Peak(s):  Mt. Harvard  -  14,420 feet
Date Posted:  03/21/2020
Date Climbed:   03/18/2020
Author:  Jackkuenzle
 Oops thats not Harvard   

Just a short write up about my experience on Harvard summiting and ski descending via the southern slopes, a summary of conditions (As of Wednesday 3/18/20), some photos, and routing data. For the photos, red lines indicate climbing and blue indicate skiing. Photos are posted in the order that I took them.

On Wednesday, I parked roughly 3 miles from the Cottonwood Creek TH at the road closure on CO365. Walked the first mile on intermittent snow and then transitioned to skis w/ skins. Skied the road, then the single track along the river and then turned into the valley below Harvard/Columbia. I stuck mainly to the trail, ran into two snowshoers on their way out, they had summitted Harvard and broken a decent trail. Conditions were variable, powder in the shade and pretty firm crust in sun exposed areas.

Once in the valley, I identified what I thought was Harvard, stowed my skis, transitioned to crampons, and began climbing (Picture 8). I summitted, only to realize that it was the next peak south west on the ridge line from Harvard (Picture 10 is view from summit looking north along the ridge to Harvard). Conditions on the ridge line were very windy, ice and snow was being blown into my face, and goggles were needed. From the summit, I executed a fairly sketchy exposed class 4ish downclimb on the north side of this mountain and then traversed to Harvard along the ridge.

Upon summiting Harvard, I traversed ESE along the ridge, descended to about 14K and dropped into a couloir. Conditions in the couloir were decent, some windboard and even some powder. Avalanche conditions were assessed by CAIC to be Low. From there, and with some careful route finding, I was able to ski down to about 10K without removing skis/applying skins, although some long flat sections required some aggressive poling and some refrozen sections in the trees were fairly frightening. I largely skied down my ascent trail.

All and all trip was 9 hrs 22 mins, 20.5 miles, and 6,325 ft of climb. Routing:

More misc skiing, climbing, and running reports on my Instagram:

Thumbnails for uploaded photos (click to open slideshow):
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13

 Comments or Questions

Nice work
03/21/2020 12:34
I did Harvard in February, there were 2 people ahead of me that made same mistake you did, they thought different peak was Harvard due to Harvard hiding off in the distance. I had been following their tracks all day, but realized they went off in wrong direction and kept to standard route. Good job improvising and still making the summit.


Well done!
03/21/2020 17:31
I was on Columbia the day before (no skis). Gave you a follow on IG.

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