill with my dog Sopris. I don't know if I can take credit fo summiting. I was aweful close. Whatever the case I will probably go back to linger where I had previously ran away.

Posted Dec 13, 2003 8:04 pm

NelsonRoute Climbed: South facing slopes (standard?) Date Climbed: September, 1995  Sucess!


A perfect fall day. I don't remeber the loose talus that other log entries discuss. Seems to me like it was mostly a nice tundra walk, with many rocks to step on, leave no trace. But don't rely on my memory! We did not do Harvard that day.
Posted Oct 20, 2003 8:29 am

miztflipRoute Climbed: West Slopes Date Climbed: September 17, 2003  Sucess!


Ugh!! Climbed this in conjunction with Harvard the "Hard Way". Left N. Cottonwood TH at 3:30am. Due to the weather I did not do the traverse after Harvard, instead I returned to 11600ft in Horn Fork and climbed Columbia's West Slopes. This added over 3 miles and 1100ft to the normal link-up. I thought is would be fun to continue straight up which was a big mistake. I found myself and rotten 3rd and 4th class rock near the ridge. Winds were gusting to 60mph making the ridge traverse to the summit tough. Made it back to the car at 11:15am.
Posted Sep 18, 2003 9:16 pm

dpRoute Climbed: W slopes via N Cottonwood trailhead Date Climbed: July 21, 2002  Sucess!


A long scree-laden trek from just above treeline to the summit ridge. Not nearly as much fun as Harvard (perhaps that goes for the universities as well!) It is easy to lose the route and end up on lots of loose scree and talus on the way up; we found the trail easier to follow on the descent. Although the ascent route that we took worked out just fine we found that the trail to the south of our ascent route appeared easier.
Posted Aug 31, 2003 1:08 am

SpeedyRoute Climbed: Rabbit Ridge from Harvard Date Climbed: July 12, 2003  Sucess!


Yikes. Everything Bryan said below is true. It was a lot longer than we thought! I'm always proud of us, though, and how we stick it out. I guess we didn't have a LOT of a choice, though. We could either make it to Columbia and head back down or go BACK to Harvard, which would be as hard, if not harder. So we kept on truckin! I thought the ride down from Columbia was pretty crummy, but I didn't think it was ridiculous. I kind of like sliding down scree. I know I would NOT want to go UP that route! There was a guy with his dog going down with us. The poor dog was NOT happy and his owner had to carry him down half the scree. I felt bad for both of them! I guess I learned that if I bring a dog up a mountain, I should avoid scree-filled slopes! We were hoping to hike out that night but it was getting really late, and it was fun to camp there again anyhow! Can't wait til our next trip to CO so I can add on to my 9 fourteeners!
Posted Jul 23, 2003 12:44 am

Bryan WRoute Climbed: Rabbit Ridge Traverse from Harvard Date Climbed: 7/12/03  Sucess!

Bryan W

After making Harvard in just over 3 hours, I was feeling pretty good and wanted to go for Columbia. We started out by following 3 groups. As it turned out, it was like the blind following the blind. The trail was pretty good as it traversed the rabbit ridge. However, a little over half way there the trail ended. You could either start rock climbing the ridge or drop down the scree. We dropped down the steep scree and then had to do some serious boulder hopping. I mean some of these were the size of a car. From there we could head back up the boulders and snow fields, but we chose to head east and intercept the Frenchman Creek route. Not much of a trail there, but we did make the summit some 5 hours after leaving Harvard. Spent just a few minutes on the summit and started heading for the descent route into the Horn Fork basin. The west slopes on Columbia are terrible steep scree and there is no avoiding it. So, I followed the ridge to about 13,700' and then scree surfed all the way to about 12,000'. What a terrible route, I would do Columbia from any other route than this one. Finally, made it back to camp 12 hours later. No packing out tonight....decided to spend one more night at camp.
Posted Jul 16, 2003 1:06 pm

big_glow traverse from Harvard  Sucess!
Date Climbed: Jul 9, 2003


I traversed over from Harvard. Well, traverse is the wrong word. I climbed down into the upper basin and climbed Columbia from there. I bit lower than I wanted to go at 12,500. Eventually, I made the summit. The hike back down into Horn Fork Basin was terrible loose dirt and scree. Not recommended. If you want to bag Harvard and Columbia I suggest doing them from Frenchman Creek.
Posted Jul 11, 2003 6:51 pm

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