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|Conditions Information||Posted By||Posted On|
|2016-05-22||Route: Southeast Ridge
Info: Snow is mostly avoidable until you get above treeline. Above the trees, it's pretty much solid snow all the way to the summit. Conditions were sunny but windy on the way up, so the snow stayed frozen until about 11 am. Snow was softening and provided the occasional posthole on the descent, but we never felt the need to use snowshoes.
|2016-05-14||Route: Southeast Ridge
Info: Climbed SE ridge. Snow starts around 10,800'. It is best to stay on the bare, more south-facing side of the ridge to avoid post holing in the trees. The snow was solid above treeline and we didn't need snowshoes. Microspikes and an ice axe were necessary as we traversed around the face of of one of the ridge bumps. The ice axes were never needed for the rest of the trip. On the way down in the late afternoon, we found a section around 11,900' elevation that had deep/wet wind-blown snow that showed signs that it could have a minor slide.
|2016-03-05||Route: Southeast Ridge
Info: Snowshoes are a must from just above the Colorado Trail junction to the tree line. We stashed snowshoes just above the tree line. The snow in the AM was solid(ish), but the afternoon was an entirely different story with very soft snow. You will posthole even with snowshoes, but it'd be a nightmare without snowshoes. Be aware the SE ridge is a very long ridge and you'll be above the tree line for the majority of your day. Not a great route if it's a windy forecast.
|2016-02-20||Route: Image from Yale
Info: Photo from Yale
|2016-01-09||Route: Southeast Ridge
Info: I don‘t think I‘m quite justified in a trip report here. We set out for what ended up being a VERY long day at 6:40AM from the Colorado Trail Trailhead that serves as the initial approach for the Southeast Ridge Route. Snowshoes were on from the get-go, though a determined hiker in micro spikes could manage an exhausting and time-consuming summit. There is clearly a constant path up the ridge up through treeline. We tried to tramp down an easier path where it made sense. There are a couple areas as you approach treeline where the trail moves onto some slightly sketchy terrain for a winter summit; I would consider it worth it to break trail up the center of the ridge, rather than follow the trail onto that steep terrain. Once you reach treeline, both snowshoes and spikes/boots become an option. The wind drifted snow of the mountain allows a route for either choice on through the summit, though my entire party had removed snowshoes by about 13,000‘. The wind-drifted snow presents a very real challenge for the last 2 miles of ridge walk. It is a long, slow, slogging climb with some areas of completely exposed scree, and others of 2-3 feet of wind drifted snow, all with its fair share of light scrambling. At about 1:00 PM, we finally gained the summit. After a brief picture session, we headed down, Eddyline pretty much all we could think about. Conditions changed very little throughout the day, and we were lucky to have less than the normally insanely high amount of wind on the high ridges. We finally returned to the trailhead about 6:00 PM, headlamps on and ready for pizza. All in all, a beautiful day.
|2016-01-03||Route: Southeast Ridge
Info: Summited Mount Columbia today, trench all the way to summit. Harvard Lakes trailhead was accessible by jeep to about 9,300 feet with good driving skills.
|2015-10-08||Route: West Slopes
Info: dirt & rocks were frozen solid in the morning.it was very easy to climb up. on the other hand NE face had quite snow so I had to use spikes to come down. connecting ridge & Harvard were mostly dry. std route of Harvard was like summer condition.
|2015-07-11||Route: Harvard and Columbia Traverse
Info: Traverse is mostly free of snow until you reach the lower elevation between Harvard and Columbia near the "rabbit". Snow was mostly well packed with some postholing near rocks by 9 am. Microspikes recommended but not needed for the snow crossings. Above 13,200‘ there is no snow all the way to the summit.
|2015-07-08||Route: West Slopes
Info: The trail has been massively washed out, making it VERY easy to end up climbing the scree field left (north) of the real trail. Our group and at least two others did that, which is much more difficult, dangerous, and damaging to the mountain before we found the cairns and resumed the trail. IF you‘re on scree for more than half the route, you are off trail! Tend right and after you pass the eroded section, you‘ll be rewarded by finding the trail along a grassy, more stable section of the mountain. Safer, faster, and less damaging.
|2015-06-28||Route: West Slopes
Info: Trail in good condition- no snowshoes or spikes needed. Only a few very manageable snowfields on the summit ridge. Scree on push to summit ridge is pretty bad, would definitely reccomend taking poles- I saw several people take some pretty bad spills on the way down. Thunder clouds started building up around 930.
|2015-06-28||Route: Southeast Ridge
Info: Decided to go for the LONG southeast ridge on Columbia, instead of dealing with the mud fest on the trail from N. Cottonwood into the basin. The lower part of the ridge in the forest is easy to follow and trail segments are well cairned. Mosquitos were hell though. No snow to deal at all, the few patches along the higher parts of the ridge can be completely avoided. My advice, check the weather and plan accordingly because you are up high for a long time and getting caught up there in a lightning storm would be bad news! Some dark clouds came in around 11 and I booked it from summit to treeline along the ridge in under an hour.
