Peak:  Mt. Harvard (14er)
 Route:  Standard
 Range:  Sawatch
 Posted By:  Matt Lemke
 Date of Info:  05/18/2012
 Date Posted:  05/18/2012

The trailhead is easily accessible by any vehicle. The first two-thirds of the trail to treeline is mainly dry with a few deadfall trees. It will be smooth sailing up to about 11,000 feet. However the last third to treeline has hundreds of downed trees...most of which you can walk around or hop over however there is also knee deep snow in the trees that was very post-holey in the afternoon. Snowshoes will not be needed you would be fighting taking them off and putting them back on all the time. It wasn't too bad to just bite the bullet and post hole on and off for about 3/4 of a mile. The real problem is that the trail was hard to follow in this area due to snow cover and trees. I went too far left heading up and followed a side creek to treeline where I was dumped out in a large swamp. I managed to find some solid snow to travel on on the far left side of the valley after crossing the swamp. Once i got to 12,000 feet i found the trail again and it was smooth sailing all the way to the summit with only a few snowfields to cross. There was about a 400 foot snow slope I climbed easily to gain the south ridge of harvard after crossing the shoulder. I didn't need my axe though as it wasn't very steep. The south ridge and summit block are dry. Really the hardest part is the 11,000 to 12,00-0 foot elevation range around treeline where trees and snow will slow you down. Clouds started to roll in around 10:00 am. Lucky for me I started at 5am, summitted at 9am and was back to my car at noon. On my descent I followed the trail all the way dopwn without losing it and realized it was on the far right side of the valley around treeline (looking up)...not the far left.

Morning was great with not too much wind and nice temps. Views of princeton were fantastic!

 Comments or Questions

With respect to...
05/21/2012 03:05
the postholing (as of 5/19), a lot of people have stomped the route to the point where there's not a lot of plunging if you stay in the tracks of others. A nice amount of postholing if you get a bit off route but I agree with Matt that floatation is really not worth it. Off and on snow showers during my climb but with the temperatures this week I doubt if any of it will stick. Like Matt said, the downed trees on the route are an ass pain. Probably had to climb over and around 40 trees. Hopefully the forest service can work on this route now after they've done such a great job on the Shav/Tab route. Columbia looks entirely snow free, but I did not ascend.
Matt if you were refering to the views of the giant mountain as you headed back to the TH that was Yale. It looked simply stunning (when visible)!

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