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Peak(s):  Mt. Harvard  -  14,420 feet
Post Date:  08/24/2005
Date Climbed:   08/24/2005
Posted By:  Hawkeye

 Harvard from North Cottonwood Creek, August 22   

Left the North Cottonwood Creek TH around 4:00 AM Monday morning to attempt Harvard and Columbia. Great trail almost all the way to the top, well marked by humongous cairns as you get closer to the summit. Summited around 9:00 (these old knees are getting pokey). Weather seemed to be holding well, so decided to try for Columbia. The plan was to follow Roachs suggested traverse, dropping down about 1600 feet and avoiding the nasty parts of the ridge. By 10:00 the weather had really started to go downhill and I had to decide whether to press on or retrace my steps and head back down after reclimbing Harvard. Since I was alone and somewhat unsure of the route to Columbia, I decided to play it safe and turn back. I was still a few hundred feet from reattaining the summit when the hail started. The pea-sized particles were heavy and steady for about 30 minutes. That was followed by the thickest fog I have encountered on any mountain hike. After a couple of false attempts (cliffed out) I got back over the summit and found the trail back down to North Cottonwood TH.

The trip down was uneventful, alternating between sunny skies and brief downpours. Would like to have gotten both of them, but theres always another day. Talked with a group from Illinois on Sunday at the TH who come to Colorado every year to climb 14ers. As I was coming down on Monday they were heading up to make camp at treeline to attempt both the mountains the next day. I know they are fans of 14ers.com, so if you read this post, heres hoping you made them both!


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