Peak(s):  Mt. Columbia  -  14,073 feet
Date Posted:  09/02/2009
Date Climbed:   08/31/2009
Author:  RobTheGuru
 Columbia via Three Elk Creek  

From the Three Elk Trail (Dawson‘s Guide) this is a ten mile round trip with a 4811 foot elevation gain.

The trail isn‘t easy to determine after treeline, but the ridge to the north of the trail is fairly obvious. If you like hiking alone its a great alternative to the Cottonwood trail (I did Harvard from there the week prior).

I did see more wildlife (an eagle, one bull elk, one deer) and did get rained on while I was descending after 11:30. This is the only time I‘ve parked by myself and hiked without seeing anyone on the trail all day (except for two early birds on Columbia).

After reaching treeline, I made a direct ascent up to the ridge and proceeded in an arrowlike fashion to Columbia‘s peak. For this I walked up the hardest part of two false summits. The first one is massive and can‘t be helped. On the way back down I skirted the higher false peak. I just wish I could inlclude them in my list of peaks!

This took me walking at a brisk pace with few breaks about 8 hours. I started at a quarter to 7 and finished at about 2:30. My knees are still sore two days later.

Especially on this trail you should definitely have a map, compass and extra supplies with you in case you‘re out there alone and something happens.

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