Tip for heading South on the connecting ridge: the trail hugs the ridge and heads for the sketchy towers called the Rabbits. If you don't want to do them, leave the ridge early. There is a long slash of a ridge heading down into Frenchman Creek basin, and it will block your way, offering you unpleasant rocky footing and steep, loose scree. You can't see this ridge from the Harvard side till you're on it. If you want to avoid it, head down the grassy slopes, which will feel early.
This double is a long hard hike, especially doing Harvard first. The descent from Columbia is a down climb on braided trails of skree. If I ever do this again it will be an ascent of Columbia and a descent on the "stairs" from Harvard. Someone has done some "serious" work on the Harvard trail. It's great!
A lot of snow still on the upper slopes below the ridge. Downclimbing this mountain sucks. Lots of loose scree. Found a snow chute to glissade though, which was nice. Would recommend this when its still somewhat snow covered to avoid the scree. 14er #20.
One of my first 14'er climbs, Loved every minute of it.
Did the traverse from Harvard. The descent route was nothing more than a scree chute with an 1800 vertical foot drop that ended in a boulder and talus field. Lovely.
Struggled through much snow below treeline in my terrible snowshoes. Quite the talus slog to this summit, but since it was early season I had the mountain to myself. Great views of still snowy peaks before all the melt-off of summer. This was special too, because it was my last Sawatch 14er.
Harvard - piece of cake. Class 3-4 ridge traverse, took a while but fun, Chad LOVED it. Columbia - gave it all I had to get up it after the ridge...descent - a screeful mess in the rain! (My only savior was a stack of cookies I had saved from lunch) This area is really pretty, but this one is on the "never again" list.
Round tripped Harvard & Columbia via Horn Fork basin in about 8 hours. That connecting ridge is interesting.
I camped overnight with the sister & husband and girlfriend at some good spots across the creek. The next morning, I was the only one to bother to summit. Everyone went up to the lake and I bushwacked up a rockfall and cut to gain the east ridge and an easy walk to the summit.
A great day. I was the only one up there!
This traverse took a while, probably because we made such an effort to stay as high as we could on the ridge. It seems that easier passage could be found if one drops a bit lower than suggested in the guide books. In July, we found boulders and snow slowing us a bit near our low point. Also, if traversing high as we did, I would be consious of rock fall. That ridge looks loose.
The mountain of rolling ridges surrounded by rolling ridges and valleys yet connected to Harvard by a serrated edge. Pseudo storms rolled in on Columbia and I decided to descend. Of course by treeline they'd cleared. The real climbers would've turned around and climbed back over to Harvard. Alas, I chose a creekside nap.
A grueling 12 hour day covering 16 miles and over 6,000 feet of elevation gain. It was all worth it though because I made it to the top of both peaks in the same day. The day started with rain and sleet, but eventually became just cloudy. Very lucky that I was able to spend all day out there without the threat of storms.
Met only 2 other hikers on Columbia, and I had Harvard all to myself. I descended into the basin northeast of Columbia and then climbed up Harvard's SE ridgeline. Left trailhead at 6:30 am (late), summited Columbia around 11:30 am, left for Harvard around noon, and summited Harvard around 3:30 pm and returned to the trailhead around 6:30 pm.
Saw a whole herd of mountain goats in Horn Fork Basin above Bear Lake. At least 30 of them.
Summited w/ sp'er ahansen54 and our father. Set up high camp at 11,600 in Horn Fork Basin. Summitted Harvard early in the morning -- foggy morning so not much for views. Then followed the long long ridge to Columbia. I recommend dropping all the way down to the marsh at 12,500 (Roach's book says 12,800) if loose rock isn't your thang. From there you'll be able to stroll up the grassy slopes until you hit the section of rock near the summit. The standard trail down columbia is full of scree. Surfs up dude!
5.6 hours roundtrip.
Ended up dropping down into the basin rather than trying to find a route below the ridgeline. The trail down from Columbia was pretty hellish. Summitted with SP'er jhansen007.
After summiting Harvard, we headed DOWN 2,000 feet into the basin on the flipside of Horn Creek basin (to 12,500) then started the boulder/scree hop to the top of Columbia- lots of work, but worth it and fun:-) The climb off of Columbia was interesting- 2,500 vertical feet of scree where every step you took you "took the mountain down with you" ...seriously. A good fun day in all!
I climbed back down from Mt Harvard summit back to tree line, found the trail and then proceeded to climb to the Mt Columbia summit while storms raged all-around yet Mt Columbia stayed clear. I reached the summit at 12:41PM stayed about 15 mins and then back down to the TH by 3:22 completing my 11 hour "marathon",. My 19th & 20th 14'ers and and awesome day. Sweet!!
Is there a trail between Harvard and Columbia? If there is, I sure had trouble finding it.
12/22/12- winter 2012 kickoff, a rough snowshoe to treeline, then a nice cruise to 13,000'. up high the wind was pounding me all the way to the summit. 12.5 hrs RT.
7/1/03- 1st 14er! car broke down in Buena Vista the night before so we decided to climb "that mountain there". started from town at 4am, couldn't find a trailhead on foot so we decided to climb straight up the mountain. an interesting way to start nonetheless.
Climbed in combo with Harvard.