Peak(s):  Mt. Columbia  -  14,073 feet
Date Posted:  08/25/2009
Modified:  12/03/2009
Date Climbed:   08/21/2009
Author:  gpeoples
 Mt. Columbia - Last of the Sawatch  

Hiked into the horn fork basin and camped at around 11K feet in the beautiful trees. Built a nice camp fire
and enjoyed early evening. The star gazing was spectacular.


After a late breakfast Friday morning of coffee and eggs, hit the trial at 7am. I knew the main trial turn off from
previous experience, but someone had creatively marked the Harvard/Columbia junction very nicely.
Look for the big "C"....


After a few minutes you cruse through the pines and old camping spots that are off limits for re-vegetation.
You then hit another trial junction, staying straight takes you to horn fork basin, going right leads you directly
up the hill past tree line and up the gully towards Columbia which of course was my main goal for the day.

After making it to around 13K I ran into some fellow 14er climbers, Sorrel and Elisabeth. Had some nice views of
Harvard off our left shoulder as we assended the gully.

Harvard shot close to 13K...

We had an enjoyable rest of the climb and were happy to make it onto the ridge leading to the summit.

Columbia Summit push

We then zommed over the few false summits to finally arrive on top of Columbia. We rested for some time
since it was a beautiful "Blue Sky Day." We also met Ryan who arrived almost at the same time on the Summit.
We were all surprised with the great weather and lack of wind that had plagued most of us on a few recent 14ers.

View towards Princeton

Summit view towards the South

Bear Lake below

We also met another 14er member on the summit, Kent, AKA "The Old Fart." We all headed down at the same time and enjoyed some
old war stories of past climbs.

Group shot on summit..Courtesy of Kent Withers

Columbia to Harvard traverse - Horn Fork Basin below...Courtesy of Kent Withers

Sorrel and Elisabeth heading down the last false summit...

We couldn't believe it, but for Ryan, Sorrel and Elisabeth, and myself(Greg); this was our last 14er in the
Sawatch Range. So this was a great celebration for us all. We finally made it down the slope, slipping several
times, and falling on our butts a lot. Half the group left blood on the trial from scraped arms, fingers, and hands.
As most know it is hard to stay on your feet on the Columbia down-climb. But it was a successful trip.

Sitting down on the job...Courtesy of Kent Withers

We parted ways at my camp-site and hopefully some of us will hike another 14er together again. I hope you guys
will PM me with your contact info. and maybe we can do Mt. Lindsey in the Sangre's if your up to it before the
snow flies. Would like to exchange a few summit shots as well, some of mine didn't turn out.

It was a great trip even though I probably got only a few hours sleep the night before. Conditions that night were
clear at around 37 degrees, so it is starting to really get cool at least in the Sawatch at night.

Thumbnails for uploaded photos (click to open slideshow):
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11

 Comments or Questions
The Old Fart
Great day and great company
08/25/2009 10:55
Hi Greg, Ryan, Soral, and Elizabeth,
This is The Old Fart, aka Kent. Contact
Hey, I made the red cabbage and it came out great! I did sneak in a little sugar, not much.
This Friday, I‘m looking at Lincoln & Democrat, but I could be persuaded to go for Mt. Lindsey if we get a group together. Or I can do Lindsey on a Saturday as I‘ve used up my vacation days climbing on Fridays. Let‘s see if I can figure out how to attach some of my summit shots here. --Nope, no Upload Attachment tab visible. I‘ll try later to post a mini trip report so I can attach some pix. As a safety back-up, ping me with your email and I‘ll send direct. I have a great pix of the 4 of you on Columbia summit, so send me your emails and I‘ll forward.


Enjoyed it as well.....
08/25/2009 18:02
Hi Kent, glad you made it back in one piece. You must have flown out of the valley. I packed up my camp and zoomed out to the parking lot. Got to say a final hello/goodbye to Sorel and Elizabeth. I looked for you, but sure you were headed down the 4X4 road. I won‘t be able to make Friday, But maybe something in the near future. This Sunday looks open and I do need Lindsey, but haven‘t worked out logistics yet. Talk later.

Elisabeth Barkey
Sorrel and Elisabeth
08/30/2009 22:54
We enjoyed our group adventure so much. We were talking about doing Lindsey or Humbold next Sunday(9-6-09). Kent, that‘s great your red cabbage turned out well. I made a batch myself today.
The best
Elisabeth and Sorrel

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