Peak(s):  Mt. Columbia  -  14,073 feet
Date Posted:  06/30/2008
Date Climbed:   06/29/2008
Author:  virtualbrian
 Columbia standard route  

I hiked up Columbia with three other guys from work.

We left Colorado Springs at about 4:40am and had a pleasant/uneventful drive out to Buena Vista. We headed out of town and up the dirt road to the trail head. The road got pretty bumpy in places but wasn't too bad. I don't think I could have made it up that road in my Honda but my friends Toyota worked just fine.

I was surprised to see so many empty camp sites on the way up to the trail head.

We left the trail head and started up the valley along the creek. Man the water was really high and fast. It's really nice to see water like that in Colorado. I took a ton of pictures.

We got to the part of the trail where it splits and one part goes off to Harvard and the other up to Columbia. We took the trail to the right for about 1/4 mile or so and we lost the trail. There was a small snow field and a lot of water running down a little creek. We found what we thought was the trail and started up it. We soon realized that the trail we were on was the trail to Harvard so we turned around and eventually found the trail to Columbia. All in all, it was about a 20 minute detour.

(By the way, we knew we were off track because of the information on We knew that we had to go to the right of a large grouping of rocks.) So thank you, you saved us a bunch of time.

Once around the grouping of rocks and across a small snow field we started looking for carins. We spotted several and started heading up. At one point we must have missed one of the carins because we ended up climbing up a very large scree field. This was not fun.

After an hour plus in the scree we spotted a carin off to the right. We cut across and were able to get on the trail. I must admit, that scree took a lot out of me. You take a step and your foot slides down a bit. It was A LOT of work.

The trail got easier once we were back on the trail. At some points had to scramble over some large rocks but nothing technical. We reached the ridge and it was a pretty leisurely stroll over to the summit.

We met a couple at the top and enjoyed some good conversation.

There's a basin off to the east of Columbia that looks like it would be a much easier (less steep/no scree) climb. Not sure how it's accessible though. Could be worth looking into.

We hung out at the top for about 20 min or so and then started down. We were able to stay on the trail the whole way down. One section was very steep with lots of loose rock and dirt. This was not a fun section and I personally felt like I was eroding the mountain more and more with each step/slide.

All in all, it was a great day with some awesome scenery. I would have liked to have done both Harvard and Columbia.

Thumbnails for uploaded photos (click to open slideshow):

 Comments or Questions
James Scott

enjoyed it
07/01/2008 16:10
We met you on the summit- Janelle and I are in you summit shot. Enjoyed talking to you guys. See you on the next mountain.

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