Follow Getting There directions to reach the North Cottonwood trailhead at 9,880 feet. From the trailhead cross to the south of North Cottonwood Creek on a good bridge a few yards from the trailhead. Continue on the trail for 1.5 miles to a junction just after the trail crosses the creek back to the north side. Stay right (north) at the junction and continue on the trail into Horn Fork Basin. The trail continues to treeline at 11,600 feet. Several great campsites exist just below treeline.
From treeline at 11,660 you can see Harvard at the north end of the basin. Mount Columbia's west slopes are to the right. The route is straightforward as it climbs into the basin and to Bear Lake. It is not necessary to go all the way to the lake. Stay right (east) of the lake and continue up to a basin just under Harvard's south slopes. Climb the western edge of these grassy slopes to reach the final boulders and Harvard's summit.
No special gear or equipment is required.
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