Horn Fork Basin - West Flank

Horn Fork Basin - West Flank

Page Type Page Type: Route
Location Lat/Lon: 38.88168°N / 106.29925°W
Additional Information Route Type: Mountaineering
Seasons Season: Spring, Summer, Fall, Winter
Additional Information Time Required: Most of a day
Additional Information Rock Difficulty: Class 3
Sign the Climber's Log


This is a faster ascent route to get Mount Columbia
While this route is a pretty strait foreward climb to get Columbia it is not very well used yet the rock cairns you encounter show that you'r not the only person who has seen this direct climb and decided to give it a go.

My personal joy from this climb was the views, I encountered tons of little marmots, pika and views views views! The minute you leave tree line you have an awesome view to the north of Mount Harvard, to the south Yale and Princeton. Take a moment to soak it all in!


I have made every attempt to make this route accurate and give as much information as I could but really this is just a strait forward slog!

I've dialed in the Google Map to right where the trail begins up Mount Columbia

The west side to south ridge climb requires a bit of route finding if snow is present but is by no means an "epic" to acquire this route.
The beauty of this climb as I found out is that while many of the other routes in the area may be covered in snow and making for a long slog up to the summit of Mount Columbia. This particular route requires just a long slog up a wind blown scree gully to attain the South ridge

In Dawsons guide the route shows
10 Miles RT
11 Hours RT Time
4211' Elevation Gain

I did not take the same route back so i'm not certain of the milage and I Round Tripped in 7 hours flat including about 30 minutes for Summit Lunch

Getting There

From the about 3 miles in you will encounter a "T" in the trail near treeline, somewhere near 11,500' before the Horn Fork Basin into Mount Harvard and Columbia. Here you will break Right (east), cross a small drainage stream and you are right there.

Before leaving treeline of Horn Fork Basin

Route Description

From the "T" in the trail cross the drainage stream and pass behind (south) of the large rock outcrop south of the west face couloir and scramble up the boulder field to the bottom of the southern most gully.
once you've gotten you're bearings, there are a few short gullies on your right. climb any of these and with some small looking around you will begin to see Cairns and a somewhat beaten trail that will bring you over to the South ridge and eventually the summit.
The trail when I did it was enjoyable and offered a different perspective to the Horn Fork Basin with majestic views of Mount Princeton and Yale. Once onto the South ridge it offers unobstructed views of Mount Harvard

Essential Gear

Ankle supporting boots for crossing loose scree and a small boulder field



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