|2015-06-20||Route: West ridge
Info: Trail is clear next to a roaring N Cottonwood Creek for about 2miles before the trail is wet from snow melt and covered with patches of drifted snow well packed down by hikers. Once above treeline the tail hits the scree slopes and is clear until the summit ridge where the eastern slopes are snowy and the rest is clear rock. Columbia is very manageable in these conditions but Harvard would be an obnoxious trek through deep melting snow and a trail converted to a stream by the snow melt.
|2015-06-18||Route: West Slopes
Info: Just did Mt. Columbia! Road clear all the way. Within the first 15-30 minutes of hiking you begin to see patches of snow. Early on the creek has covered the trail but you can get around. After the lake turnoff there starts to be more snow and we used snowshoes for quite a bit. There are patches of trail so it‘s easy to find your way. Once you get to the basin, the open areas are clear but the trails that lead to the west slopes of Columbia are covered in snow and so we took a route up the snow field to get to where we know the trail should be. At the first ridge we stashed our snow shoes (fyi, the marmots enjoyed the straps on the poles!). The gully up is 80% clear of snow, a few places to cross. Didn‘t find the trail at all until we made it to the top of the shoulder. Lots of mud/rock slide where I think the trail was supposed to be. Still a good amount of snow on the top that you have to traverse across but the summit is attainable without equipment (snowshoes, micro spikes, etc.) Going down we used the snowshoes again and there was significant melting throughout the day causing the trail in many places to be a creek. Lots and lots of water!
|2015-06-15||Route: West Slopes
Info: Hiked in to about 11,500 feet on Sunday 6/14/15 and set up camp--last dry camping spot. Some snow on the hike to this point, snow shoes not needed. Snow is melting fast. Frost came over night, but with us leaving camp around 7am, we needed snow shows right away. Going up to gully was wet and still post holed with snow shoes on. Once we got over the ride where the real accent begins it was dry. Ditched the snow shoes here. Still snow at summit.
|2015-06-05||Route: West Slopes
Info: Climbed Mt. Columbia this morning via the West Slopes and the lack of a hard freeze made this a slog. There is a lot of snow on the trail below treeline. I postholed a bit in the morning (left the TH at 3:30) and finally gave in and put on snowshoes about halfway between the TH and treeline. There was evidence of recent slides on the west slopes, but enough of the slope was melted out that you could avoid avy danger even without a hard freeze. Posted a picture of the west slope - didn‘t get any others since a storm rolled in just as I reached the summit ridge. The ridge still holds a lot of snow and I used crampons (microspikes would have been sufficient). By late morning the snow in the trees was pretty sloppy - I postholed a few times even though I was wearing snowshoes. Without a hard freeze snowshoes are a necessity unless you love to posthole. It will be a while before the snow in the trees melts out. Didn‘t get a good look at Harvard or the traverse due to the storm, but based on the amount of snow on Columbia‘s ridge I‘d guess the traverse is still holding a good deal of snow.
|2015-06-04||Route: Southeast Ridge
Info: good conditions after solid freeze on 6/3/15 and an early start from camp at 12,000. Complete snow cover above 12,500 made for a fast trip with no rock scrambling. No flotation needed early in the day, but micro-spikes essential all the way to the summit. Wish I would have brought my axe for a couple sections near 12,800 which were a bit hair-raising in the a.m. Still solid at the summit at 0930, the descent got a bit post-holey about 11:00 below 13,000, but I never took my snowshoes off my pack. Numerous small avalanches on all aspects verifies report of 6/2.
|2015-06-02||Route: Southwest Couloir
Info: Approach is intermittent snow, not skinnable until probably 2.5 miles in, and even then its "interesting" . Unsupportive even at 6am, without a hard freeze i don‘t see that changing. The couloir itself is in pretty ugly shape at the bottom...a point release cut loose about 1/2 way up and turned into a pretty decent sized slide, so there is a ton of debris/rocks and even some frozen mud. Above that conditions are great, very smooth snow. Continuous snow to the summit from the top of the couloir. On the way down, be careful of the mini gullies skiers right...we were able to get a lot of wet snow to release around them. Be careful out there, until we get a good melt freeze cycle there is plenty of avalanche hazard.
|2015-05-30||Route: Harvard/Columbia traverse
Info: Snow covered the upper basin all of Mt. Harvard. Lower South Ridge of Columbia had rock exposed.
|2015-05-26||Route: Southwest Couloir
Info: Lots of snow, including the summit ridge. SW gully/couloir is in fine shape, well consolidated. Approach: well tracked the first 2 miles, then any tracks disappeared. We were able to generally stay on summer route, but with snowdrifts it‘s not always obvious. Snow was getting really soft/unsupportive by 12-1pm.
|2015-04-25||Route: West Slopes
Info: Made it up to the turn off where you start ascending the west slopes. I ran out of motivation to go any further...5 miles of breaking trail to summit Columbia wasn‘t worth it. It was difficult route finding through parts of the forest due to the big snow storm last weekend and no tracks to follow. It‘ll be much easier for you if my tracks are still there...sorry about any meandering...i did end up always finding the way when i got off route. Plenty of snow covering the west slopes and the southwest couloir. I imagine the west slopes will be good for a week or two and the couloir for much longer. Also, the bears are out. Saw fresh tracks on the road.