Mt. Harvard  
Condition Updates  
Route: South Slopes
Posted On: 2021-10-30, By: RWSchaffer
Info: Only a few inches of snow fell in the last storm cycle, and they were rapidly melting both below timberline and, especially, on the south facing slopes that hold this route. Alternating stretches of clear trail and tracked snow led to the base of Harvard, whose slopes held very little snow (photo 1). It was necessary to connect cairns and trail segments in a few places where snowfields hid the trail below summit (photo 2), but it was still possible and desirable to follow the summer trail almost all the way to the summit. There were a few knee deep postholes and some shin deep postholing, but most of the snow was only ankle deep. Spikes were useful for occasional patches of hard slab and icy stream crossings (photo 3). 
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Route: South Slopes
Posted On: 2021-10-23, By: 14ercooper
Info: Pretty good conditions still. Lots of smaller snow patches on the route, and a few bigger ones. Didn't feel the need to put my spikes or gaiters on at any time, but my waterproof shoes were very much appreciated (non-waterproof shoes will get soaked). 
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Route: South Slopes
Posted On: 2021-10-19, By: Athiel
Info: The road to the trailhead was clear of snow and in good conditions except one spot that a Crosstrek cleared. The actual trail was slushy and icy in the a.m. We used traction at the base of the final pushes. Snow was about ankle deep, gaiters would have been helpful. Trail runners will get wet FYI. Otherwise, it was a bluebird day with no wind. 
Route: Harvard and Columbia Traverse
Posted On: 2021-10-17, By: Gpacardella
Info: Road snow free to TH, except for shady areas that were dusted. About 1" of snow periodically on trail until Bear Lake junction above tree line. Where I put on spikes and gaiters, both of which were critical for me. Had to post-hole up main route to summit. 3 other guys were ahead of me but they attained the ridge/saddle earlier than the main route, so I had to break my own trail since I didn't follow them. They were the only other people I saw all day. The traverse was very difficult in the snow. People should refer to the traverse as a Moraine Field, not Talus slopes. Huge car-sized boulders that never end, surrounded by very dangerous snow surprises. Stepping in the snow was a gamble so I tried to only step on snow covered boulders. Very tedious but thankfully I eventually found the 3 guys footprints, and bloody hand prints. I hope their injury wasn't too bad but I followed the blood trail to the summit of Columbia and beyond. Thank you to those guys because the cairns are only 6" - 12" tall and I would have never found them before dark. Very sketchy hike in general and a bad decision for me to go solo. Be safe 
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Route: South Slopes
Posted On: 2021-10-12, By: Mark Goldstein
Info: The road up and trailhead were all dry up to the summit. Several stream crossings noted. The morning temperature was 30 degrees at treeline. The summit was 43 degrees. No wind noted. Clear weather and sunshine throughout the day. 
Route: South Slopes
Posted On: 2021-09-26, By: mncgray
Info: Excellent day on Harvard, first time on it but I would do a return trip on this one. All sun and no wind/smoke. Left TH 7:30a and returned 3:30p. Could have made it back quicker, however weather and folks on summit super nice so we hung out there for quite a while. 
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Route: Harvard and Columbia Traverse
Posted On: 2021-08-15, By: cvbuffs
Info: Hit Harvard and Columbia on Saturday, August 14 via the traverse route going from Harvard to Columbia. Trail up to Harvard is in great shape with multiple water sources along the way. Backpacked in 3.5 miles the night before and setup camp in a little open field about .3 miles from the Harvard/Columbia trail split. After summiting Harvard my climbing partner and I determined that the weather was good and we had enough water (2.5 liters each) to give it a shot. Route starts simple enough as you scramble off the summit and start making your way toward the ridgeline between the two peaks. You eventually pick up an easy to follow trail for the next 30 minutes before coming to the to the far southern ridge of Harvard. From there it is choose your own adventure down. We probably stayed on the ridge a little longer than the description states but the rocks/terrain was pretty solid heading down towards the gully. It had taken us about an hour until this point. We also heard a spring flowing and took the time to top off our water which was for the best given how long the remaining route would take. Rather than go as low into the gully as described, we followed the spring down and then stayed a bit higher aiming towards grassy area where the boulder field starts. After scrambling a bit to get in position right under the rabbit ears we headed straight up. Rocks we big and solid and I would classify this section as difficult class 2 until you reach the area above 13k described in the route summary. From there we followed the grass and some noticeable cairns until we reached the north ridgeline of Columbia; it had taken us around 2.5 hours until this point. Unfortunately the weather had started to take a turn and a large dark cloud had settled over the Columbia summit. Knowing there isn't a bailout on this route, we made the decision to traverse back off the