| Harvard and Columbia via Horn Fork Basin
Date: 26 June, 2007
Participants: cftbq, trishapajean
Distance: ~15 miles
Vertical: ~6,200 ft.
Trishapajean had just three Sawatch fourteeners left to check off, and I had been looking forward to a repeat of Harvard for some time. So we couldn't say no to the prospect of a twofer that wouldn't require snow equipment.
We got to the North Cottonwood Creek TH a bit before sunrise (per plan), and set off for what is perhaps the Sawatch's most demanding fourteener. The morning was clear and calm, and the early views of Harvard were great. So was the view southward, out of Horn Fork Basin, from which all the rest of the southern Sawatch's high peaks can be glimpsed. The trail is great (if steep!) right up to the summit block.
We spotted a couple with a dog as we were making our way up onto the SW ridge, and we met up with them at the summit. Never did get their names, but the dog's name was Willow, and she's done several other fourteeners. It was pleasantly warm, and I took the time to take a good brace of pictures, including a batch which I will stitch together into a panorama later.
We followed the ridge east from Harvard to the point where Roach recommends descending, near Point 13,516. We found we had to descend into the Frenchman's Creek drainage to about 12,400 (not the 12,800 Roach reports) before starting the trail-less slog up Columbia. The terrain on the Columbia side as generally easier than that on the Harvard side.
After what seemed like forever—and was, in fact, about five hours—we arrived at the summit of Columbia with Willow and her humans just a couple of minutes behind. It had turned windy and chilly, with clouds threatening rain all around us, so we didn't linger long. Here, as on Harvard, we were glad to find a register in good condition.
On the way down, we found fairly large patches of snow lingering in some places along the southeast ridge, but they were easy to avoid. We hadn't intended to, but somehow we still managed to condemn ourselves to the scree slog of the southwest slopes on our descent.
It was a long day, getting dark when we finally got back to the TH. But it was a very satisfying double dose of fourteeners.
Pictures are at:
Thumbnails for uploaded photos (click to open slideshow):