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Mt. Harvard

Condition Updates  
Route: South Slopes
Posted On: 6/16/2024, By: apfox500
Info: The beginning part of the hike is pretty clear, with snowfields starting around 11,200', increasing in size as you continue up. Most of the snow you can go around and find the trail after if you really need to. The peak itself is clear of snow. I didn't bring snowshoes and for the ascent they weren't needed, for the decent they might be nice to help with the slush but you would be taking them on and off so often. I started from horn fork basin around 6:30 and summitted in two hours. Would recommend bringing gaiters, but micro spikes/yak-tracks wouldn't be helpful. 
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Route: South Slopes
Posted On: 6/9/2024, By: Zleisure
Info: Bring snowshoes. Booted from start to ~10.9k. Between 10.4-10.8k trail is quite wet/a stream from all the runoff. Snowshoed 10.9k, when snow starts in trees, to base of the scree ~12.6k. Booted from base of scree to shoulder (12.6k->13k). Snowshowed: 13k->13.7k. Booted 13.7k to summit. Started at 4:17am, just over 5 hrs to summit. Snow is melting out and can be supportive in some spots through the trees and even in the basin above treeline, but you should definitely bring snowshoes, esp for the way out when it's a posthole/slushfest. By 9am, the snow along the steep section ~13.4-13.8k was already corn/soft. I was happy to have poles on the way down as it was so soft and slippery between 13.4-13.8k. 
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Route: South Slopes
Posted On: 6/3/2024, By: wmanke13
Info: Left N Cottonwood Creek TH around 5:15. Intermittent snow (mostly dry though) from TH to about 10,800 where it became continuous. Trail is fully snow covered from ~10,800 to the first steep section up the shoulder where there are some dry patches of trail. From the top of the shoulder through the next steep section to the ridge, pretty much continuous snow. Once you hit the ridge, intermittent snow to the top. I thought the summit pitch was a blast, and did not seem frightening in the slightest, even with snow mixed in. Summitted a little after 9:30. Descent was fine until I got to the bottom of the shoulder, and included a great glissade. From there to treeline, it was a postholing nightmare without snowshoes. Despite condition report on 5/27, I highly recommend bringing snowshoes if you plan on being above treeline after 9:00-9:30. Surprisingly, snow was more supportive in the trees than above them (better packed trail I suppose). Shoutout to the 4 snowshoers who passed me and consolidated a path for me when I needed it most, and congrats on your summit. To the two skiers, I hope you two made it and had a fun, safe ride down. I posted a couple cool photos of yall. 
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Route: South Slopes
Posted On: 5/29/2024, By: Lucas0wen
Info: Intermittent snow starting from trailhead until about 10k ft where the snow consistently covered the trail. Microspikes were really helpful. Minimal avalanche danger on the ascent besides some wind loading of snow. Crampons and ice axe were necessary on the climb up to the peak. We planned to do the traverse to Colombia but due to snow conditions and warming temps we decided to just head back. Postholing was awful the whole way back to the trailhead. Overall pretty similar conditions to reports from early May. We brought snow shoes but they weren't necessary. 
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Route: South Face
Posted On: 5/6/2024, By: ColoNativeGal
Info: Similar to the post from 5/4, snow all the way from TH, hard in the morning, but we put snowshoes on maybe 1 mile in. Post holing in snowshoes nightmare in the late afternoon in the trees (nice corn in the basin except around the willows). Ideal conditions on the South Face, but there is a bergschrund like feature about 1/3 to 1/2 way up, I think it was just past the gendarme (sorry didn't record exact location). We were able to climb up and over, it was solid enough, but as things continue to melt this could get larger. We also noticed a small slide to climbers left from the base of the start of the couloir. Had lovely 50-60mph winds at the top. Descended via the std rte for the upper part and cut back over to the base of couloir and snowshoed out. 
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Route: South Slopes
Posted On: 5/5/2024, By: Summitsnacks
Info: Summited yesterday 5/4. We planned on the Columbia traverse but weather rolled in so we bailed. The snow is bad all the way to the basin, hard pack in the morning and a postholing in snowshoes nightmare in the afternoon. The rest of the climb was good! Used microspikes, snowshoes and crampons. 
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Route: South Face
Posted On: 4/25/2024, By: jmanner
Info: Face is still quite fat. Skiable from the summit, today it didnt warm above 14,000 at 10:20 am when I skied down. Lots of options for getting from the summit to the basin. Good coverage from the summit to ~.5 mile past the summer trailhead. 
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Route: South Slopes
Posted On: 4/21/2024, By: Christensenje
Info: South Face is very in right now. Parked 1.4 miles down road at lower trailhead. Intermittent snow fields that would not work to drive yet. Continuous snow about .75 miles from summer trailhead. Skis on from the trailhead the entire time up and down the valley. 