ridge and around the grassy area towards the east ridge of Columbia with the idea that we could stay lower than the summit and link up with the standard trail down the west slope. About halfway up the east ridge the weather blew out and left us with a nice weather window to summit. This detour probably added an extra hour and another 400-500ft in elevation but in hindsight it was certainly the safest decision if the weather had not improved. There wasn't much of a trail on the east slope but plenty easy to pick a few points and scramble over solid talus fields until finally reaching the summit. In totally it took us 3:45 to make it from Harvard to Columbia, but I would be willing to bet we would have summited in around 2:45-3 hours without our detour due to the weather. From the top back down to our camp took 1:15. Most of the recent trip reports call out the top portion of Columbia still be loose and pretty treacherous which I would attest to. Not as bad as Challenger's north slope, but pretty slow going to make sure you have good footing for about 30-40 minutes until reaching the restored trail made by the CFI, which sounds like a huge improvement from year's past. Couple of notes on the traverse: - Make sure you have plenty of water and know the weather is going to be good. There are no bailouts on this route so once you commit to heading down the south ridge of Harvard you pretty much have to finish. The water source on the south slope of Harvard was great and allowed us to top off; we would have made it back down Columbia without it but would have likely been dry not far off the top of the second peak. - Boulder fields are super solid. Might seem like a bit of a grind but I found this section to be a nice change of pace and allows you to get creative in your routes. You can also take very direct lines and gain a lot of elevation quickly. - Noticed a couple of dogs going up Harvard, which I don't think I would recommend. While Harvard ins't very technical, the last section to the top is not dog friendly and there was a gentleman that needed help getting his dog up/down. Also pretty frustrating to see a number of dog poop bags left along the trail, as well as unbagged poop. Should be pretty self explanatory with the LNT mentality, but super frustrating to see people not take care of the trails even if it just means sweeping your pets poop off the trail if you've run out of bags. - In the event you do need to bailout after committing, once getting on top fo the boulder field neat 13k stick to the left to go up the east ridge of Columbia. Still high, but keeps you from needing to go over the summit and you should be able to cross over to the standard route down, or in a real pinch head down the SE ridge to get out of trouble. If you do want to do both peaks and aren't sure of your fitness or the weather, I would recommend heading down Harvard and summiting Columbia via the standard route. More water supply options and easier to turn back if bad weather hits or you hit a wall. 
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Route: Harvard and Columbia Traverse
Posted On: 2021-08-06, By: amitchell
Info: I climbed from Columbia to Harvard 8/5/2021. There is a lot of loose rock, especially on the gully just North of the low point. For that reason, I would recommend bringing a helmet, even if climbing solo. Even though the route is said to be class 2, I found myself making a lot of class 3 moves (using my arms to support myself while scrambling). I think the only reason this isn't actually a class 3 route is because of the lack of exposure. I found that there was no point on the route where falling or slipping would have resulted in death (maybe just some really bad injuries). 
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Route: South Slopes
Posted On: 2021-08-05, By: marcusmartin
Info: Arrived at the North Cottonwood Creek TH at 4:45 am. The lot was pretty full of cars but we did find an open spot to park. Several muddy spots between the TH and the cut off to Columbia from the recent rains. But you can largely avoid them. They should be dried out in the next few days. All the stream crossings were fine. Shorts and t-shirts on the summit. No wind. Warm. Beautiful. 
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Route: South Slopes
Posted On: 2021-08-02, By: jasowel
Info: From camp in Horn Fork Basin, we got a very early start and were able to summit Harvard around 7:15 a.m. Great summer conditions. The main creek crossing not too long after the treeline was tricky, but manageable. Cruised up to about 12,900. After which point things get much steeper! Was hoping to do the traverse to Columbia, but the forecast was poor and it was already raining to the North from the summit, so we decided to make the smart decision and head down. There were not many parties on the mountain at all Saturday, and very few at the Horn Fork Basin camping area on Friday night. 
Route: Harvard and Columbia Traverse
Posted On: 2021-07-10, By: Carsonj20
Info: There are a few snow fields if you take the rightmost path up the talus field pictured in the route description. The snow fields are your friend, very supportive and a break from the talus mess. Summer conditions on standard routes on both peaks. 
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Route: South Slopes
Posted On: 2021-07-06, By: noob_hiker
Info: Beautiful day on the mountain - summer conditions. I was fortunate enough to meet longtime 14ers member Eagle Eye and chat with him just below the summit. 
