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Columbia, Harvard, Yale in one day?

Colorado 14er peak questions and conditions should be posted here. 14er Trip Reports
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Columbia, Harvard, Yale in one day?

Postby ezabielski » Thu Sep 20, 2012 12:46 pm

I was wondering if anyone has some info on doing these three in one day, on established trails, starting and ending at the same place. A trip report or even tidbits of info could be really great!

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Re: Columbia, Harvard, Yale in one day?

Postby peter303 » Thu Sep 20, 2012 12:54 pm

More than that. I recall speed records for doing entire range of 14er peaks - something like two days for the all the Sawatches excluding Holy Cross. I couldnt find the thread.

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Re: Columbia, Harvard, Yale in one day?

Postby djkest » Thu Sep 20, 2012 12:56 pm

Well, that's going to be tough to do in one day. Yale doesn't take real long if you are fast. Harvard and Columbia are another story. Harvard itself is a 12-mile round-trip hike with over 4k feet of gain. You can traverse from Harvard to Columbia, but it's not an established trail the whole way. Your alternative would be to descend harvard and hike down to the Columbia turnoff, go up and down that way. I'm not saying that this can't be done, but you'd have to be really fast, start early, and have good weather.

When we did Harvard and Columbia in one day I believe we were hiking for around 10 hours, and we were pretty exhausted.

Your need for an established trail complicates things.
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Re: Columbia, Harvard, Yale in one day?

Postby Chicago Transplant » Thu Sep 20, 2012 1:14 pm

You can climb all three from the North Cottonwood TH, but you won't be all on established trail the whole way. You can go up Harvard's standard, traverse to Columbia, back down the trail to the split, and instead of a "left" back to the traihead, take a "right" to Kroenke Lake. That trail keeps going, but probably goes out of your way for Yale. I have been up the 12ers above that lake, and Yale looked fairly straightforward from there, but all off trail. Then just reverse your route on Yale back to the Kroenke Lake trail and follow that to the trailhead. Don't know what the mileage and vert would be, but I believe the route on Yale from Kroenke Lake is described in Roach's 14ers book.
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Re: Columbia, Harvard, Yale in one day?

Postby GeezerClimber » Thu Sep 20, 2012 1:23 pm

The only established trail on Yale is from the Denny Creek TH on CR306. You could do the Harvard/Columbia traverse from N Cottonwood TH and then drive to Denny Creek if you have time. They are not far apart, maybe 35-40 minutes. All routes on Yale from N Cottonwood drainage involve off trail climbs above 12K and are long. Overall, you are talking about at least 10K of vertical.

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Re: Columbia, Harvard, Yale in one day?

Postby ameristrat » Thu Sep 20, 2012 3:30 pm

I'm with djkest on this one.

The Harvard Columbia traverse is deceptive. It's long and you should expect RT to be 10-12 hours for an average speed party.Not that I'm super fit or anything, but I'm in decent shape and was exhausted after just those two. I know that I could not have done Yale if I wanted to.

If you are really fast, and in fantastic shape, it is doable from N. Cottonwood TH, but I woud do Harvard / Columbia first so you can make the decision to stop if necessary.

The whole traverse is exposed and the escape is into the wrong drainage, so if you wore out or needed to escape a storm after summitting Harvard, you'd be either out of luck or on the wrong side of Columbia to get back to your car.

Be careful - that will be over 20 miles and 10k in elevation. If you can do that, I commend you - I certainly cannot.
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Re: Columbia, Harvard, Yale in one day?

Postby ezabielski » Thu Sep 20, 2012 6:14 pm

Thanks for the info, everyone! I just wanted to make sure there wasn't a route that I didn't know about. I will probably drive to Yale after doing Harvard/Columbia, only if the conditions (of my legs and the weather) allow it.

EDIT: Nah. I won't do all three in one day.
Last edited by ezabielski on Thu Sep 20, 2012 6:50 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: Columbia, Harvard, Yale in one day?

Postby ezabielski » Thu Sep 20, 2012 6:25 pm

peter303 wrote:More than that. I recall speed records for doing entire range of 14er peaks - something like two days for the all the Sawatches excluding Holy Cross. I couldnt find the thread.


Yup, Nolan's 14ers. But I wanted to know if there was a route that would be shorter than an out and back along a Nolan's route.

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Re: Columbia, Harvard, Yale in one day?

Postby telehead » Thu Sep 20, 2012 7:19 pm

Dear God, why?

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