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|Conditions Information||Posted By||Posted On|
|2014-10-26||Route: South Face
Info: Hiked to the summit of Mt. Harvard on Sunday. It was very windy. The South Slopes are holding some snow and traction would be suggested. I used microspikes on two sections while going up, and I used them when going down. The snow starts in ernest at the flat basin above the bench that puts you at the base of the South Slopes. The final moves to reach the summit were snow free, but there is slick ice and snow on the actual summit area where you sit and look out at Belford, Oxford, Missouri, etc.
|2014-10-25||Route: Harvard and Columbia Traverse
Info: Conditions on Harvard and Columbia standard routes have already been posted, so will skip those. As for the traverse itself: long story short, do yourself a favor and don‘t do it in the shoulder season! The first part, from Harvard all the way through the descent to 12,800‘ was manageable, with only occasional pockets of deeper snow to negotiate. After that is when things get really interesting. The traverse across the NE-facing slopes below the north shoulder of Columbia (Point 13497) was a nightmare of boulders ranging in size from normal talus to house-sized, covered in anywhere from one to three feet of completely unconsolidated, sugary snow (and sometimes ice underneath). We were occasionally able to see cairns, but they really only offer psychological assistance. It took us over two hours of all-out effort to cover less than a mile of this..and our boot track is likely gone after whatever snow/wind event happened Sun night-Mon. Finally summitted Columbia around 6 PM and raced down along the ridge to find the W Slopes descent route just before the last rays of sun disappeared. A 14-hour day in total, and ~17 miles per GPS. In hindsight, would‘ve been much better to do as the other gentleman who posted conditions reports for H and C did, and do each one separately...oh well, lessons learned
|2014-10-18||Route: South Slopes
Info: Pretty much what everyone‘s reports are saying...a mix of dry trail, ice, snow, mud ... south facing aspects sporadic snow, north quite a bit more. Up high, some deep snow avoidable with talus hopping, some is not. But not consistantly deep enough to warrant snowshoes. Didn‘t summit till after 12:30, clouds came in and the sun softened snow started to set up and get real slick ... only in the summit area. I found microspikes helpful there. Once down a little lower, gaiters and poles allowed me to quickly take direct lines down the still soft snow and plunge step/boot ski. Edit: Almost forgot ... at the very final summit pitch, maybe the last 30 feet or so, instead of following the beaten path (SW aspect), swing over to the edge of the NW "block" for a few fun, exposed scrambling moves. Makes for an exciting way to finish.
|2014-09-01||Route: South Slopes
Info: Route and summit free of snow and ice. We then followed the traverse to Columbia which was also clear.
|2014-08-29||Route: Harvard and Columbia Traverse
Info: Did Columbia first, then the traverse, then Harvard. There was some invisible ice on the rocks at the summit of Columbia, but it melted off once the sun was up for a while. NOTE: The route description for the traverse says leave at least two hours.... I would recommend 4. Route finding is difficult and much of the route is class 2+ / class 3 bouldering.
|2014-07-12||Route: South Slopes
Info: Hiked up to Bear Lake under a full moon‘s like from N. Cottonwood TH on Friday and camped east of the lake. A few muddy patches by otherwise perfect trail. Hit the summit under perfect weather about 11 on Saturday, bigger storms later that day. Great trail, Great Hike.
|2014-07-09||Route: Harvard and Columbia Traverse
Info: Attached is a map with water sources shown as red dots. Approaching Harvard you can filter water almost the whole way up to 12,400 feet - the trail runs parallel to a stream. At 12,400 you‘ll cross the stream and have little options to filter water after that until you come back down from Columbia.. Halfway in traverse you could get access to water if needed, but it‘s a little off trail. Fill up at 12,400 approaching Harvard! Hope this helps!
|2014-07-03||Route: Harvard and Columbia Traverse
Info: Still some snow on traverse. I did okay without any spikes. Everything written about the difficulty of this route and the West Slopes descent from Columbia is true. It‘s tough!
|2014-06-30||Route: Harvard and Columbia Traverse
Info: I went up Columbia first and traversed to Harvard. No snow up Columbia. Some snow patches coming down the backside of Columbia. Around the lowest point of the traverse there is quite a bit of snow still. I could have used microspikes, but didn‘t bring them. But considering it‘s East facing it looks to be melting fast. The rest of the traverse on the Harvard side is pretty clear.
|2014-06-30||Route: South Slopes
Info: There is still a few snowy sections of the trail but otherwise summer conditions in full effect. I only came down this route, but I had no problem finding my way.
|2014-06-26||Route: Harvard and Columbia Traverse
Info: The approach on the south slopes to Harvard was wet and muddy with water flowing along the trails. The last 200‘ had patches of snow which were not easily avoided. I crossed in normal shoes without too much trouble. The traverse looked clear of snow and I saw 2 groups doing the crossing. I did not do the traverse but opted to try to follow the lower line on the East side of the ridge. To avoid snowpacks and crossings, I had to travel to the bottom of the basin, ~12,200 on Columbia‘s NE face and then traveled up to the top while trying to avoid remaining snowpacks. I descended Columbia‘s west slopes which was not a good idea, I see why Roach discourages it. The remaining snow on Harvards south face will probably melt in the coming week but not before this weekend.
