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|Conditions Information||Posted By||Posted On|
|2015-07-29||Route: Harvard and Columbia Traverse
Info: This was quite the hike! I consider myself in decent shape and had already climbed 13 peaks before climbing these two yesterday and it took my partner and I 12.5 hours!! MAKE SURE YOU PRINT OFF ALL THREE DIRECTIONS: Harvard: South Slopes, Harvard to Columbia: Traverse, and Columbia: West Slopes. To get the full details visit my blog at sunshineof1985.com. I‘m planning on climbing them all this summer and these two make it 14 and 15. *GEAR (to bring): GPS, extra socks, phone, SPOT Satellite Tracker, Map, hiking boots with 2 pairs of socks on, long-sleeve, wind-guard, light weight puffy coat (I didn‘t have to use it), Yak Traks, poles at your discretion (could help on such a long day), first aid kit, toilet paper, day pack with water (100 oz at least), food (2 cliff bars, 2 granola bars and trailsmix), sunscreen, lip balm. *Road Conditions: Minor potholes and a little rough in some parts, but a 2WD should have no problem making it to the trailhead. *Trail Conditions: A couple wet spots in trees, but shouldn‘t get your feet soaked.Luckily other hikers put clues on the forks you‘ll pass so you know which way to go. Little exposure. Do bring your Yak Traks if you‘re climbing both mountains as we ran into a lot of snow especially going to Columbia. It almost would be nice to have poles as well. There is a steep, very slippery, very long gully making your way to Columbia. Once you climb Columbia, the trail down is mostly the same: steep, slippery, very very long gully. I‘m glad we went the way we did (Harvard first).
|2015-07-11||Route: South Slopes
Info: The trail through the trees is still muddy in some spots but very manageable. If you reach treeline before sunrise make sure not to miss the stream crossing around 11,700‘ (based on route photos). Several groups on Saturday missed the crossing and got lost in the willows for a while. Only a few small snowfields to cross above 13,000‘.
|2015-07-03||Route: South Slopes
Info: Hiked the standard route as a day hike from the trailhead. Very wet (sloppy mud and standing water) once you get up in the Horn Fork Basin. Waterproof shoes and extra socks recommended. High creek crossing can now be done without searching for a way to keep your feet dry. Snowfields present on upper 1000 feet of route, which weren‘t an issue. Carried an axe and spikes, but never needed them. Easiest route on summit block (climber‘s right) was blocked by sketchy snow. Took the steeper route (climber‘s left), which was solid and fun. Storm clouds moved in unusually early, before 8 AM, but luckily blew away to the south, providing a successful summit for my group. Nearly turned back.
|2015-06-27||Route: Harvard and Columbia Traverse
Info: Did Columbia via the southeast ridge and traversed over to Harvard and descended into Horn Fork Basin for a full loop. Previous report for Columbia is pretty much identical (mostly dry until last bit on the ridge), so just updating for Harvard. Still a lot of snow low on the traverse, but you can avoid pretty much all of it the closer you stay on the ridge proper. Moves in general range low 3rd class up to 5th class on Rabbit Ridge proper depending on your routefinding. Still a lot of snow down Harvard‘s standard route. Can avoid a lot of it if you stay closer to the ridge
|2015-06-24||Route: South Slopes
Info: The last entry by BagginPeaks is pretty accurate. Wear waterproof boots (anklets or gaiters not a bad idea) and take poles. Microspikes or snowshoes aren‘t worth it. Starting somewhere near treeline you‘ll find the trail is a creek only too often. Big picture, there are two cruxes on the route currently. The first is crossing the creek once you emerge into the basin from treeline and the trail hits the creek. I also elected to bushwhack upstream until I could cross but ended up in willow hell and on some crappy snow banks (I probably went too far up before crossing). Consider just wading across at the normal point (idea: bring shoes for the purpose and leave them at the crossing for return). The second crux is getting from the "shoulder" at 13,000‘ up on to Harvard proper. You can either cross the snow in the basin (a direct beeline route) or you can climb the mostly snow-free, but rocky, ridge toward Point 13598. Following Baggin‘s advice, I chose the latter. If you choose the snow route it‘s a lottery--it may support your weight, it may go to your ankle, to your knee or to your hip. Going early will help, but not much with current temps up there (no real freezing going on). I watched three guys cross today at around 7-7:30a.m. and they seemed to do OK--did see one hip posthole though. If you take the ridge option you‘ll still have to cross a few short patches of mashed potatoes up high, but it‘s not too bad and the ridge up to Harvard is pretty cool. Oh, and...Through most of the basin itself you can avoid most, but not all, of the snow. P.S. Bring dry socks.
