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Collegiates Early June Ascent

Colorado 14er peak questions and conditions should be posted here. 14er Trip Reports
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Collegiates Early June Ascent

Postby Josh Pickle » Tue May 21, 2013 6:03 pm

Hello all,
Me and my bro are planning a trip to Colorado the first week of June. Our plans are to hike in the Sawatch range, starting with Belford , Oxford, Missouri and then going on to do Columbia and Harvard. Since I'm not from the area, I was just curious about the conditions or future forecasts? I've tried to keep tabs on the trip reports from the area but I haven't seen many that are very recent and/or specific. Would it be wise to go ahead and buy snowshoes or microspikes? Will an ice axe be necessary? I wasn't really planning for an icy/snowy ascent due to previous dry years. Any other helpful info would be greatly appreciated.
Here's a rough outline of the trails we'll be doing, weather willing:
http://www.everytrail.com/view_trip.php?trip_id=1728585
http://www.everytrail.com/view_trip.php?trip_id=963416

Thanks in advance!

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Re: Collegiates Early June Ascent

Postby DaveSwink » Tue May 21, 2013 7:03 pm

Are you going to do each of these routes as day hikes? These are great routes but both are long days. Be sure to have a good rest day in between climbs.

If you carry a water purifier, you can save a lot of weight by climbing Harvard/Columbia by starting from the SE ridge of Columbia with just 2 liters and re-filling in Horn Fork Basin after Harvard. The trail is easier to find ascending Columbia's SE ridge than descending it too, just read trip reports carefully so you don't miss the turn off of the Colorado trail.

A water purifier can allow you to refill before Missouri too, although some folks have concerns about high metal content in the streams there.

Microspikes are useful on Missouri's sandy scree whether there is snow or not.

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Re: Collegiates Early June Ascent

Postby Josh Pickle » Sat May 25, 2013 11:16 am

No, we're actually taking our time with it and making each trail a two day trip. Thanks for the advice Dave, will definitely come in handy! Will need to pick up a pair of microspikes at STP or something. Hoping someone will post some conditions this weekend.

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Re: Collegiates Early June Ascent

Postby DaveSwink » Sat May 25, 2013 6:42 pm

Horn Fork Basin has some great camping spots, but your route for Harvard and Columbia is a loop. That would mean you would have to haul your tent/sleeping bags up Harvard and across to Columbia and then down the long SE ridge of Columbia. That would be brutal. That is a pretty long day anyway, without 40 pound packs. I would suggest you cache your gear in Horn Fork Basin descend the West Slopes route (yecch) on Columbia back to pick up your gear, and then return to your car via the trail used to come in the day before.

Your proposed route for Bel-Ox-Miss is a "lollipop" shaped route, rather than a loop, so it does not suffer the same problem. There is decent camping just above the old cabin, well before you turn off to Belford so a gear cache there will be easy to pick up on the way back down from Missouri.

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Re: Collegiates Early June Ascent

Postby Phill the Thrill » Sat May 25, 2013 6:59 pm

I haven't been in Sawatch Range yet this season, but generally speaking you should have an ice axe in early June. You may end up not needing it, but chances are pretty good that it will come in handy, especially with Missouri - the last couple hundred feet can present some difficulties without an axe.
"Everyone wants to live on top of the mountain, but all the happiness and growth occurs while you're climbing it." - Andy Rooney

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Re: Collegiates Early June Ascent

Postby msmith7361 » Wed May 29, 2013 8:14 pm

Bump. Looking to do Harvard/Columbia this weekend via N. Cottonwood Creek TH, camping in Horn Fork Basin Sat night. Any beta out there?

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Re: Collegiates Early June Ascent

Postby GeezerClimber » Thu May 30, 2013 9:03 am

There is a lot of variation in the Sawatch this year snowpack wise. There is much more snow the further north you go and the closer to the CD. Right now, Shavano and Yale are pretty doable without much snow. Columbia is available from the SE ridge without much snow. Missouri basin, with it's northern exposure, has a lot of snow. I got a look at Harvard's south face last week and it was pretty white up high. Word is there is still a lot of snow in the N Cottonwood drainage. It's been cool this week with a little new snow above 12K. It is supposed to get very warm again beginning Sunday.

Dave

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Re: Collegiates Early June Ascent

Postby My-Therapy » Thu May 30, 2013 3:04 pm

My wife and I will be heading to Harvard this Saturday via N. Cottonwood Creek and I will post a conditions report Saturday evening when we get back home. I'm hoping for a well boot packed trail with some breaks in the snow along the way but we'll see.

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Re: Collegiates Early June Ascent

Postby geojed » Thu May 30, 2013 5:20 pm

Is Yale from Denney Creek dry? Looking at taking some Boy Scouts up there.

Also, is there good camping at or near the TH?

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Re: Collegiates Early June Ascent

Postby zdero1 » Thu May 30, 2013 5:55 pm

My- therapy :

I'm doing Columbia standard sat. With two others. Wanna pack the trail down for us? :P

I was informed via PM that the standard approach to Horn Fork is boot packed up to the turn off for the Couloir route on Columbia. I would anticipate that someone tried to touch Harvard since then. We'll find out soon!

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Re: Collegiates Early June Ascent

Postby My-Therapy » Thu May 30, 2013 6:11 pm

zdero1

We are glad to help pack down the trail even more. We are shooting for around a 6:00 a.m. start, maybe we will see you on the trail.

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Re: Collegiates Early June Ascent

Postby msmith7361 » Thu May 30, 2013 8:22 pm

Probably see you up there.. We're camping in the basin so we'll probably set off for Harvard early

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