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Route: South Slopes
Posted On: 2021-07-05, By: jakesoren10
Info: Awesome day on Harvard. 99% summer conditions. 2 very small snow fields, easily avoidable if you want/need to, about 14k. Got buzzed by the 4th flyover by 2 F16s on the way down about 13k, super cool. 
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Route: South Slopes
Posted On: 2021-06-20, By: MountainManta1
Info: 99% summer conditions. Brought microspikes but never put them on. A few small snowfield crossings. Some mud near treeline made me glad I was in hiking boots and not trail runners. 
Route: South Slopes
Posted On: 2021-06-19, By: NatDog
Info: The trail was extremely muddy immediately above treeline and had some standing water in places. Other than that, the trail was snowfree until the steep slopes just before the ridge. The snow here could mostly be avoided. The trail did cross two snowfields directly below the summit (top right corner of photo). It was a small detour to walk around them which for me was preferable to five minutes of postholing. My footwear of choice was waterproof trail runners for the muddy sections and I was happy with that decision. 
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Route: Harvard and Columbia Traverse
Posted On: 2021-06-15, By: Ericsheffey
Info: Harvard and Columbia (w/ traverse) - 06/15/2021 Attached are photos of almost every section of the traverse and one from the ascent up Harvard. I believe they got out of order from the upload, but should roughly correlate with the photos in the route description for reference. Conditions: Harvard is clear of snow for 90% of the route to the summit. There are intermittent snow fields starting at around 13k-ish. Traction would be useful, but I navigated it just fine in trailrunners. For the traverse, there is some but minimal snow along Harvard's east ridge. Traverse was easy going until 'Point 13,516'. This is where the big snow fields start, and by the time I got to them (8am), they were already turning to slush. There was evidence of a boot pack through them, but the snow was too sloppy to support steps for me. This led to me taking large detours around 'Point 13,516' and down into the gulley. Snow fields surround all the talus fields from here until the "Rabbit". This snow also was not supportive, and I burned a lot of time swimming in mashed potatoes in between talus hopping. Again, signs of a boot back were there, but were not able to be followed. Once up towards the "Rabbit" snow coverage was large and the snow was supportive enough for me to follow the boot back up (thank goodness because going around would have been a nightmare). Axe and traction were used here. After popping out just below Columbia's ridge, snow was minimal and not a huge issue. Columbia's trail is 99% free of snow, and with the CFI trail for most of the decent, this part was a breeze.r 
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Route: Harvard and Columbia Traverse
Posted On: 2021-06-14, By: sctbke
Info: Ascended Columbia, navigated the traverse, and descended Harvard today, 9hrs RT from trailhead, 15.1mi, 6200ft ascent. Standard routes up Harvard and Columbia are good to go! Columbia is snow free and new trail is great. Harvard has some snow and is definitely wet, but it has been decently well tracked by now and no traction is needed. Waterproof footwear a must for Harvard. Traverse is a bit of a different story, the basin and chutes along the traverse are well snow covered still. Don't be fooled, you can't see all this snow from either summit. It sits in the low basin between the peaks, behind the ridge. I wasn't able to take standard route in areas as the snow was steep, so I fumbled around trying to traverse across the basin for awhile. Ended up taking 3 hours to go those 2.75 miles. Made it without traction, but trekking poles were a must. Some hollow cavities exist below thin layers of snow, fell through one small one and used trekking poles to asses snow supportiveness after that. Traverse is doable, but it's a big commitment. Be ready to route find away from the standard route, assess snow conditions, and traverse some decently steep (25ยบ) snow. 9-10 AM over the snowfields was perfect timing. Soft but minimal postholing. Warm day, had a great time! 
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Route: South Slopes
Posted On: 2021-06-09, By: dfeezell
Info: The trail is dry until about 11,100 ft. Between that point and the turn off to Columbia there are some short snow sections that were easy to cross. Once in the basin there are numerous snow sections to cross. Snowshoes won't really help since there are also many dry sections to pick through. The slope that gains the ridge to Harvard is completely covered in snow (see image). There is another steep snow pitch on the ridge, but you can contour around it. We had micro spikes and trekking poles and made it work, but I would have been more comfortable with an ice axe since there are some big run outs on steep sections. By the afternoon most of the snow sections were softening and we postholed frequently. The section of trail from the basin to the second bridge was a river of snowmelt by the afternoon. West slopes to Columbia looked dry. 
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Route: South Slopes
Posted On: 2021-05-30, By: artemavovk
Info: see Columbia report from same day for traverse/descent info 
Route: South Slopes
Posted On: 2021-05-25, By: One Sierra Charlie
Info: Harvard as seen from the top of Antero. Sorry for the poor photo quality - I needed to zoom it up quite a bit. 
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