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|Conditions Information||Posted By||Posted On|
|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!
|2013-10-12||Route: South Slopes
Info: Trail had a dusting to ankle deep snow in the morning, some drifts above 12,000‘ were slightly higher. However, this was mostly melted off and muddy by the afternoon. Aspens on the road to N Cottonwood Creek trailhead were prime.
|2013-10-07||Route: South Slopes
Info: Very few snow patches and muddy in spots. Never even thought about putting on microspikes.
|2 left ft||2013-10-08||0|
|2013-09-15||Route: Harvard and Columbia Traverse
Info: Spent the weekend in the Horn Fork Basin. Sat was beautiful. Sat was the ideal climbing day. There were a few rain showers in the afternoon (with thunder up high). Summits were covered in clouds during that time. Sat night was nice. Sunday the coulds rolled in around 8am at about 13k. This made navigating the traverse very difficult. As another poster said make sure you follow the route. We were really happy to have a GPS. Precip started around 10. Rain and snow mix. Snow level was about 13k. The snow was only sticking above 13,800. Of course the rocks were slippery and trail was muddy. Probably snowed about 1.5-2 inches between 3 and 5. It cleared for a awhile but it seemed like more storms were moving up the valley as we hiked out (storms moved in from the E). Wind was no greater than about 15mph at the summit of Harvard. BTW, the trail for the South Slopes route on Harvard was really nice. Especially between 13k and 14k. If anyone reading this worked on that trail. Thank you!! Great job!!
|2013-06-22||Route: Harvard and Columbia Traverse
Info: No problems with snow on trail. Some sections of the trail in Horn Fork Basin were very muddy in the early morning. The traverse to Columbia has very little snow on the "route" we took. If you want to follow the 14ers.com traverse route, download the route pictures to your phone beforehand with the app, or print the pictures, and follow them carefully. Otherwise, just follow your nose, but you‘ll probably drop down pretty low (~12,500). The traverse is short mileage wise, but is mostly off trail and requires crossing boulderfields and a very steep uphill hike on the Columbia side. Do not try the traverse if there is any forcasted weather, or if clouds are forming on Harvard‘s summit. We took about 3 hours summit to summit. Some groups take five hours.
|2013-06-20||Route: South Slopes
Info: Mount Harvard trail is in pretty good shape. There is some mud in Horn Fork Basin, but it‘s June, so that‘s to be expected! There are a few patches of snow on the last steep climb to the summit. These patches can be avoided by heading to climber‘s left.
|2013-06-12||Route: South Slopes
Info: 6/9/13 report holds true. I got across the stream without getting wet. It was post holing in some snow that got water into my boots on the way down. It wasn‘t too uncomfortable. Still snow on the peak.
|2013-06-09||Route: South Slopes
Info: Harvard is melting fast. The trail had a large number of people on it yesterday so there is a muddy, extremely wet, boot packed trail to the summit. Flotation devices were not required as the postholing is minimal on the cattle trail path. Microspikes and poles were helpful for the last few hundred feet to the summit but not required. The upper river crossing water level is REALLY high and you will not find an easy way across it without getting your feet wet.
|2013-06-01||Route: South Slopes
Info: Hit the standard route trail for Mt. Harvard yesterday (Saturday June 1st) at 6:00 and started first really encountering snow at around 10,800‘ and then by 11,200‘ snow was fairly continuous all the way to summit via the standard route. In the morning, the snow was solid and easy to travel over, however by afternoon the sun and warm temperatures did their job and made for a slow and tiring post holing suffer-fest. We lost the standard route trail (as did several other people based on the tracks we saw) at around 11,300 or so and didn‘t find it again until we were above treeline. We only occasionally found the trail above treeline due to 90% or so of the route be covered in snow (still deep in some areas) I think it will still be quite some time until the standard route will even be mostly dry. The weather and views were awesome, just prepare for a long day!
|2013-02-02||Route: Harvard and Columbia Traverse
Info: My original plan was to summit Harvard and/or Columbia (instead I went to Princeton, condition report to follow) I was less than a mile up the road to the TH when I came to a gate and a group drinking canned beverages. The road is closed 3 miles before Harvard lakes. There is a trench from the group I spoke to. They tried to summit Columbia but extra miles and snow watered too deep. There is however a good trench should someone want to push it further.