|2015-06-20||Route: South Slopes
Info: Wanted to try for the Couloir on Columbia but it is melted out already so I climbed Harvard Saturday (6/20) and it was a sloppy muddy wet mess most of the way. Trail through the forest is flowing water and super muddy, some patches of deep snow still, lots of post holing in the basin which is still fully covered with soft snow. Lots of wet slides on the S Face. Opted to go directly up the ridge toward point 13598 because traversing that slope along the standard route would have been sketchy due to loose wet snow. Once on the ridge it is straight forward, but still some post holing. Left TH at 5:30, summit at 11, snow was basically slush by then. Carried crampons and snowshoes but did not use either...extra weight for training purposes i guess
|2015-06-20||Route: South Slopes
Info: Climbed Mt. Harvard today and brought crampons and snowshoes - used neither. While there is still a good bit of snow, a lot can be avoided. I followed the summer trail to the shoulder of PT 13,588. From there I continued up the shoulder until I reached the connecting ridge to Harvard. This avoids the snowy south slopes and is a pretty easy route - just used trekking poles. I post holed some, but not enough to bother with snowshoes. The bigger challenge is the water from the melting snow. Much of the trail in the basin has a stream running down it. Also, the Horn Fork Creek is raging where the trail crosses it. I bushwhacked up along the creek until I found a safe place to cross. Added some photos: shoulder to PT 13,588, traverse from PT 13,588 to Mt. Harvard, traverse to Mt. Columbia
|2015-05-30||Route: Harvard and Columbia Traverse
Info: Snow covered the upper basin of Mt. Harvard. Lower South Ridge of Columbia had rock exposed.
|2015-03-21||Route: South Slopes
Info: After being out of commission for over two weeks due to a knee injury, I finally was able to get back out into the mountains on March 21. I had skied the south slopes of Mt. Harvard a few years ago, but didn‘t get an exact summit descent, so I headed back in hopes of skiing directly off the summit. I started the hike at winter road closure, 9000‘ elevation and 3 miles from the summer trailhead, at 8:27 a.m. The snow quickly softened in the morning but remained supportive throughout the day. The snow hasn‘t transitioned to spring corn yet, but was stable, supportive, and didn‘t become too wet in the afternoon. I took the standard route to the summit and summited in under 7 hours. I reached the summit at 3:17, and began the descent about 15 minutes later. I was able to ski directly off the summit (with my hand on the top of the highest bolder), down the east ridge and slightly down the north side, before crossing over to the S face at the notch in the ridge. I made it back to the car by 5:45, for a round trip of 9 hours 18 minutes. Here‘s a link to a short pov video of the S face descent https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wnkheckfvSU&feature=youtu.be
|2015-01-27||Route: South Slopes
Info: Road closed 3 miles below the TH. Nice trench cut from TH to the meadows, but from there it‘s mostly windblown. No snow on the summit for skiing, but the large face contains quite a bit, but it‘s all crusty.
|2014-10-31||Route: Harvard and Columbia Traverse
Info: Just the traverse here...lots of snow, snowshoes required if you don‘t want to spend 5 hours "postholing" like I did. Each step was done with the fear to fall much further down, invisible trail doesn‘t help either. Had to make another detour to a dry path after the "rabbit" to reach Columbia summit from the East as the standard trail was to deep of snow without snowshoes. Photo does not make it any justice.
