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 Peak:  Mt. Columbia (14er)
 Route:  We got off route, then snow route
 Range:  Sawatch
 Posted By:  Rcizzle
 Date of Information:  05/11/2012
 Date Posted:  05/11/2012
 Report

Condition/Trip report hybrid, hopefully the long story short will give you any information you need.
Beta for the Horn Fork Basin is basically the same as the last condition update. Road to TH is great. First 2.5 miles are basically dry with a little bit of live tree fall (about 5). We hiked that real kwick. From there on my partner and I experienced a big loss in momentum. We had a postholopolus or postholupoluzza in combination with like a bizzillion fallen trees on the trail that probably added and extra mile of meandering to. Then we lost the trail in the snow and the fallen trees and wandered around for a bit never finding the turnoffs for the standard route.
How about the weather? Well we left GJ at 3am without a cloud in the sky, got to Leadville at 6...not a cloud in the sky. Started our hike at 7:15 not a cloud in the sky. Meandered through the forest until we broke treeline at 9:45 not a cloud in the sky and hot! 9:50 we have A cloud. 9:55 we got lots of em. 10:10 we got very dark clouds and my partner and I decided to take a direct scramble to the summit ridge (not recommended scree mud mix). The alpine standard route is completely dry. 10:30 its snowing, 10:40 we just some thunder, 11:30 we lost all visibility. 12 we got the summit with a glorious view of nothing. It SNOWED THE REST OF THE DAY! It was lightly sticking at about 13,500K and above, However, it was sticking at Tennessee Pass at 5. The snow route described by Bill's route description is what we descended. We had a mud scree mix for about half of the coliour. However, we were able to glissade for around 1000 ft. The route below treeline from the snow route was a bit of bush whack, but it was much more efficient than the ridiculous amount of tree fall on the standard trail. We avoided all of our problems of the morning except for the fact the fog made seeing 15 yards ahead very difficult. The snow was really coming down by the time we left. It should be unlikely that much accumulation occurs very far below near North Cottonwood TH, however, with the rate of precipitation and the lack of wind thereof, there could be a couple inches above and just below treeline.



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