This is just a little FYI for anyone interested. This really isn‘t a full trip report because I don‘t have many pictures, GPS elevations, etc.....
We headed out for Harvard and Columbia on Saturday (7/21). We tried the 4WD road to the TH and with some very careful maneuvering we made it in a Civic!! After about a mile and a half on CR365 you will hit a very challenging part in the road. If you can get past it, you are good to go the rest of the way. We managed to get a few hours of sleep in the car.
The hike--We started at 4am with high hopes of getting both peaks. This was my first 14er hike starting in the dark. The lower part of the trail is easy to see and find, we didn‘t have any problems. The hike up to Harvard was great. I would do it again anyday. Here is looking west from Harvard‘s summit.
And a look at Columbia.
After taking a close look at the sky, we decided to make our way over to Columbia. Please look at the sky when you are on Harvard, you can‘t see south or west once you drop down. There is a great trail off of Harvard for about 3/4 of a mile I would say. After that the trail and cairns stop. We ended up going down some very loose scree filled gully, trying to find the "gentle grassy slopes" that Roach talks about. We never found a trail on the grassy slopes, but did find a very steep scree filled trail up to a saddle on Columbia‘s north and east side. It was not fun hiking up that trail!! From there we made our way over to Columbia (again no trail) and climbed up the stabble rocks to the summit. I was exhausted and collapsed on the summit. It took us about four hours to get over to Columbia. I know we weren‘t on the "correct trail", but we did what we felt was safe for us. After seeing that we had totally lucked out with the weather, we stayed on the summit for a long time. Here is a look at Harvard and where we came from.
The hike down Columbia (the scree) was miserable! My legs were shot from the hours and hours of hiking already, then having to go down that mess! UGH! I don‘t think I would ever do Columbia again!
For anyone wanting to hike both peaks, please be prepared. This is not an easy hike at all. Bring more than 3 liters of water, especially on these hot summer days. Also bring extra sunscreen. I slathered it on and still managed to get burned.
Round trip (with a few short breaks and one VERY long, well deserved, break on Columbia) was just over 12 hours. This was one of the hardest things I have done, yet the somehow the most rewarding. I am proud to say that WE DID IT!!!
Thumbnails for uploaded photos (click to open slideshow):