|2014-10-31||Route: South Slopes
Info: The trail to Harvard is still dry all the way up. Few snowy patches here and there, a bit more snow sitting at the top but really noting significant. No need for microspikes
|2014-10-26||Route: South Face
Info: Hiked to the summit of Mt. Harvard on Sunday. It was very windy. The South Slopes are holding some snow and traction would be suggested. I used microspikes on two sections while going up, and I used them when going down. The snow starts in ernest at the flat basin above the bench that puts you at the base of the South Slopes. The final moves to reach the summit were snow free, but there is slick ice and snow on the actual summit area where you sit and look out at Belford, Oxford, Missouri, etc.
|2014-10-25||Route: Harvard and Columbia Traverse
Info: Conditions on Harvard and Columbia standard routes have already been posted, so will skip those. As for the traverse itself: long story short, do yourself a favor and don‘t do it in the shoulder season! The first part, from Harvard all the way through the descent to 12,800‘ was manageable, with only occasional pockets of deeper snow to negotiate. After that is when things get really interesting. The traverse across the NE-facing slopes below the north shoulder of Columbia (Point 13497) was a nightmare of boulders ranging in size from normal talus to house-sized, covered in anywhere from one to three feet of completely unconsolidated, sugary snow (and sometimes ice underneath). We were occasionally able to see cairns, but they really only offer psychological assistance. It took us over two hours of all-out effort to cover less than a mile of this..and our boot track is likely gone after whatever snow/wind event happened Sun night-Mon. Finally summitted Columbia around 6 PM and raced down along the ridge to find the W Slopes descent route just before the last rays of sun disappeared. A 14-hour day in total, and ~17 miles per GPS. In hindsight, would‘ve been much better to do as the other gentleman who posted conditions reports for H and C did, and do each one separately...oh well, lessons learned
|2014-10-18||Route: South Slopes
Info: Pretty much what everyone‘s reports are saying...a mix of dry trail, ice, snow, mud ... south facing aspects sporadic snow, north quite a bit more. Up high, some deep snow avoidable with talus hopping, some is not. But not consistantly deep enough to warrant snowshoes. Didn‘t summit till after 12:30, clouds came in and the sun softened snow started to set up and get real slick ... only in the summit area. I found microspikes helpful there. Once down a little lower, gaiters and poles allowed me to quickly take direct lines down the still soft snow and plunge step/boot ski. Edit: Almost forgot ... at the very final summit pitch, maybe the last 30 feet or so, instead of following the beaten path (SW aspect), swing over to the edge of the NW "block" for a few fun, exposed scrambling moves. Makes for an exciting way to finish.
|2014-09-01||Route: South Slopes
Info: Route and summit free of snow and ice. We then followed the traverse to Columbia which was also clear.
|2014-08-29||Route: Harvard and Columbia Traverse
Info: Did Columbia first, then the traverse, then Harvard. There was some invisible ice on the rocks at the summit of Columbia, but it melted off once the sun was up for a while. NOTE: The route description for the traverse says leave at least two hours.... I would recommend 4. Route finding is difficult and much of the route is class 2+ / class 3 bouldering.
|2014-07-12||Route: South Slopes
Info: Hiked up to Bear Lake under a full moon‘s like from N. Cottonwood TH on Friday and camped east of the lake. A few muddy patches by otherwise perfect trail. Hit the summit under perfect weather about 11 on Saturday, bigger storms later that day. Great trail, Great Hike.
|2014-07-09||Route: Harvard and Columbia Traverse
Info: Attached is a map with water sources shown as red dots. Approaching Harvard you can filter water almost the whole way up to 12,400 feet - the trail runs parallel to a stream. At 12,400 you‘ll cross the stream and have little options to filter water after that until you come back down from Columbia.. Halfway in traverse you could get access to water if needed, but it‘s a little off trail. Fill up at 12,400 approaching Harvard! Hope this helps!
|2014-07-03||Route: Harvard and Columbia Traverse
Info: Still some snow on traverse. I did okay without any spikes. Everything written about the difficulty of this route and the West Slopes descent from Columbia is true. It‘s tough!