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Mt. Harvard

Most Recent Condition Updates
Updates  
Route: South Slopes
Posted On: 6/17/2023, By: Logan5280
Info: It's pretty sloppy down low and wintery up high. See TR for photos: https://www.14ers.com/php14ers/tripreport.php?trip=22087 
Route: South Slopes
Posted On: 5/8/2023, By: FrankP
Info: Skied Harvard and Columbia on Friday. I was able to park about half miles below N. Cottonwood Trailhead. I tried trail shoes for the first quarter mile past the trailhead but quickly switched to skins as the snow in the forest did not get a hard freeze. As reported in a previous post, lots of moose poop everywhere. Started hiking at 2:45am. My biggest concern was startling a moose in the hours-long march through the dark forest. My brain played many tricks on me in the shadows but ultimately never saw anything but squirrels. The South Face of Harvard was firm, but had a nice half inch of carvable snow that made it quite fun. Southwest Gully on Columbia was glory corn all the way down. Egress was a long sufferfest of mushy forest soup. 
4
Route: South Face
Posted On: 4/16/2023, By: emtkhumbu
Info: 5600 ft vertical, 16 miles round trip. parked roughly a mile short on 365. variable snow, some powder atop crust, and lots of shark fins. snowpack felt solid throughout for the ski down. ~11.5 hours round trip, started at 5 AM. wish we started earlier! 
Route: Harvard and Columbia Traverse
Posted On: 1/21/2023, By: Chrisfish25
Info: Windy. Flotation on approach/ in between traverse & exit.rabbit ears looked enticing but the winds were sustained 50ish on Columbia.. almost getting blown over. Easy avy terrain navigation for now. Went out Pine Creek because I knew 2 people were coming up that way to approach Harvard. Thanks for the skinner Rob & Nick! 
Route: NE Ridge
Posted On: 1/22/2023, By: RobLowe
Info: Pine Creek approach to minimize avalanche risk. Road isn't drivable about .8 miles below trailhead. 6 miles to the turn up the NE ridge. Just under 4 miles on the ridge. Nick used traction, I did not. We both skinned up Pine Creek. 19.7 miles round trip. Still a $1 fee per person. Ran into Chris Fish, looks very strong and love his strategy for this FKT attempt. Keep it going, Chris! 
8 2
Route: South Slopes
Posted On: 10/30/2022, By: Veory
Info: A trail is currently broken in through the snow up to the summit ridge, snow ranges from a few inches to several feet deep along the route. Take the south ridge to the summit and not the slopes, which had chest height powder when I descended them for fun. 
2
Route: South Slopes
Posted On: 10/17/2022, By: Strugglr
Info: No snow at all on the trail all the way up to Harvard. Small patches of snow on the ridge over to Columbia but nothing that caused any slowing or impact at all. No snow on the downhill from Columbia peak. 
1
Route: South Slopes
Posted On: 10/13/2022, By: olgav100
Info: No snow, windy ridge. 
4
Route: South Slopes
Posted On: 10/1/2022, By: swilson753
Info: Fall is here! 1/4"-1/2" of fresh snow on everything above 12.5k early this morning on the ascent. It melted by the time we descended (around 11), but more rain/snow was coming down in the afternoon. Microspikes were helpful on the summit boulder field and on the initial part of the descent. With more freeze-thaw cycles in the near future, I highly recommend traction. 
Route: Harvard and Columbia Traverse
Posted On: 9/25/2022, By: dogsandguitars12
Info: Perfect weather day. Light breeze, clear skies, no clouds. No snow on route, some tiny patches remain on northern facing terrain. Around creeks was icy in the early AM. Great trail all the way up Harvard. Traverse went better than expected, just a long day. Route finding is easy and trivial due to the abundance of cairns. Talus is relatively sound compared to other talus piles. The trail above 13k on Columbia is still very bad, makes for a slow descent. The trail was good down low on Columbia. Low traffic for a Saturday it seemed, saw less than 20 people all day although the TH was somewhat busy. My Corolla made it to the TH with ease. 
Route: South Slopes
Posted On: 9/18/2022, By: mmbakken
Info: No snow anywhere on route, dry trail conditions persist. Lots of fall color, aspen are starting to turn. 
1
Route: Harvard and Columbia Traverse
Posted On: 9/17/2022, By: shapovalovm
Info: Still summer conditions. Part 1. TH-> Harvard. Started at 7:10am and managed to find a spot at otherwise full lot. 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. 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. 