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Route: Frenchman’s Creek
Posted On: 2/25/2024, By: wintersage
Info: Last Saturday (2/17), we attempted Harvard via Frenchmans creek and broke trail up to 11400ft. Waist deep snow slowed us down to a crawl and prevented us from making our summit window so we decided to turn back. We couldnt let this solid trench go to waste so went back yesterday (2/24) and completed the trench, however, there was still quite a bit of trail breaking left. We stashed snowshoes at the base of UN 13,374 where it intersects Frenchmans creek and we gained the ridge from there. On our way back we skirted this section since the slopes were not loaded. Despite the wind, the upper ridge had a lot of deep snow which made parts of the scramble kind of challenging. We summited at around 3pm and we decided to stick to the ridge proper on the way back; we found it easier to downclimb the snowy sections with an ice axe and microspikes. This was a very long day, even with our existing trench. Overall, it took us 19.5hrs but some of that was due to addressing gear failure. 
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Route: Harvard and Columbia Traverse
Posted On: 10/26/2023, By: Steep Slabs
Info: The traverse has snow on it. I wouldn't say a lot but certainly enough to further complicate a route that is already very difficult even in the best of conditions. 
Route: South Slopes
Posted On: 10/21/2023, By: stimko
Info: As mentioned in a previous trip report, the warm weather has melted most of the snow//ice down low. No need for traction in the current conditions. A couple small ice patches remain that you can easily walk around; still some mud where the ice has melted. There is barely any snow up high; the few existing patches are easy to navigate. Excellent late October conditions! 
Route: South Slopes
Posted On: 10/22/2023, By: brchristensen
Info: Trail is in great shape, very well maintained. Plan on a slow and steep last mile to the summit. Near summer conditions, very infrequent snow and ice. Traction not needed. 
Route: South Slopes
Posted On: 10/18/2023, By: technicolorNH
Info: No snow on the access road to Cottonwood Creek. A surprising amount of snow down low but it was melting fast on the 17th and it was pretty warm in Buena Vista on the 18th. Until it snows again spikes are optional. 
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Route: Harvard and Columbia Traverse
Posted On: 10/20/2023, By: Jajohnson11
Info: Snow in the forest to start is frozen in the AM and will slow you down a bit but nothing serious. Dry trail once you leave the forest and all the way to Harvard. Traverse is dry until you contour pt 13,497 at which you will be postholing. You'll see our knee deep footsteps hopefully they make life easier. The descent down to 12,800 is no issue, nor is getting back to the base of the ridge. The talus fields are a nightmare. We played a game of the snow is lava jumping on the tops of the rocks hoping they weren't loose. The talus is all filled in with snow so proceed with caution. I imagine this added about 1.5hrs to our day with how slow we needed to move. Brought traction but never used it because the snow is soft and you'll just be postholing! 
Route: South Slopes
Posted On: 10/8/2023, By: Catwhite
Info: Minimal snow at around 13000 feet. Did not need spikes. Did not do the traverse to Columbia due to snow. 
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Route: South Slopes
Posted On: 10/7/2023, By: Mazza Mountaineering
Info: There was snow on the trail starting around 11,000 feet. It deepened starting around 12,000 feet and continued to get deeper all the way to the summit. The trail was difficult to follow on the upper part of the mountain and we were sinking into the snow up to our thighs in some areas. What should have been an easy climb turned into a difficult route finding and tiring event. I think the route will get easier as the snow is packed down by more climbers. The snow did start melting as we got back down to around 12,000 feet. Spikes and flotation would not have helped as the snow was new and very soft. The view of the surrounding area and peaks was amazing, and it was a beautiful sunny day! 
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Route: South Slopes
Posted On: 9/25/2023, By: Abowser7
Info: Perfect conditions on a perfect day. Absolutely zero snow on the trail and summit. Saw some moose on the trail coming back down around 8:00am. Started at 2:30, summited at 6:00, back to the car at 9:15. Did not attempt Columbia because I lost motivation and wanted to get home and watch football. Get it while you can, it's supposed to be clear and snow free all week going into October. 
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Route: South Slopes
Posted On: 9/22/2023, By: wildschut
Info: Still summer conditionsGet your trips in before it ends. Ha. Did Harvard only. Wind was way too much for me to head over to Columbia. 
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Route: Harvard and Columbia Traverse
Posted On: 9/21/2023, By: NativeTransplant
Info: Did Harvard - Columbia Traverse on 9/20/2023 via Columbia West Slopes and Harvard South Slopes. Trail up to Columbia via west slopes and trail down from Harvard via south slopes are both dry without any snow/ice. The traverse between the two has snow and ice in some areas with one significant snow field on the northeast aspect just before Harvard. Microspikes came in handy on the snowfield. The traverse sucks (there is no trail), and it's better to do the two peaks separately. Not your average "class 2 Sawatch" 14er day... had some class 3 and class 4 maneuvers on the traverse near Harvard. 
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Route: Harvard and Columbia Traverse
Posted On: 8/29/2023, By: AndrewJCraigie
Info: Started hiking at 3:45 in light rain, but ended up posting under a tree for 45 mins as a thunder storm blew in. The rain in the valley was snow at the summit, so things were a bit slick at top but nothing too bad. 

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