|2013-01-13||Route: East Ridge from Frenhcmen Creek
Info: The road to the gate at Frenchmen creek is dry. The gate was open, but the road is not in great condition. We made it about 0.5 miles past the gate in an SUV. The road had snow, but not enough tow arrant snowshoes. There is a trench once the trail begins. The trail is easy to follow. Look for the Frenchmen Creek sign when the trail splits. There is some dead fall just before the upper basin but nothing major. We did not go above the basin, but there were at least 3 safe ways to access the East Ridge of Harvard. Crossed below one questionable slope, but mostly stable conditions. Expect 16ish miles for the summit of Harvard.
|2012-09-30||Route: South Slopes
Info: Still summer conditions on the entire route. Someone I spoke with said the traverse to Columbia had some snow between the talus but that is about it.
|2012-08-12||Route: Harvard and Columbia Traverse
Info: Conditions are great along this traverse. On the backside of the traverse, the route mentions hiking down around around a gully. I highly recommend this after being a sucker and taking the gully which is a bunch of loose scree. The traverse also has a TON of talus and takes longer than expected. Do not attempt this traverse without optimal weather and enough energy to complete. All downed trees are cleared too. Photos, and more detailed info on my adventure can be found here: http://awilbur77.blogspot.com/2012/08/harvard-col-f.html
|2012-07-21||Route: Frenchman Creek
Info: Some blowdown past the Colorado Trail. Nothing too bad. Maybe adds an extra 10 min or so finding ways around the trees. Bypass trails for most blowdown areas are fairly established and easy to follow.
|2012-07-21||Route: South Slopes
Info: There are still quite a lot of downed trees across the trail that can be a bit of a nuisance. I would estimate about 15-20, mostly after the first two miles. Once you get to the willows the path is clear. Overall the trail is one of the best I‘ve encountered in Colorado, so kudos to the people who built and maintain it.
|2012-06-06||Route: South Slopes
Info: Harvard is open for business. The forest service is clearing the trail of fallen trees. Those that you encounter can easily be gotten around. The trail is in great shape. No special equipment needed. The road to the TH is also in great shape.
|2012-05-26||Route: Harvard and Columbia Traverse
Info: I started hiking at 3am. I headed to Harvard first. The trail below treeline is 95% free of snow. Just a few small banks here and there. It really is a "treepocalypse" out there. It looks like Paul Bunyan was playing a 10 foot tall game of pick up sticks on the trail in some places (Image 1: Yes, the trail is under that). It was easy to lose the trail while navigating around the roadblocks in the dark, but with a little traversing, it wasn‘t hard to find the trail again. Above treeline, there are a lot of snow patches, but they‘re easy to avoid (Image 2: the canyon approach to Harvard ridge). As I ascended the ridge to Harvard, there was a snow field that could not be avoided, but the snow was stable and easy to walk on at about 8am Image 3: The snow patch on ascent to Harvard Ridge). There‘s some snow on top of the Harvard ridge heading over towards Columbia, but didn‘t present a challenge. I descended to the east side of the connecting ridge. Here there is a large snow field (Image 4: Large snow field on east face of connecting ridge). There‘s a lot of snow, it was about 11am, and I post holed a little bit, but we‘re talking maybe 10 times crossing the whole thing, so it wouldn‘t have been worth lugging snowshoes. However, it would‘ve been great to have hiked Columbia first. That way I could have glissaded the entire snowfield instead of climbing it. The snow field ends as you reach the final ascent ridge to Columbia and it‘s just rocks from there to the top. I peaked Columbia around 1pm. On my return, I dropped off of the ridge a bit too late and ended up picking my way down an unstable slope in the large drainage coming down from the peak. I was surprised to find myself in a different drainage than the main trail. After consulting my map, I followed the stream in that drainage to where it linked in with the main creek and found the trail again. It was much easier to keep track of the trail while going around the "treepocalypse" in the daylight. I was back at my car at 4pm.