Mount Harvard

snow South Face
Difficulty Class 2 
Snow Steepness: Moderate 
Ski/Board: Advanced, D6 / R3 / III  
Risk FactorsExposure: Moderate
Rockfall Potential: Moderate  
Route-Finding: Moderate  
Commitment: Moderate  
Start9,900 feet
Summit14,424 feet
Total Gain4,600 feet
RT Length14.00 miles
SheriffChaffee: 719-539-2596
Last UpdatedOct 2022
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This route should only be climbed with consolidated snow, in spring or early summer. Climbing this route in mid-winter could put you in deadly avalanche conditions.


Turn west on County Road (CR) 350 (Crossman Ave.) near the center of Buena Vista. This road is less than 1/2 mile north of the stoplight in the center of town. Continue on CR 350 for 2 miles and turn right onto CR 361. After almost 1 mile, turn left onto CR 365 (dirt). Continue on this road for over 5 miles to the trailhead at the end of the road. Turn right into the wooded parking area which loops around counter-clockwise. The trail starts on the west side of the parking area.


This is a winter/spring snow route and NOT recommended as a summer hiking route. From the trailhead, follow the Mt. Harvard - South Slopes Route to reach Horn Fork Basin - 1. 2 shows the difference between this route and the standard, summer route. Since this is a snow route, you're likely to be ascending a snow-covered basin - simply hike north up along the right side of the basin. Near 12,100' ( 3) pass a small hill on its right side to reach the junction between the standard Harvard route and this route.

Turn slightly right (northeast) and continue along the left (west) side of the drainage coming down from Harvard's south face. Instead of ascending the center of the drainage, it's easier to stay a bit up on the left side. Above 12,400' angle left (northwest) to see Harvard's south face - 4. Once you reach 12,800', the south face is in full view - 5. 6 looks back on the drainage. From the upper end of the basin/drainage, take some time to study the south face and the location of the summit - 7. This route ascends the gully on the right side of 7. It's easy to identify the gully because of rock outcroppings on its right side and a gendarme about half way up. 8 is another look.

Hike north to the base of the gully and begin climbing - 9 and 10. The steepness starts out in the mid 20 degrees and has a maximum angle of approx. 39 degrees, near 13,700'. Continue ( 11 and 12) to 13,500' where the gendarme will be off to your right - 13. Depending on snow coverage, there may be some rocky sections in the middle of the gully. Pick your line and continue higher - 14, 15, 16 and 17. Near 14,000' ( 18) the gully begins to widen out and the summit is up to your left. Below 14,200', angle left ( 19 and 20) and crest the left side of the upper gully to see the summit area - 21.

The actual summit is on the far left end of the ridge and, depending on snow coverage, there are several ways to reach the top. Hike west/northwest across an upper snowfield to reach the difficulties below the summit ridge - 22. Pick your own line or continue left all the way to the point where the summer hiking route ascends the final summit block - 23 and 24. Climb up through the rocks to reach the top. 25 looks down on the upper snowfield and the top of the south face. 26 looks east along the summit ridge. If you are descending the same route, remember to turn left in the upper snow field to reach the top of the correct gully.


Leaving the summit: 27, 28
Entering the gully: 29
Skiing the gully: 30, 31, 32, 33, 34
Exiting the drainage: 35, 36


Again, this route should only be done with snow and is not recommended as a summer hiking route.
#1 #2 #3 #4 #5 #6 #7 #8 #9 #10 #11 #12 #13 #14 #15 #16 #17 #18 #19 #20 #21 #22 #23 #24 #25 #26 #27 #28 #29 #30 #31 #32 #33 #34 #35 #36

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Caution: The information contained in this route description 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. and the author(s) of this route description 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 and the route description author(s) with respect to any claims and demands against them, including any attorney fees and expenses. Please read the Safety and Disclaimer pages for more information.

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