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Mt. Columbia  
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Route  Conditions Information  Posted By   Posted On    Photos  Comments Likes Dislikes    
2014-10-25  West Slopes  Hiked up the West Slopes of Columbia on Saturday. Absolutely gorgeous weather all day. The brutal slope leading to the ridge is basically snow free. There was nothing that posed an issue during that portion of the hike. When on the ridge, at 13,700‘, there is snow on 80% of the rest of the route to the summit. I did not use any traction on this part of the hike, as the snow was firm and I had no issues with walking on it. I camped at 11,100‘ in Horn Fork Basin and the campsite was clear of snow. Grover   2014-10-26  0     Edit Delete 
2014-10-23  East Ridge  Trail is dry up to 13k on ridge. From there, snow increases from patchy to widespread and unavoidable. I had spikes but didn‘t need them. Some minor postholing (shin deep) in some of the drifts but most of the snow was wind blown and packed. Snow was getting soft in the afternoon. SES_17   2014-10-24 2  1    
2014-10-18  West Slopes  Didn‘t climb it. These pics are from the Harvard standard route. Thought I‘d post these as it could be a good time to climb that miserable route on Columbia? Not enough to slide, but enough snow to kick some steps on the nasty scree gully ... to the ridge, which is dry. With spikes, poles and just enough snow on the descent, it could be way better than when I did it a few summers ago, when it was a horrendous mix of marbles and golf balls on steep dirt. powhound   2014-10-19 2     Edit Delete 
2014-10-11  Southeast Ridge  Climbed the long Southeast Ridge of Columbia yesterday. There‘s quite a bit of snow up there! The first stretch along the Colorado trail and up the beginning of the ridge was dry. As the route climbed higher up the ridge through the trees, the snow got gradually deeper, but no more than a few inches until treeline at 11,500‘ or so. Above treeline, there was continually deeper and deeper snow until we put on gaiters and felt the significant effort of postholing and breaking trail. Up high on the route, there is more scrambling and the conditions were loose snow covering slick rocks, causing a lot of slips and falls. There were a few difficult Class 2 sections on the ridge crest we maybe could have avoided, but it would have required extra time traversing below the ridge crest on big, snow-covered rocks. I‘ve attached a few iPhone pics. This is a very long ridge with many ups and downs - the upper section of the ridge traverses a long distance at high elevation before finally reaching the summit. Bring lots of food and water. DanielL   2014-10-12 8     Edit Delete 
2014-10-05  Southeast Ridge  Southeast Ridge was a great alternate route which follows the ridge from 10,000 ft to the summit. Route was fairly snow free. Where there was snow, it was not an issue. No traction needed. Dan_Suitor   2014-10-06 4     Edit Delete 
2014-09-13  West Slopes  Columbia‘s standard route is just like Bross. VERY loose rocks and scree. Straight up/down. I did it a few years ago and seem to remember switch backs, they no longer exist. Try the Southeast Ridge, trail can be difficult to find at times in the trees, but the route in general is stay on the top of the ridge. JQDivide   2014-09-14  0  2    Edit Delete 
2014-09-01  West Slopes  Route and summit free of snow and ice. WolterOutside   2014-09-02  0     Edit Delete 
2014-06-30  West Slopes  No snow. Summer conditions in full effect. addrock528   2014-07-01  0     Edit Delete 
2014-06-29  West Slopes  Summer conditions. One short snowfield at the base of the W slopes. mrickers   2014-06-30  0  2    Edit Delete 
2014-06-28  Southeast Ridge  Closed out the Collegiates (and Sawatch range 14ers) with a successful ascent/descent of Colubmia. Interesting and steep way to go, especially if you don‘t require the security of a marked trail. Scattered cairns provide confirmation that someone else was there once but do little to keep you on the "trail." If you decide to go this way, simply aim for the middle of ridge, negotiating each "obstacle" as they come up - as long as you‘re on the ridge and aim for the summit you really can‘t go wrong! GPS claims we hiked 11.8m miles (guess we found a shortcut) and 6100 ft elev gain (not sure how reliable that is, it felt like less than 5000 ft). Clear, sunny skies but quite windy above treeline - beautiful day overall. 5.5 hrs up, 3.5 hrs down - with breaks. MissH   2014-06-30  0  1  Edit Delete 
2014-05-18  Southwest Couloir  BenfromtheEast and I attempted a ski descent of Mt Columbia via the Southwest couloir on Sunday morning. The road is clear of snow all the way to the Upper TH at North Cottonwood Creek. There is still a ton of snow on the trail nearly the entire way with intermittent dry patches. We would skin for a few hundred yards and then have to take off our skis and hike a hundred feet. It took forever. When we finally reached the turnoff for the Southwest Couloir we found it to be in great shape (see attached photos) with excellent coverage. We did not see any signs of wet avalanche slides in the couloir but there was a constant stream of small rocks that were trickling down, so be aware. Around 11:00am conditions softened up and we abandoned our summit attempt in exchange for some great turns down the couloir. When we reached the main trail we experienced pure misery trudging through the mashed potatoes. MonGoose   2014-05-20 4  4 1  Edit Delete 
2014-05-18  Southwest Couloir  Expect to frequently post-hole and possibly cry, especially in the afternoon. Patchy snow coverage on the first ~1 mile makes for awkward snowshoe experiences. Plenty of snow in the couloir, and plenty of pink snow in the run-out. Was stupidwindy today too. speach   2014-05-18 1     Edit Delete 