Route: Harvard and Columbia Traverse
Posted On: 8/28/2022, By: Split_the_FR
Info: Road to North Cottonwood Creek TH is in great shape; I went up in an outback but I'm pretty sure any car can make it. Late start - left my car at 6:20. Got up to Harvard at 9:15. There was a tiny bit of snow from that fell overnight on shaded portions of rock but conditions were great otherwise. Left Harvard 9:25 - got to Columbia summit at 12:55. The traverse was slow going for me. The route description on this site was awesome as always but I (unfortunately) descended the scree gully instead of the east ridge as described. This cost me some time. The traverse consists of tons of loose rock , rock hopping and route-finding. I noticed multiple parties having issues route-finding while descending and ascending pt. 13,516'. Tons of fun overall though and the entire loop is in great shape besides for some mud from the weeks precipitation. Left Columbia at 1:05, back to the car at 3:20. 
5
Route: Harvard and Columbia Traverse
Posted On: 8/29/2022, By: awatch26
Info: Completed the loop clockwise (Harvard > traverse > Columbia). The combination route makes for a very long, but rewarding day that adds another level of difficulty from doing the peaks on their own. The route description and photo's on 14ers.com are spot on. Study this route in advance and take screenshots to reference on the climb and route finding will be relatively straight forward if you're an experienced hiker. Once you start on the traverse, there is really nowhere to bail out if storms roll in besides back the way you came or continuing to Columbia. I'd plan for 3ish hours for the traverse. Check a reputable weather site (I use mountain-forecast.com) for planning purposes and get an early start. 
Route: South Slopes
Posted On: 8/13/2022, By: madmattd
Info: Summer conditions as others have noted. No bugs except by Bear Lake where we hung out for a while on the way back, but nothing was really biting. A great conclusion to another successful trip by the New England hikers, see you guys on your next visit to CO! 
Route: South Slopes
Posted On: 7/23/2022, By: Madeline1104
Info: Few patches of mud on the trail but otherwise dry. Several downed trees across the trail in the first 5 miles. Lots of mosquitos so bug spray recommended. 
Route: Harvard and Columbia Traverse
Posted On: 7/17/2022, By: TheSpaceForce
Info: 7-16: We went Columbia - Harvard, and ended up with both summits to ourselves. All snow is avoidable, without crushing tundra, etc. Key note: Most people going in the Harvard - Columbia direction seem to be following an AllTrails route, which apparently says something very different about how to make the traverse than 14ers… recommend studying this route, and relying on your own route-finding skills. Don't follow people who may not know where they're going. 
Route: Harvard and Columbia Traverse
Posted On: 7/12/2022, By: scott_s
Info: A few wet/mud spots below treeline, generally avoidable. Above treeline, standard routes on Harvard and Columbia are fully dry. Traverse has multiple snow fields, was able to avoid all except 2, needed probably 40 steps in snow total. I brought micro spikes but didn't put them on. What a slog through endless talus, route finding pretty challenging in sections. Thunder/lightning in the vicinity starting at 11:30am (not forecast), get an early start! 
3
Route: South Slopes
Posted On: 6/20/2022, By: dwoodward13
Info: Small patches of mud below treeline, not a big issue. More extended sections of mud near/at treeline as the trail winds thru willows. Was fairly supportive on Saturday and didn't get the feet wet with trailrunners. Many sections have rocks you can utilize. There is one remaining snow patch near 13.5' that is making a mess of things. Tons of trail braids and hard to even tell where the real trail is (or if this section has an established trail). Some using the braids that avoid the snow, and others going thru snow. Heavy consistent rain from Saturday evening thru Sunday morning. I would expect the mud to be worse given the amount of moisture. 
Route: South Slopes
Posted On: 6/15/2022, By: Tim A
Info: Almost wore trail runners based on previous CR's, but on a hunch checked AllTrails and saw several reports of water on the trail and mud everywhere. Opted for higher-heel waterproof hiking boots and so glad I did. Mud several inches deep for long stretches and running water on the trail in numerous places. If you wear trail runners and are stepping off the trail in all these places to keep your feet dry (for probably a quarter of the 14 miles today), you are the part of the problem. A few significant snowfields bury the trail above 13K' and given their steepness and my lack of axe, I left the trail and followed use trails until I could link back up with the trail. I am part of the problem. A ton of erosion on the south slopes with dozens and dozens of use trails, and the trail from treeline to the base of the talus slope includes several feet of dead vegetation and growing mud on either side of the trail from being trod on. Quite sad to see the Bierstadt effect taking place further and further west. 

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