|Peak:||Mt. Columbia (14er)|
|Route:||Columbia traverse to Harvard|
|Date of Information:||05/31/2012|
Climbed Columbia Thursday morning and traversed to Harvard.I kept reading about all the downed trees at Shavano/Tabeguache, but between the two, Harvard has A LOT more trees down across the trail. It's not too hard to stay with the trail, but you have to do lots of maneuvering over, around, between. (I did Tab/Shav today and didn't have to step off of the trail one, all the way to the summit because it's all been cleaned up so well.)
Having done the whole thing, I would definitely recommend going UP Columbia and DOWN from Harvard, unless you are a champion scree-skier.
No real snow to contend with getting up Columbia, but there are still a few large stretches holding on behind the ridge. They're avoidable if you are comfortable skirting deeper into the valley, which would definitely add mileage and elevation lost that has to be regained (on top of the 1,500+ you already have to lose).
That said, I did it with no problems in trail runners (with great traction) with trekking poles, but would have felt more comfortable if I'd had a whippet or ice axe on one stretch. If I'd have been two hours later, I would have been sliding around more and getting really wet feet.
Also, that traverse is LONG! Took me about 3 hours.