2014-05-10  Southwest Couloir  Standard trail through the trees is 95% snow covered to treeline and post holing was definitely an issue at lower elevations, even with snowshoes. The SW couloir had excellent coverage all the way to 13,500. tdallred   2014-05-11  0  2 1  Edit Delete 
2013-10-26  West Slopes  The route is in pretty good shape! There was some snow on main trail for the first 3.6 miles to Horn Fork Basin before the turn-off for Columbia, but not enough to require micro spikes. After the turn-off the snow got a bit deeper in some spots, but it didn‘t last very long. We were able to follow the footprints of previous hikers, and if it doesn‘t snow our prints should still be there! Once you get to tree line and start the very steep ascent, there is snow, but you can still see the cairns and follow the trail up to the ridgeline. We ended up cutting out a portion of the trail and followed some cairns that led us STRAIGHT up to the ridge. Using traction for this ascent and on the ridgeline were super helpful, and I would advise using traction for the descent as well, even if there is very little snow because there is a ton of loose dirt, rock, etc. The summit was so warm, we didn‘t even need to wear jackets! Also, Mt. Harvard looks like there is hardly any, to no snow at all on the route above tree line or on the summit. Looks like things may change after this week! LizWeiss   2013-10-28  0     Edit Delete 
2013-10-20  West Slopes  Patchy snow starting shortly after leaving TH all the way to summit. Very little in trees, maxing out to maybe 6" in spots above treeline. Most I postholed was to my lower calf. No traction needed on ascent but used microspikes on descent. Seems like a good time of year to do this peak, as the frozen ground in the AM solidified most of that awful scree. The snow patches also helped stabilize as well. aliciaf   2013-10-21  0  2    Edit Delete 
2013-07-27  West Slopes  Summer conditions on the trail. The scree fest is not very fun to ascend, but I would take that over coming down the steep slope after a long day on the mountain. michaelgrundy   2013-07-29  0     Edit Delete 
2013-06-30  Harvard-Columbia loop  Harvard-Columbia traverse is in great condition, as is the general route up Horn Fork basin. I jogged from the N Cottonwood TH at 5:45 and summitted Harvard at 8:45, then descended the ridge towards Columbia. There are a few easily avoidable patches of snow on the north faces. I dropped below the ridge proper and into the basin and then back up. Lots of water throughout the route if you need to re-fill. Columbia summit at 10:45. Clouds were gathering and threatening to worsen, but held off. Remember to plan for mid-morning lightning storms and be off the peak at the appropriate time. ulvetano   2013-07-01 1       
2013-06-22  West Slopes  I don‘t think we encountered any snow on the route. Some places were muddy. The route up/down the West Slope is a long, steep, scree hike with poor traction in many places. If you want to follow the traverse route from Harvard, download the route pictures to your phone beforehand with the app, or print the pictures, and follow them carefully. Otherwise, just follow your nose, but you‘ll probably drop down pretty low (~12,500). The traverse is short mileage wise, but is mostly off trail and requires crossing boulderfields and a very steep uphill hike on the Columbia side. Do not try the traverse if there is any forcasted weather, or if clouds are forming on Harvard‘s summit. We took about 3 hours summit to summit. Some groups take five hours. ezabielski   2013-06-23  0  2    Edit Delete 
2013-06-09  standard and part of southwest coulior  The standard route up to Columbia is opened for business. No snowshoes required. There are some good dry camping spots about 3.3 miles from the trailhead. There was some snow on the main trail but it has been packed down. The southwest couloir is fading fast. We packed crampons to do the SW couloir but the warm conditions made us leery of the conditions. We did the majority of our climb up the standard route then slid over to the couloir at 13,200 and climbed the couloir to the ridge. The conditions of the upper part of the couloir at 8 AM were pretty good. I‘m not too sure about the lower part of the couloir. I‘m hoping to post some pictures shortly, send me a PM if you want more info! Happy to help. Photo 1: West Slope (standard up Columbia) Photo 2: Lower section of SW coulior photo 3: Ridge to Harvard and Horn Fork Basin photo 4: ridge at 13,600 loooking at Columbia Summit Stiffler_from_Denver   2013-06-10 4  3      
2013-06-01  Southwest Couloir  Speth and I climbed the SW Couloir Route, which was in fantastic shape. If you are looking to do Columbia without the miserable talus this year, get on this route soon! We anticipated that in another 1.5 weeks or so the route would no longer be in. The trail is bootpacked to the beginning of Horn Fork Basin. Saw about 8 people total making their way into the basin so it should be trampled down even more. Snow shoes on the approach are not necessary. Gaiters recommended. We found a nice little campsite to the right of the trail at 11,050‘. There is another campsite less than 1 minute away that also looks really flat. Both sites are 100% dry. We veered off the route and bushwacked a bit to the gully, where we encountered some minor postholing (around 6-7 am). Crampons, ice axe, and helmet are needed for this route. Microspikes are not sufficient for safe ascent. The couloir is holding at least several feet of snow in the middle. We started down the Couloir around 12:40 and we were able to plunge step and glissade the whole way down. Overall an amazing day! Please PM me with any question you may have. I would be happy to help. Mike zdero1   2013-06-02 4     Edit Delete 

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