Peak:  Mt. Columbia
 Route:  Harvard and Columbia Traverse
 Range:  Sawatch
 Posted By:  shapovalovm
 Date of Info:  9/17/2022
 Date Posted:  9/17/2022

Still summer conditions.

Part 1. TH-> Harvard. Got there at around 7am. The lot was full, but I still managed to find a spot. The road is very doable in any car. There were portable toilets at the TH. The trail is very easy to follow and is class 1 until the last, maybe, 20 feet.
Part 2. Harvard->Columbia traverse. This took way longer than expected (2.5 hours), mostly due to rough terrain. There is a lot of go up-around-down boulders. Navigation at the very bottom of the traverse was not that obvious and barely cairned. Maybe it is just me, but my advice, think how long it would take you and then add 50-100% on top of that. Not surprised that the route page has a large disclaimer about "numerous rescues" there. Only saw 3 other people on the traverse.
Part 3. Columbia->TH. Not sure why people complain about this on FB. The first section (after you leave the ridge) is a bit loose, but not horrible if you have proper hiking boots (vs sneakers/trailrunners). Then the switchbacks start, which are in perfect shape and are essentially a highway. Whoever made them this way deserves a raise, IMO. That whole trail is class 1. Took me about 2:05 to get down.

Overall, 7:10am start, 4:00pm finish, so just below 9 hours. If you ask me, I think Harvard->Columbia is the best direction to do the loop.

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