|2014-06-15||Route: South Slopes
Info: Gaiters recommended for wet areas. No snow shoes or other equipment recommended. There is snow in shaded areas and across the trail as you make the final push to the summit - but it can be avoided or if you are not comfortable with that, microspikes.
|2014-06-07||Route: South Slopes
Info: Attached is a picture I took from Mt. Yale looking down into the basin between Mt. Harvard and Mt. Columbia. There is still a lot snow in the basin between the two mountains.
|2014-06-06||Route: South Slopes
Info: Hiked up to camping area on 6/5 and up to Bear Lake and back down on 6/6. Still lots of snow. Started hitting snow after around 3 miles and lots of post holing from then on. There were two large areas clear of snow for camping around the treeline. Hard to see/stay on trail given snow. Was melting pretty good (trail was like a stream) so may be much better soon. Weather was good and still had a great time on this scenic hike.
|2014-06-01||Route: South Slopes
Info: I went up on the 30th and camped at 11,200. I attempted Harvard on the 31st but got chased off at 13,500 by a fairly significant Thunder, Lightning, wind storm. That was unfortunate as there had been a decent freeze the night before and I was moving well. On the 1st of June I tried it again. The conditions were not good, i.e it was much warmer. Without snowshoes it was postholing at 5 am. I stuck with it and summited at 9:30 after multiple transitions. I was back at the big bowl at 10 or so. The steep part was in good shape for glissading but too late for skiing. At the bottom it was posthole hell. With snowshoes I was breaking through to my thighs. My strategy of staying on the dirty snow worked well but sometimes you can‘t avoid the white snow and I was breaking through again. I have two other thoughts: 1) At the top there was enough steep hard snow to force me into more difficult climbing. I would estimate I did two pitches of class 4. 2) There is sporadic snow from the TH on. It is not a problem until 10,800. From there on there is major postholing. Even there the snow is not continuos so it it not a matter of just putting on snowshoes. It was a beautiful trip but the mountain made me work for it.
|2014-02-17||Route: Frenchman creek
Info: Snowmobile track the first mile, snowshoe track until 10.5k and a skin track through the tree line (~11.7k). The winds were strong so anything beyond the tree line will/has disappeared. It is possible to pick avy safe route and most of the snow in the upper basin is wind scoured. Made for tough ski conditions. Looks like a lot of snow in Horn Fork basin. #1: Summit ridge #2: View of Columbia #3: South Face/Horn Fork basin #4: Frenchman creek drainage
|2014-02-16||Route: South Slopes
Info: Road has heavy snow about a mile below the usual Winter Trailhead, so it was 4 miles to get to the North Cottonwood Creek TH. Cars have tried driving up (including ours), but have failed miserably (including ours). The 4 miles up to the trailhead has a nice trench that we snowshoed in, and there are some Cross Country marks after the trailhead. Snowshoes are definitely necessary for the approach. Was too cloudy to get a chance to see the slopes of Harvard or Columbia
|2013-12-28||Route: Frenchman Creek
Info: Trench to summit. Jeff (Mickeys Grenade) and I broke trail to camp at 11600 on Friday. Then summited today in perfect weather. 4wd road is packed down by snowmobile to the Wilderness boundary. I felt the avy conditions were very low; snow was very stable. The upper basin is pretty wind scoured. Some amount of post holing on the long summit ridge. Long day.
|2013-11-02||Route: South Slopes
Info: Climbed the standard South route up Mt. Harvard yesterday from Horn Fork Basin. There has definitely been some snowfall since the last report a week ago - most of the trail through the trees was covered in a thin layer of ice under a few inches of fresh snow, and from treeline to the top of the talus slope (12,900‘) above Bear Lake, the snow was a bit deeper and the trail was completely hidden in a few places. Looking up from 12,900‘ (actually, the whole hike from treeline), the final 1,400‘ vertical to the summit appeared to be a lot drier, but the angle was deceptive - it actually held deeper snow with a few more postholing sections - quite often, rocks hidden under the fresh snow were slick and added to the challenge. We considered taking the traverse to Columbia, which looked drier than Harvard, but decided not to in the end. As far as gear, gaiters and hiking poles were very helpful, and we brought microspikes but didn‘t need them. All in all, it was a great November day and I‘m looking forward to more of the same!
|2013-10-27||Route: South Slopes
Info: Climbed Harvard Sunday 10/27. Great conditions, very little snow. Microspikes were useful on the first mile for some icy stretches but not necessary, and I didn‘t take them out of my pack the rest of the hike. Not much snow the rest of the trail--only a few patches of ankle deep drifts. Though by the time you read this that may change? And the road to the trailhead is in great shape. Beautiful day up there!