I left my house in the Springs around 800p and got to the trailhead a little before 11. I folded the seats down in my Subaru Outback and rolled out a sleeping bag and pillow and woke up only once during the night. Maybe I'm getting used to it or something. My alarm went off at 0430 but it was so cold out that I crawled back in my sleeping bag for some more sleep. Before long I heard some noise so I peeked out my window to see three other people getting ready to head up the mountain as well. I figured I might as well tag along with them in case something went wrong and to have some company. Our group left the Harvard TH around 0545.
The trail had some muddy spots in it but overall is in good condition. There are two turnoffs where you have to know which way to turn but other than that the trail is easy to follow. This hike had beautiful scenery all around it.
first glimpse of Mt. Harvard
My plan was to do both peaks, but this would not be the case. The standard way to go over to Columbia is to drop down the ridge about 1/2 way, and even more in some cases, then to regain the elevation and go to the summit. You could go on the top of the ridge but it looked a little too interesting for my taste. The problem with the standard route over to Columbia is that there was a lot of snow on the other side of the ridge which could leave to trouble. After a long hike to the top of Harvard I decided one was enough. The freezing cold wind probably helped my decision as well.
me on the summit
The funny thing about Harvard is that for most of the hike Columbia actually looks much larger, but in reality Harvard is about 350' higher. You can definitely see the difference once you get to the summit. I knocked a rock down from the summit point during the taking of my picture making it 14,419.5' high, but don't worry, I replaced it. It's back to 14,420' ASL. After a half hour on and around the summit our group took off for the TH.
It was a great hike with great weather. The trail was in great condition and I had some great company while hiking so no complaints here. My total RT time was 8 hr 2 min.