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 Peak(s):  Mt. Harvard  -  14,420 feet
 Post Date:  09/14/2011
 Date Climbed:   09/07/2011
 Posted By:  rockchalker
 Harvard - South Slopes   

There were going to be eight of us this year, at least for the first couple of days. We arrived on Tuesday, September 6, traveling in from Little Rock, Houston, Sugar Land, TX, Prairie Village, KS, Colorado Springs, Syracuse, NY and Hill City, KS for four days of climbing in the Sawatch Mountain Range. Although some of us had been after the Fourteener's for many years, this was to be this group's 4th consecutive year, always arriving the day after Labor Day.

This year's climbing contingent included Tim (AR), Greg (KS), Stranger (TX), Stu (NY), Bill (KS), Mike (CO), Rockchalker (TX) and first timer Daniel (TX). The plan for this year was Harvard (Day 1), Missouri (Day 2), Belford/Oxford (Day 3) and Sherman (Day 4).

After a brief stop for pizza at our traditional lunch venue, Beau Jo's in Idaho Springs, we drove to Buena Vista with plans to go to the trailhead and hike in to around tree line and camp out. This would provide us a head start on the climb the next day. It was cloudy and raining in BV so we ending up spending the night at the Cottonwood Hot Springs Hostel instead of on the trailhead.

On Wednesday morning we were up at 4:30 AM and at the trailhead ready to go by around 6:15 AM. With a 13.5 mile roundtrip ahead of us we knew it would be a long day but we were fresh and ready for the challenge. The weather was uneventful, lots of low clouds with some sunshine and no rain or thunderstorms. We summitted around 11:00 AM and were back at the trailhead by 4:00 PM. First timer Daniel did make his first Fourteener but did struggle a bit with altitude sickness. Luckily we always "carry" a physician (Greg) with us for just this reason. From feedback we had received from others, Columbia was never really in our plan.

After leaving the trailhead we drove to Leadville and spent Wednesday night at the Leadville Hostel, much nicer accommodations and less expensive than the Cottonwood Hot Spring Hostel. Dinner that night was at the Tennessee Pass Cafe in Leadville - great food, large portions and great service as well. On schedule for Thursday was Missouri via Missouri Gulch.

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