My first 14er was Harvard. Glad finally to get back to Horn Fork Basin then past all that scree! Played tag with a mountain goat from 13K to summit.
Today I soloed 14,073 foot Mount Columbia via the West Slopes route. I started around 5 AM from the North Cottonwood Creek Trail head just a few miles out of Buena Vista. The sun was just starting to rise when I hit the trail. I continued along for 1.5 miles to a bridge and trail junction. I continued on towards Horn Fork Basin on a good trail. After a few more miles and stream crossings I reached tree line and split off the trail towards Mount Columbia. The views of Mount Yale and Mount Harvard were great. I noticed a few more climbers ahead of me on the talus slope I had to ascend. This was a nightmare due to all the loose rock, making route finding difficult. I reached the group on the western slopes of Mount Columbia and chatted with them for a bit. I followed them up the rocky "trail" to the ridge. From the ridge, I still had a bit of a ways to go. Weather was clear so I was feeling confident. After a bit more effort the summit was in view. I made the summit around 9:30 AM. I didn't linger too long, as clouds were building around the summit. I made my way down the same way I came up. Steep, loose scree. I made it back to timberline at 11 AM. I followed the good trail back to the trail head, and made it back to my car by 12:30 PM. Around 4,250 ft of elevation gained over 7 1/2 hours and a total of 11.5 miles. Successful day!
On Sat Jan 17 we hiked up from Buena Vista to Horn Fork Basin via North Cottonwood (parked around 8500 as we didn't have chains and our 4WD had trouble going up the snow). Snowshoes are a must from North Cottonwood trailhead to the base. By our campsite there was nearly 3 ft of snow. Camped around 11500. Sunday, we went up Mount Columbia via West Slopes. Traverse from Columbia to Harvard was difficult, with much snow. The trail would be very hard to follow without GPS (cairns weren't easy to spot - we saw only a couple the entire way). We got to Mount Harvard by sunset and went down via South Slopes. We went up in microspikes, but I'd probably go with crampons if I had to do it over.
Via the west slope
Loved this mountain but Greg, Colette and I had summited Columbia first and come across the ridge to Harvard. The combination of the two is demanding, to put it lightly. Next time I think I will do them separately and enjoy them both a little more.
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.