| Hey! Party on Harvard!
Party on Harvard!
Peak: Mt. Harvard
Route: Standard, South Approach
Date: October 16, 2010
Length: 14 miles RT
Vertical: 4600 feet
Ascent time: 3:04:09
Ascent Party: Dancesatmoonrise and two dozen new and old friends
I was beginning to contract that affliction known as Fourteener Withdrawl Syndrome. It had been nearly a month and my lungs were getting congested breathing all this oxygen.
I knew the cure. Harvard would do just fine. Besides, it would be cool to get a few of the same photos as last January's trip up Columbia; maybe even collect a series of changing-
season shots in the beautiful Horn Fork Basin.
A few friends were also planning Harvard. I got a late start at around 8:00 am, and planned to catch folks along the way, which worked out well.
Now and then...
It was nice starting at the summer trailhead, avoiding the extra six miles (RT) imposed by winter. I was able to make pretty good time, arriving at the right turn up the climb into the HFB,
at the bridge, by about 28 minutes. Seems I was in the alpine about an hour later – though I had to stop to talk to Yalegirl and meet her friend, Tana.
It's pretty here today, but I'm already thinking ahead to winter's sultry solitude at sundown.
Today and last January
Northerly aspects in the alpine had some snow cover. Remaining aspects were relatively dry. This was somewhat of a surprise, not having been out in a month.
I felt like ditching the gaiters and sure wished I'd had the approach shoes instead of boots, but really expected more snow.
Looking up toward Harvard, conditions looked really pretty good.
I caught up with Terry and his gang around 9:30 or so. There were a lot of folks on the mountain and the atmosphere was very festive.
I passed by quite a few more folks on the way to the summit ridge, and bumped into Hikeaddict and Peanut. These gals are delightful,
and quite the dynamic duo. We'd bumped into each other some time last winter, but couldn't quite figure out where.
I made the summit by around 11:00 am. It was breezy and cool but sunny. There was some talk of doing the traverse over to Columbia.
One group decided against it and another turned back. I'm not sure if anyone actually hit it, but I was content to just hang out on top of Harvard for an hour or two.
The weather ended up warming up quite nicely. People started arriving on the summit; there must have been twenty or more folks on the mountain today.
The traverse over to Columbia did look pretty inviting.
Here's a shot of Harvard last January, from the other end of that traverse, on the summit of Columbia.
Hikeaddict, Peanut, and Larry headed down shortly after Noon.
Terry's gang stayed and enjoyed lunch and libations on the summit.
The mood on the summit was ebullient, with lots of smiles and laughter. It was a great, festive day.
The only thing I missed was a longer section of rock – though the boots were not holding when wet, nearly as well as the approach shoes would have.
I think that S1/C4 Stealth has me spoiled. I also missed the long rock sections from the last few trips.
Still, I'd have to say that the short summit block section on Harvard is solid class three. Not to differ with Bill's excellent route descriptions; I just couldn't find a class two way for the last 50 feet.
But then, I really didn't look around much.
I will say that a friend who is very experienced found the summit blocks got his attention last June in some fresh snow (he's probably done this peak a few dozen times.)
So I'll stick by my call of class three here. Today was just plain fun scrambling – I found myself wanting more.
It was hard to figure actual travel time on the descent, because it was such a fun day and I kept stopping to hang out with folks. Regina and Tana were in a particularly lively mood.
Here the girls are showing their best poker faces. I felt like I was photographing the Mafia. We definitely had the Italian District to ourselves.
She's such a cute little bambina! (Just don't piss her off. : )
Regina and Tana headed over to the lake, and I can't believe that I'd carried the flyrod to the last five or six summits and didn't have it today.
What a perfect day to kick back with a couple of beautiful ladies on the alpine shores watching little shark attacks on a parachute Adams. Dang!
Looking back, those gendarmes on the traverse look pretty cool – but also guard ridge-proper travel exceedingly well.
Poor old Columbia – I've heard so many folks malign it for the "loose scree" on the west slopes. In winter it's very doable: It's usually almost completely wind-blown of snow,
and the scree is frozen into place. One of the few really nice things about winter travel. I love that line up the west side in winter, perfect pitch for non-stop motoring.
Here's how it looks in winter, looking directly up the west aspect:
The route up Columbia starts just to the south of Point 11853, the rugged prominence at the right of today's photo, below.
I passed by the turnoff for Columbia and continued into the trees, where there's an old leaning log across the stream that makes a great shot in winter's icing.
And the road back, Fall & Winter:
Of course, in winter, the descent is often by headlamp...
The walk back was quite pleasant. There are still a few aspens with leaves and color.
Not a particularly tough peak, at least in dry conditions, but a fun, festive day in an incredibly beautiful place.
The Horn Fork Basin would make a really nice subject for some of those changing-season comparison shots. Could be a fun project.
Thumbnails for uploaded photos (click to open slideshow):