Peak(s):  Mt. Columbia  -  14,073 feet
Mt. Harvard  -  14,420 feet
Date Posted:  08/23/2012
Date Climbed:   08/12/2012
Author:  MountainMedic
Additional Members:   RJansen77
 The Ivy League Is Overrated  

14er Trip, Day #4

Day 1 - Lindsey TR
Day 2 - Humboldt (who needs a TR for this?)
Day 3 - Culebra TR, courtesy of SurfNTurf

Climbers: Rob Jansen (RJansen77), Tyler Prince (MountainMedic)
Peaks Climbed: Mt. Columbia (Bastard Peak), Mt. Harvard
Weather: Clear and warm
RT Mileage: 15
Vertical Gain: 6100 ft

Start Time: 0755
Trail Junction: 0905-0915
Columbia Summit: 1110-1140
Harvard Summit: 1510-1540
Tree Line: 1705
Back at TH: 1805

Let me start off this TR by saying that this is a miserable combo. Mt. Columbia has no redeeming qualities whatsoever, and someone should simply scrape off the summit and render it a 13er. They should then bomb the traverse, or perhaps build a bridge.

Following a climb of Culebra and a great time at FischerFest, Rob and I woke up at 5 AM and left behind the comfort of the Fischer family living room. It was the best sleep I had gotten in several days, and Greg's 21 month old actually makes considerably less noise at night than my neighbor. We hit the road and drove towards the Sawatch - Columbia was to be Rob's Sawatch finisher, and I still needed Harvard. We agreed on the traverse and started just before 8 AM from a very full parking lot.

We made good time up the very easy trail, which looked very different from the debris-laden shitshow it was in May. After turning towards Columbia, we forwent the standard route in favor of solid grass to the right of the talus field. While steep, it was solid, and we gained ~1000 vertical ft in 30 minutes or so. Upon hitting the false summit, I bonked hard - 4 days really caught up with me - and we took a short nap on the summit of Columbia, which, again, was utterly worthless and should be destroyed.

The traverse to Harvard was, up to that point, the most miserable experience I had had on a 14er (surpassed now only by the NE ridge descent on Mt. Wilson). We walked off the solid talus on Columbia and toward the loose scree that composes the traverse. I commented to Rob that we should probably just take the ridge direct route, cause fuck it, right? Ultimately, we hung toward the left of the traverse, which necessitated sliding down around 400 vertical ft of incredibly loose scree. Pictured below is a hole in the mountain I created. All of the rocks from aforementioned hole wound up burying me up to the waist. Unfortunately, Rob was way ahead of me and was unable to get a picture. After digging myself out of my mini rock slide, I made it to the bottom, of the traverse, which is composed of awkwardly sized rocks that are too far apart to walk over, but lack hand holds and require constantly wedging your body between them. It was not a fun experience, and I was never so happy to ascend again as I was after this traverse (which may actually be harder than the Wilson traverse; it took me about twice as long).

The ascent up to Harvard was fairly steep, but was all solid grass. I was exhausted by this point, and all of Harvard's five false summits were extremely frustrating. I finally summited at 1510. I took a breather, and Rob and I booked it down, stopping only to 1) refill our Camelbaks and 2) pee for the mountain goats. We ran a fair amount of the trail below tree line and made good time back to the car. Once back in BV, we chugged massive amounts of TruMoo and discussed, multiple times and with considerable repetition, how much Columbia and its traverse suck. We will not be going back, and were excited to check it off the list.

Thanks to Rob for doing the traverse and Harvard with me...he already had Hahvahd, and it sucks. A lot.


Thumbnails for uploaded photos (click to open slideshow):

 Comments or Questions

So Much Anger
09/24/2012 15:44
Maybe you should have thrown a party up on Columbia... or a hot tub. It would calm your nerves.

Secret to getting the kid to sleep soundly: Milk spiked with Dales


Yeah, it's tough...
08/24/2012 03:29
...but I think you made it harder on yourself than necessary by dropping off the wrong side of the ridge...


Not enjoyable
08/24/2012 12:53
I'll leave it at that.


Columbia SUCKS!
08/24/2012 17:07
We did a the traverse from Harvard to Columbia two weeks ago. Going this directions is not much more fun. The trip up Harvard was easy yet rewarding. From Harvard to Columbia I thought I was going drop. Hours of Talus Climbing and making your own route. The Scree down Columbia was fun, but I did slice my hand open on a sharp rock. Good job on your climbs!


What's wrong?
08/24/2012 18:04
What's wrong with Harvard? I liked it just fine. The false summits aren't so bad if you climb Harvard first, AND I found it to be a better summit than Columbia. And it's higher.


08/24/2012 22:48


Don't Hold Back
09/03/2012 02:48
Don't hold back. How do you really feel about Columbia and the traverse to Harvard? It's a little tough to know? ;-)

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