Peak(s):  Mt. Columbia  -  14,073 feet
Post Date:  03/17/2010
Date Climbed:   03/13/2010
Posted By:  jbchalk

 Columbia in Winter   

I mainly just wanted to do a quick TR to give an idea of snow conditions on Harvard & Columbia for those looking to get out in the upcoming weeks. In an effort to get in a long 14er day in preparation for our upcoming Everest climb, my wife, Kristine, good friend, J, and dog, Kona, & I hit up Columbia last Saturday. After a cowboy camp at the winter TH around perhaps 9,000' (3.8 miles from the summer TH of N. Cottonwood), we hit the trail around 7am. Kristine & I on snowshoes and J on his plastic mtneering boot/AT setup we had used on Denali years ago. There was a decent broken trail all the way to treeline which was extremely helpful.

Kona crossing the 1st bridge after the summer TH:

It was definitely a slog to Horn Fork Basin, but was a nice day. We broke trail over to the west rib of Columbia and made our way up. Kona with Columbia behind:

Harvard blanketed:

J & Kristine making their way up Columbia's west rib:

Yale's Silver Creek Cirque:

Kristine making her way to Columbia's south ridge:

Southern Sawatch (Princeton, Yale, etc):

We gained the south ridge and headed north to Columbia's summit:;

Me, Kristine, & Kona on Columbia's summit around 2pm (7 hrs after we started)...a new 14er for Kristine & Kona:

Looking west on the descent:

Looking back at Columbia's west rib from Horn Fork Basin:

J was the smart one and got down quick on his skis. Kristine and I and Kona got back to the truck at 7pm. All in all, a great day and good training climb (18 miles RT, approx. 5,000', and 12 hrs RT).

Thanks for reading.

Thumbnails for uploaded photos (click to open slideshow):

  • Comments or Questions

Thanks guys     02/05/2011 00:22
Thanks for the well wishes, Caleb...see you friday man.

Jim, yes, Columbia is a good winter 14er for sure. Yey, there is a good track to upper HFB, so ahould be smooth sailing up to at least that point pending any snow the Sawatch may get this weekend. Other than a quick jaunt up perhaps Quandary this weekend, 14ers will have to be put on hold until I get back from the Big E.

Have a great Spring season!


KONA!!!     11/30/2010 17:28
That dog's name is KONA?!?! I had a chocolate lab growing up who's name happened to be named Kona as well.


Loved that route this year....     03/18/2010 03:12
Nice photos, enjoyed the ”quick” TR - Thanks for posting. Yes, skiing is the way to go to get out of the HFB and back to the cars in a hurry. I see that west rib is still dry, I loved it. Can‘t believe people malign this mountain - apparently they haven‘t done it in winter. It was one of my three favorites, out of 12 this winter.

Love that summit shot and Kona‘s little jacket! Priceless!

PS - Harvard has been ”bugging” me - wanted it this winter and missed it - now that you‘ve fortified the track up there, I might just go get it.

Good work!



Thanks, Jesse...     03/19/2010 02:56
Thx for the well wishes man. You can follow us along on our website at

I‘ll be calling into a good friend every so often who will be updating our site.

Have a great spring climbing season, man!


Thanks for posting...     03/19/2010 00:06
Can‘t wait to hear about the next trip (not Quandary). Sounds like you guys are as ready as you can be. Good luck, we‘ll be home rooting for a safe, successful trip to the top of the world.


FlyDenver     03/17/2010 19:54
No doggie boots for Kona...her hair is short enough that ice/snow does not build-up in her paws really ever. My other dog, Rainie, a golden retriever, does have that problem and I use vaseline/musher‘s wax to help starve off that pesky snow/ice in her paws.

Have fun upm there!


Good Luck!     03/17/2010 19:49
Nice TR Brando. Nothing like a last minute training trip. Good luck on the big E. See you guys on Friday.


Good Luck!     03/17/2010 19:49
Nice TR Brando. Nothing like a last minute training trip. Good luck on the big E. See you guys on Friday.


Sweet     05/09/2011 17:48
Love the Dog Jacket


Doggie Question     03/17/2010 19:34
Great post and pictures-thank you as I plan to do Harvard or Columbia sometime next week...I am taking along my German Shorthair and was wondering about Kona‘s jacket and if she wore any dog shoes/boots?

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