Download Agreement, Release, and Acknowledgement of Risk:
You (the person requesting this file download) fully understand mountain climbing ("Activity") involves risks and dangers of serious bodily injury, including permanent disability, paralysis, and death ("Risks") and you fully accept and assume all such risks and all responsibility for losses, costs, and damages you incur as a result of your participation in this Activity.
You acknowledge that information in the file you have chosen to download may not be accurate and may contain errors. You agree to assume all risks when using this information and agree to release and discharge 14ers.com, 14ers Inc. and the author(s) of such information (collectively, the "Released Parties").
You hereby discharge the Released Parties from all damages, actions, claims and liabilities of any nature, specifically including, but not limited to, damages, actions, claims and liabilities arising from or related to the negligence of the Released Parties. You further agree to indemnify, hold harmless and defend 14ers.com, 14ers Inc. and each of the other Released Parties from and against any loss, damage, liability and expense, including costs and attorney fees, incurred by 14ers.com, 14ers Inc. or any of the other Released Parties as a result of you using information provided on the 14ers.com or 14ers Inc. websites.
You have read this agreement, fully understand its terms and intend it to be a complete and unconditional release of all liability to the greatest extent allowed by law and agree that if any portion of this agreement is held to be invalid the balance, notwithstanding, shall continue in full force and effect.
By clicking "OK" you agree to these terms. If you DO NOT agree, click "Cancel"...
Scree Jockeys: Darrin (kansas) and me
Route: Standard - west slopes
Trailhead: N Cottonwood Creek
Elevation Gain: 4,250'
After trying to rustle up the usual suspects for this slog ("Is it June yet?" was out of state - why? It's June already!!!), Darrin and I head up to the trailhead on Friday night to catch a few moments of elusive sleep. This was my second trip up Columbia, so we went up a different route than I did before. The east - southeast ridge loop was nice, but a long windy annoyance a decade ago. This would also be my third trip up the Horn Fork basin in 10 months. Let's hope I don't have to go back any time soon! The beautiful scenery is getting old
Not knowing how much snow was still left, we brought snowshoes. They remained on the pack, or stashed for the climb. I knew the snow would be missing, except for beyond 11,200' where we started to see more snow banks. I'm sure by next weekend most of the remaining snow will be melted or thoroughly trenched. Mud and puddles will replace the snow in the flatter areas...
It was a relief to get out of the trees and the slow post-hole process we were going though. We used other's post-holes, but still it was like high stepping through the forest! The first views of Yale and Harvard were welcoming. The snow has melted quite a bit since I was last here a month ago.
With so little snow no remaining, and the west slope of Columbia bare, we stash our snowshoes at the trail junction for later retrieval. No need to carry the extra weight up and down again! I'm already carrying extra boots, as I am trying to break in new mountaineering boots for a snow climb later this month.
The climb up the west face was a steep scree slog, that seemed to never end! Once onto a small ridge rib, the trail improved and it was just one foot in front of the other until we reached the higher ridge and we could see our destination.
Photo Credit: Darrin
Once on the upper ridge, it's apparent that a ski descent is out for the season on this peak. The other ridge routes on Columbia are bare, so no snow gear is needed there either.
We had some interesting clouds and some 'water features' up high on the ridge that made the summit ridge area look rather nice.
Only one minor snow field to cross just before the summit. No exposure or problems to cross it (other than post-holing and finding hidden rocks).
From the summit, the evidence from the earlier dust storm is evident. The snow striped peaks are etched with reddish brown streaks.
After a short stay on the summit talking with an Air Force instructor from the Springs, we head down to find water world awaiting. All the streams are overflowing with the rapid snow melt. Only the smaller streams look peaceful. The larger streams are dirty raging rapids that on occasion take over the trail.
Thumbnails for uploaded photos (click to open slideshow):
You found a new lake and witnessed some raging waters! What a trip that must have been to see the river overflowing like that...crazy! Did the first bridge river crossing seem to be holding up ok? Glad I did that E ridge in Feb, I‘m not very fond of scree! Nice write up and photos!
Good to know it‘s a much better snow climb. The 3rd and final ascent of this peak is with skis ;)
The 2 bridges are doing fine. Darrin gave me a dirty look when I slowed down on the last crossing, so no photo of that one.
Caution: The information contained in this report may not be accurate and should not be the only resource used in preparation for your climb. Failure to have the necessary experience, physical conditioning, supplies or equipment can result in injury or death. 14ers.com and the author(s) of this report provide no warranties, either express or implied, that the information provided is accurate or reliable. By using the information provided, you agree to indemnify and hold harmless 14ers.com and the report author(s) with respect to any claims and demands against them, including any attorney fees and expenses. Please read the 14ers.com Safety and Disclaimer pages for more information.
Please respect private property: 14ers.com supports the rights of private landowners to determine how and by whom their land will be used. In Colorado, it is your responsibility to determine if land is private and to obtain the appropriate permission before entering the property.