Peak(s):  Mt. Columbia  -  14,073 feet
Date Posted:  03/31/2012
Date Climbed:   03/30/2012
Author:  PedroCO
 Mt Columbia SE Ridge  

FR 365 to Haravard Lakes TH was almost entirely clear. I think most 2WD vehicles could make it.

On trail at 6:20 AM, so sky was starting to lighten up already. Headlamps weren't needed. Pretty easy to find the SE ridge after the first 2 switchbacks. Pretty easy staying on the ridge, too, regardless of visible climbers trail here and there. There were definitely places where snowshoes were handy in the trees, but staying more on the S face of the ridge helped to avoid the snow. ~2hrs to get above the trees.

Once above treeline, still quite straightforward to find route. We skirted one of the larger peaks on the way to the left/south - same as the primary trip report for this route. We chose to make some scrambles for giggles, but rarely did we really need to put hands down. I would call this climb class 2-2.5 with maybe some nuggets of 3. Very fun, tho, and all in the party agreed. Plenty of time above 13k'.

It was really windy on the ridge during the ascent - probably 30+mph with gusts into the 50s. We reached the summit 5hrs 20 minutes into the hike. Chilled, took pics, and ate sammy's for 15 minutes.

The wind dies down some during the descent, which we all welcomed. I should note that no snowshoes or spikes were needed (even tho we had 'em) the entire time above treeline. You could choose to walk on snow in spots if you desired, and we glissaded a few very short sections for giggles, but mostly it was bone dry on the actual ridge.

Skirted the big hump (~1/3 of a mile E of point 13,298) again on the South side as we did on th ascent.

For teh most part the ridge was easy to stay on below treeline again, except for one place around 12,200' where you could spur off to the S incorrectly. When in doubt, it's clearer where the ridge is when you look down the N side - a little fuzzier to the S. Again, teh snow was less of an issue on the S side, so it was a balancing act.

Got back to the truck at the TH at 10 hrs 25 minutes trip time. We had a BLAST. Love this route - didn't see a soul.

Love to all,


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