| Mud and Kegs
Route: South Slopes, N. Cottonwood Creek
Summit Elevation - 14,420
Elevation Gain: 4600
Trip Distance: 13.50 miles
Total Round-Trip Climb Time (including all breaks): 9:15
4WD Required: nope, but we had an SUV anyways
Exhaustion Factor (on scale of 1-10): 7
Scenery Factor (on scale of 1-10): 7
With my girlfriend completing a medical fellowship with Harvard in Boston this year, I felt fit that I, too, should spend some time at Harvard. Only her Harvard is a bit more tricky to complete than our Harvard I didn't have to apply and interview to climb Harvard. I didn't have to prove my intelligence to climb Harvard. I didn't have to go to med school, then complete 4 years of residency to qualify for this Harvard. I just had to show up, hike, and go home. Anyways, felt cool that, although 2000 miles apart, we both were at Harvard today!
Around 3:00am, I went to the front steps of my building to wait for Malcolm to pick me up. There was random drunk girl sitting there smoking a cigarette, still out from the previous night. So I sit down, and can immediately tell she is just hammered. She says, "I'd do anything for a beer, but my idiot friend doesn't have any." I just laughed, opened my cooler, and handed her a PBR, as I had some for our trip. Looking back, that probably wasn't wise. So she starts talking, really f'n loudly at 3:00am, saying "I had the worst night ever! My f'n friends are all pissed at me because they said I'm too drunk to drive. Does it look like that? I mean, I drove home just f'n fine! I actually had to swerve out of the way of 3 different cars, then swerved to miss this pile of f'n dirt. Would I be alert enough to do this if I was f'n drunk? I don't f'n think so!" I immediately started thinking, "Malcolm, please get here soon. This chick is wasted and bugging the crap out of me." About 2 seconds later, another, sober girl, comes out of my building and apologizes for this drunk girl. The drunk girl repeats her story to her friend, to which sober girl says, "Well, I think everyone was upset because you went down 3 different one-ways in the wrong direction!" And the drunk girl just screams, "THAT DOESN'T MATTER!! NOBODY ~SAW~ ME DO THAT!!!" Then sober girl says, "Come on, let's go in to bed." Drunk girl looks at me and says, "Sorry I got to go but my F'n MOM says it's my F'n bed time. F'n BITCH!"
Interesting start to the day. Malcolm got there a minute later, and we headed on down Sante Fe to 285, to Wads to pick up Andy. On the way we saw a minor miracle, as some dude on his motorcycle made an incredible recovery from a potential spill while going a little too fast down Sante Fe. We got Andy around 3:30, then headed down 285. Turned N on 24 to BV, then hung a lefty-westy onto 350 for 2 miles. Hang a righty-northy on 361 for 1 mile, then take a lefty-westy onto 365. Take a pee break at some random TH a mile before N. Cottonwood Creek (as NCC has no facilities), and got to to TH around 5:50, headed up the trail promptly at 6 bells. Ding. (the "ding" was for the "bells" I just referenced, I'm surprised you didn't know that).
So you may now be wondering why I choose to tell the drunk girl story above. That's becasue this isn't the most exciting hike I've been on before and I needed something to spice up the trip report a smidge.
The route description is spot-on to the description on 14ers.com's route. I won't bore you with the details of that, rather I'll explain the current conditions.
The trail is very muddy. Not the whole thing, but probably 5% of the 13.5 miles is like this, which I felt was a significant portion
The water is still ab it high at stream crossings, but crossable...
Andy lost his sunglasses (Bolle's) shortly after this stream crossing. (between the above and below ones). If anyone is up there and finds them, it'd be nice to have them back! They're just to the left of the trail (left as you're ascending) about 5 minutes past this spot on a rock we were resting on.
Right before the snow part, we spotted a woman eating a can of tuna fish. She was calling it a day. We told her we were having a kegger at Bear Lake after summit and she should come. She asked us how we got a keg all the way up there. Seriously, she believed us. We told her we hauled it up but forgot the cups & tapper, so we'll probably have to haul it down. Here's the spot of our fictional kegger:
There is significant snow up high on this trail. Sorry I didn't take a picture of it, would have been helpful, my bad. We opted to go through the snow on the way up, then glissaded down parts of it on the way down. Would be pretty steep to walk down, some people may be comfortable doing that, but not me... maybe if I had microspikes or something. The snow looks like it may stick around another week or three.
That's pretty much it! The top part was WAY more fun than anything I remembered in the Sawatch range. I thought this was just going to be a boring pile of rocks, but was amazed at Harvard's scenery. Much prettier than I expected, and the top little "pitch" was awesome! Was excited to get Malcolm up 14er #2 and Andy up his first one!
This guy had his eye on us from quite a distance
It took us 5 hours to get up, 30 minutes on the summit, 3.5 to get down, and 15 minutes to drink PBRs once back at the car, for a RT of 9:05ish.
No more mountains for me for awhile -- back for RAGBRAI for the next 2 weekends, then comes wedding season. Hope to get Sneffels 2.0 and Columbia this year yet, then when GF comes back to visit in late August, maybe we'll try something then, we'll see! Just happy to be getting something done. Stupid weddings are corrupting my summer.
Thumbnails for uploaded photos (click to open slideshow):