Peak(s):  Mt. Harvard  -  14,420 feet
Date Posted:  09/08/2009
Date Climbed:   09/05/2009
Author:  o_O
 N Cottonwood to Sunrise  

The road in is pretty much the same condition as last year and is passable with 2wd (I have a 95 Subaru Legacy). One or two areas require some careful negotiation but if you‘re an experienced 2wd four wheeler you‘ll have no problems.

I hiked up to Bear Lake on Friday in around 3 hours with a 20lb pack and I‘m not exactly fit. The sign at the Yale/Harvard split looks brand new and might explain how my friends managed to climb the wrong mountain last month. Perhaps it was missing a couple of weeks ago? Maybe they have an excuse now? In case it becomes another souvenir, as the route guide says, the split is a short distance after the second foot bridge, about 1.5 miles in. I‘d say you can‘t miss it, but apparently you can...

It‘s pretty rocky at Bear Lake and if you‘re tent camping the area near the tree line would be a better choice. I was in a bivvy so found a spot next to a boulder and laid my head down for a few hours. I set off again around 3:30am and followed the path in bright moonlight to the summit. Pretty easy trail to follow and well maintained.

Best part of this ascent is no false summits! Knowing your altitude is simple too. Bear Lake is 12,337, there‘s a peak on the ridge to your left as you ascend that‘s about 13,500ft, then the summit of Columbia is just over 14. The terrain is a walk almost all the way. Only the last few feet to the summit require you to take your hands out of your pockets.

After watching the sunrise I headed down. I hung out at Bear lake for a few hours before continuing down. Once off the rocks and back to Bear Lake, the gradient is easy on your toes and can be descended in about half the time of ascent. Not sure why you‘d want to hurry though, it‘s a great hike down too.

I hope you all enjoy the hike as much as I did!

- Sorry no pics from me but I can confirm it looks just like the other 3,000 pics already posted.
- I did get AT&T reception in a couple of places but was unable to send a text from the summit. I had 5 bars one minute and none the next.

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