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 Peak(s):  Mt. Columbia  -  14,073 feet
 Post Date:  08/04/2013
 Date Climbed:   08/04/2013
 Posted By:  cbotto79

 Mt. Columbia not so bad   

I attempted to bag both Harvard & Columbia last year via the H-C traverse, but bad weather (lightning) forced us to dive off the ridge down a scree field. It was all rather dramatic. Consequently, I was back to finish the job on Columbia. I was somewhat apprehensive from all the bad stuff I'd read about it, but honestly I didn't think it was so bad. Sure, there is a long steep loose rocky section, but no worse the many I've climbed and not as bad as some. The down was worse then the up...
I started about 4:45 am, via headlamp. I knew from last year's hike that the cut off for the Columbia trail is only marked with a "C" laid out in stones, and didn't want to miss it in the dark. It was just getting light when I got there, about 3 miles in. The good news, that's about halfway. The bad news-now the tough stuff begins. As you leave the forest, look for the cairns, the way is well marked. Take your time and amuse yourself watching pica and marmots running around. It's not that bad. Once I got on the ridge, the rest was easy. I did get fooled into starting up the first "false" peak, go around that and you'll see the real summit. I summited at 9:30 (I'm not fast, but I go pretty far...). This trek was the complete opposite of last year's debacle-great weather, warm and sunny with just a light breeze, and hardly anyone on the trail. In fact I had the summit all to myself, and hung out for about half and hour, a rare treat on a 14er on a weekend. The trip down was tricky-the steepest section is loose gravel, hard not to slide. I took my time and used trekking poles, and made it back to the trail junction in just under 1 1/2 hours. After that it was an easy cruise to the parking lot.
I'd like to take a moment to rant-to the bastard/s who had a camp next to the pretty meadow just before the trail junction. Really???!!! You haul all your gear to a beautiful spot like that, and leave it littered with trash? LAME!!! I wish bad hiking Karma on you-may all your hiking shoes cause horrible blisters forever more. I did pick it up-one of the items you left behind was a large zip-lock bag, so I gathered it all up and left it by the trail under a rock. I intended to pick it up on the way down, but the gentlemen ahead of me must've picked it up, thank you sir. Some people know how to behave in our wilderness. And one more thing, double-bad Karma to the a-holes who left the bathroom at Silver Creek Trailhead full of trash. Geez, how can people be so ignorant? Unfortunately I did not have a big enough trashbag in my truck to clean it out, and it reeked too bad for me to put in my truck. Some people should only be allowed to camp next to the dumpster at the 7-11. Sorry for the rant, thanks for listening, happy hiking!



Thumbnails for uploaded photos (click to open slideshow):
 


  • Comments or Questions
zephyr_pelicante


Yeah,     2013-08-05 16:03:14
Scree fields are annoying but not as annoying as people who trash the hills. Glad you got Columbia done!


Gerrybear


Columbia's west slope     2013-08-06 12:23:06
Think the scree will be too rough for an australian shepherd, he's done about 20 of my 39 and probably better...just an amazing breed.


cbotto79

scree for dogs     2013-08-06 20:33:48
I never take my dog on 14ers but if he's used to it it would probably not be the worst. There are a lot of critters, if he is a chaser could be risky with all the loose rock, for him and others.



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