Closed out the Collegiates (and Sawatch range 14ers) with a successful ascent/descent of Colubmia via the steep SE ridge. Interesting way to go, especially if you don't require the security of a marked trail. Scattered cairns provide confirmation that someone else was there before you, but do little to keep you on the "trail." If you decide to go this way, just aim for the ridge and negotiate each "obstacle" as it comes up - as long as you're on the ridge, you can't go wrong! GPS claimed we did 11.8m miles and 6100 ft elev gain (not sure how reliable it is). Clear, sunny skies but quite windy - beautiful day overall.
Started at Harvard Lakes trailhead to grab the SE ridgeline trail (no snow) all the way up. A 5.5hr ascent and 3.5hr descent on solid-rock (no scree). Sky on both sides of trail with the occasional skirting around high rock piles. Summit was nicer than expected, out of wind, and with aerial view of Harvard's basin.
Climbed Harvard's standard from Horn Fork Basin, and then traversed to Columbia (17 miles RT), which was a fun route. The early evening descent down the ultra-loose face into the basin was definitely not fun, but it was a rewarding day nonetheless.
Harvard was a pleasure, the traverse was fun, but the West Slopes "trail" coming down Columbia sucked. Worst trail I've seen on a 14er by far - I can't believe it's the standard route. There were people all over the side of the mountain looking for it, and once we did find it, it was thin and steep with bad erosion. Expect to fall on your ass half a dozen times. Honestly, do Harvard and skip Columbia unless you are determined to do all the 14ers.
After Harvard the prior day, Columbia seemed like a job. Won't be going back any time soon.
probably shouldn't have... lessons learned...
Nice day out! upper part of the Standard route was not very pleseant
Was planning on continuing on to Harvard. Columbia's east ridge took a little longer than anticipated and I ran out of time.
With Katie and Megan, both 11. Camped in Horn Fork Basin. Great conditions.
This was a long day of hiking after Harvard the day before. Scree slope was relentles. Again, a storm formed at around the time we were about to leave the summit.
Oh, holy shit, the southeast ridge is a beautiful route! Descent mileage (over 12 miles) and lotsa ups and downs made for a pretty long day. Beautiful weather, incredibly aesthetic route!
Beautiful hike day originating from the trail along the still gushing Three Elk Creek (East approach). Third summit of Mt. Columbia and this time hiked the entire crest of the bowl - NE to Summit and around to SE (no trail after you pass the Cottonwood Creek trail connection (SW side). Big horn, marmots and coyote sighted. Long and challenging, but gorgeous tour, rare to see other hikers - no one on a Summer Saturday!
did harvard first, then columbia as a twofer.
5th 14er this year.
What a long ridge! Lots of breaking trail as well.
14 hours car-to-car from the Harvard Lakes TH
Just Climbed Columbia from North Cottonwood Creek. Steep climb up to the summit. on the way down, took a nasty fall, but was okay. Several Storms missed us and rained to our south.
Second ascent, solo via Frenchman Creek with PT 13374 and Harvard. Snow covered boulders below the "rabbits" were a bit tedious, but otherwise not a bad tour of the Frenchman Creek drainage on a nice fall day.
Mt Columbia from North Cottonwood Trailhead
A never ending heap of talus best hiked in firm snow. Took 2 tries to summit out of the sheer monotony of the long east ridge.
I went up Columbia after summitting Harvard and Princeton the two previous days and made it to the summit in 3 hrs & 40 min from N. Cottonwood, the weather turned cloudy, chilly and blustery as I hit the summit ridge. I never saw anyone else on Columbia that day. The descent was very fast on the steep slopes.
This was my last 14er to climb in the Sawatch. It was a nice, long hike which was worth while.