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 Peak:  Mt. Columbia (14er)
 Route:  East Ridge
 Range:  Sawatch
 Posted By:  mcormier
 Date of Information:  03/17/2012
 Date Posted:  03/18/2012
 Report

Climbingbiz and I were able to drive to within 0.4 miles of the 3 Elk Creek TH. From there we followed a pretty well defined ski track to about 11,400ish. We put on our snowshoes at about 10,000 feet and they were absolutely necessary. I did not take an ice axe or microspikes and did not regret it. The first picture is where we ditched our snowshoes at 12,000. The second one is taken looking along the East Ridge itself, at one of the (spirit-sapping) false summits. There certainly are patches of snow up high, some fairly extensive, but its possible to navigate around them. Coming down, I was able to walk across them easily - just the right consistency (time and temperature dependent, Im sure). For me, it was a about an 11-hour day. Im guessing that Climbingbiz probably did the round trip in about 8-9.


Photos (click for slideshow):
Image #1Image #2Image #3


  • Comments or Questions (10)
manbearpigg

Thanks for the report!     2012-03-20 15:31:04
How did the saddle to Harvard look?


Mike

Added photo     2012-09-28 15:03:32
I looked through my pictures and added the only shot of Harvard that I took. I hope it helps to answer your question.


manbearpigg

More info please     2012-03-21 17:41:42
Could you be a little more descriptive on the snow conditions between 10,000-12,000 ft.? (how much powder/ice is on the top layer of snow. how deep...) I'm planning on doing Columbia and Harvard this Saturday and want to bring my 50lb. dog. Any more pics and info would be much appreciated. (We just did Mt. Princeton last weekend and he did fine. I'm only worried about powder and snow depth.)

Thanks!


Mike

Re More Info     2012-09-28 15:03:32
If you stay on the snowshoe trail between 10k and 12k you should be just fine. Off-trail, though, there are lots of places where you would post-hole a couple of feet. Given the recent weather, though, the snow has likely consolidated even more. I hiked with climbingbiz and his dog. The dog did just great. I would guess his weight to be in the 50 lb. range (a mixed breed, with some boxer in him). The toughest part was the transition from the end of the trail through some fairly thick bush at about 11500 - 11700ish.


manbearpigg

Thank you!     2012-03-21 21:55:50
Thanks for getting back to me so quick! You've been very helpful. Why did you decide to start at 3 elk trail head instead of the standard trail head?


thevagabond


southeast ridge     2012-03-21 22:45:45
I hiked the southeast ridge the same day. Above treeline the snow was pretty firm in the early hours of the morning. The southeast ridge is pretty windscoured and once above treeline the snow is avoidable all the way up until the summit scramble. Didn't run into a whole lot of powder, but after noon the snow had softened quite a bit and I ran into a good deal of postholing. As mcormier stated above though, I believe the snow will be more consolidated by the time you get out there. I have a few pictures of Harvard and Horn fork basin from 3/17 if you would like I can send them to you.


Mike

Trail Choice     2012-09-28 15:03:32
There were 3 reasons why I chose the 3 Elk Creek trail: 1)I had read janetlightburn's trip report from the previous weekend and felt that trailbreaking through virgin snow would be minimized, if necessary at all; 2) from her report I knew that I could drive reasonably close to the TH; 3)I had read the description of the East Ridge route in Gerry Roach's ”Colorado's Rourteeners” and felt it to be a an attractive option to the sandard routes.


manbearpigg

Great!     2012-03-22 18:23:11
Sounds good and thanks for the info! thevagabond, I don't need pics. you both have given me enough info. Its gonna be a great hike and can't wait to do it. For anyone reading this I'll post trail conditions for Columbia and Harvard combo on Sunday. I love Coloradoans! So helpful!!


manbearpigg

Great!     2012-03-22 18:23:45
Sounds good and thanks for the info! thevagabond, I don't need pics. you both have given me enough info. Its gonna be a great hike and can't wait to do it. For anyone reading this I'll post trail conditions for Columbia and Harvard combo on Sunday. I love Coloradoans! So helpful!!


Mike

No problem     2012-09-28 15:03:32
No problem.....that's what we do here....pay it forward.



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