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 Peak(s):  Mt. Columbia  -  14,073 feet
 Post Date:  06/16/2008
 Date Climbed:   06/15/2008
 Posted By:  christina

 Summitshot with Marmot   

Trailhead: Three Elk Creek
Mileage: 10 miles
Elevation Gain: 4800 ft


Jim and I decided to tackle Mt.Columbia this weekend. Having done the standard approach from North Cottonwood Trailhead a few years before, we decided to try the East Ridge from Three Elk Creek.
After spending the night at the trailhead, we left the car by 5am. It was already light enough and the trail was easy to find for the next 3 miles up to treeline. At treeline, the trail crosses the creek a few times back and forth and at some point we lost it.
From here the it's pretty clear in which direction to head and we made our way across some easy former avalanche territory, marked by lots of fallen trees. Our goal was the snow filled couloir in the far right of the picture below, heading up to a saddle on the east ridge: Image.
Up to this point at 11900ft we were easily able to skirt around any snowfields, but now it was time for crampons. With the snow gear we slowly climbed up the snow field in the couloir, staying to the left until we hit a false summit around 13400ft. Looking back into the valley:
Image
From this point it's a mellow ridge walk to Columbia's summit. Approching the summit, we saw a marmot sitting on the summit block. The marmot didn't run away, but actually hang out with us on the summit. He came as close as 3 feet, posing for some pretty pictures !
Image, Image
View of Harvard from the summit of Columbia:
Image.
We took the same route back and were able to glissade down the couloir, ice axes in hand, for a fun ride 1000ft down ! It's just the right angle to keep some speed, but also to be able to break easily.
Image

We were back at the car by 3pm, having had another great day in the mountains !

Hope the pictures help for anyone planning a trip.
Christina



Thumbnails for uploaded photos (click to open slideshow):
 


  • Comments or Questions (6)
covfrrider


Outstanding!     2008-06-16 12:43:29
The pics of the Marmot are awesome!


joe4186


marmot?     2008-06-16 13:36:23
you sure its not a bear??


Yog


Marmots rock!     2008-08-27 18:37:26
Very cool pics of the marmot! I love those guys


jmcgirr47

thx     2008-06-16 20:37:50
Thanks for the timely TR...I‘m planning this in two weeks and looking for latest conditions....

and nice slide!!!


rewovenate


cool!     2008-06-17 20:50:37
thx christina for a nice report! did you have any significant snow below treeline? did you use snowshoes at all?


christina


no snowshoes needed     2008-06-18 08:38:21
rewovenate,

no, below treeline the trail is clear, except for a few patches right around the creek crossings at the top. But these can be easily avoided. So I would leave the snowshoes at home. Just make sure you have crampons and ice axe for the climb up to the ridge. I guess that‘ll stay snow filled for another few weeks.



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