Peak(s):  Mt. Harvard  -  14,420 feet
Date Posted:  09/05/2011
Modified:  07/26/2012
Date Climbed:   09/05/2011
Author:  Stee Vee Dee
 Harvard almost perfect  

Most trip reports involve misadventures, unique experiences or educational beta. This report purports to have none of the above. It is unique for me because everything went so very smoothly. In fact, it was almost perfect (no summit tube on top was the only glitch).

Several years ago, we had attempted to reach North Cottonwood Trailhead in a Camry. We determined there was not adequate clearance, and Harvard got put on the back burner. Several years later, with very few class 2 14ers remaining, it was time to reconsider. The original plan was to drive as far as possible up Frenchman Creek and walk from there. We decided to revisit North Cottonwood Road, just in case.

In early September 2011, the road is in excellent condition. The Fusion had almost no problem at all reaching the trailhead, just a few rocks to dodge, but County Road 390 to Missouri Gulch is not any easier at this time. On our reconaissance, we also learned there were no restrooms at North Cottonwood, but there was a restroom either at Silver Creek Trailhead or Harvard Lakes. We appreciate the Forest Service placing a sign advising us of the situation.

At 6:45 a.m., we set forth with a goal of reaching the summit before 1:00 p.m. For once, I reached this goal. Early along the way, the trail splits with a branch to the left for Kroenke Lake and a later branch to the right for Columbia. At that fork, there are small stones spelling out capital H for Harvard and capital C for Columbia. There are views of Columbia Image
Columbia through the trees
along the way as well as the more rugged peaks to the west of Horn ForkImage
Harvard from 11700
Birthday Peak 12730
Distant Harvard on the right
Rugged Point 12789

The excellent trail winds through willows Image
Continuing through Willows toward Harvard
but it is mostly clear which way to go to avoid real willow whacking.Image
Harvard on left and ridge to Columbia
Mount Yale from Horn Fork Basin
Trail continues
Later a spur trail goes to the left to Bear Lake.Image
Bear Lake Shelf
Bear Lake
Beyond Bear Lake
The main trail swings east to avoid a steep section of talusImage
Bypassing Difficulties
and continues toward the saddle between Harvard and Point 13500. Although I did not get many pictures on this ridge, the views to the west are magnificent. As one nears the summit, one sees the crux of the route: a little easy class 3 scramblingImage
Possible Scramble to Summit
. Soon after this I am on top. Image
Summit Cone with Missouri to its immediate right.
As close as I would get to standing on the summit
While waiting for others to arrive, I grabbed a seat on the summit cone and obnoxiously gave directions to those still on their way up Image
Summit Gnome waiting for slackards
A glider circled overhead, but all my attempts to take its picture resulted in pictures of the azure blue sky and nothing more. So I returned to my previous pursuits. Image
Three Apostles on left--Elks on right

After soaking up the sun and enjoying the views Image
Looking down Horn Fork Basin
Columbia with east ridge
Mount Belford from Harvard
Mount Oxford
View east into Pine Creek Valley
Summit View West
and photo shooting Image
Together on summit of Harvard #31 (15 for Beth)
, we head down. The descent is every bit as smooth as the ascent. Image
Yale from summit of Harvard
Heading down
farther down
water stop around 12000
I am back to the Fusion at about 6:45 p.m. for a total hiking time of 10:52. I spent quite a while on the summit.

Harvard is no. 31 and the last for 2011Image
Last view of Harvard--Farewell high country
. Soon, I will have to decide whether to climb more class 3 and 4 or to move on to the 13ers. Talk about a pleasant approach-approach dilemma.

Thumbnails for uploaded photos (click to open slideshow):

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