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Mt. Harvard
standard South Slopes
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Difficulty:
 Class 2 
Ski/Board: Intermediate, D4 / R2 / III  
Risk Factors:Exposure: Moderate
Rockfall Potential: Moderate  
Route-Finding: Low  
Commitment: Moderate  
 
Trailhead:N. Cottonwood Creek
Start:9,900 feet
Summit:14,420 feet
Total Gain:4,600 feet
RT Length:14.00 miles
Duration:User Climb Times
Author:BillMiddlebrook
Updated:6/2019
Weather:NOAA Forecast
Conditions:222 reports
Cell Signal:13 reports
Sheriff:Chaffee: 719-539-2596
Forest:San Isabel
Wilderness:Collegiate Peaks
Quad. Maps:Log In to View
Camping:On Google Maps
Eats:On Google Maps
Downloads:Log In to Download
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Trailhead

Turn west on County Road (CR) 350 (Crossman Ave.) near the center of Buena Vista. This road is less than 1/2 mile north of the stoplight in the center of town. Continue on CR 350 for 2 miles and turn right onto CR 361. After almost 1 mile, turn left onto CR 365 (dirt). Continue on this road for over 5 miles to the trailhead at the end of the road. Turn right into the wooded parking area which loops around counter-clockwise. The trail starts on the west side of the parking area.

Route

1 and 2 show the upper route to Harvard's summit. Locate the trail, walk down to a bridge crossing and follow the excellent trail for 1.4 miles to another bridge - 3. Shortly after that crossing, you'll reach a trail junction - 4. Stay right for Horn Fork Basin and Bear Lake. Hike another 2+ miles to tree line at 11,500' where Harvard can be seen ahead - 5. There are many dispersed camp spots in this area. Continue east then north into Horn Fork Basin . Weave through willows and cross a stream as you approach the north end of the basin - 6. From tree line, hike more than 1.5 miles up through Horn Fork to a trail junction for Bear Lake and Harvard - 7. Stay right and follow the trail to a flat area near 12,600' - 8.

Next, you need to gain a shoulder on the east side of Unnamed Peak 13,588'. Stay on the well-defined trail as it climbs into a talus field on the south side of the shoulder ( 9) and switchback up the rocky terrain to reach the crest of the shoulder . Now at 12,900', you can see the remaining route - 10 and 11. Cross the upper basin and climb the steep slope below Harvard's south ridge, following cairns, rock steps and a fairly well-defined trail - 12. Take your time to stay on the trail as it switchbacks up the slope to reach the ridge - 13.

Turn right and hike north along the right side of the ridge, toward the summit - 14. Finally, near 14,375', reach the summit pitch and crux of the route - 15. Pick your line and climb stable rock to reach the summit - 16 and 17. If you take your time and look for the easiest way up the final pitch, the difficulty can be kept to Class 2.

Skiing?

Leaving the summit: 18
Dropping into an exit gully: 19
Descending the standard route: 20, 21, 22
Exiting the drainage below the south face: 23

Notes

IMPORTANT: This route enters the Collegiate Peaks Wilderness area. Wilderness areas have special regulations and restrictions for party size, dispersed camping, campfires, etc. Also, dog owners should read the wilderness information carefully because some wilderness areas prohibit dogs to be off-leash and/or limit how close dogs can be to lakes and streams. If you have questions about the wilderness area, please contact a U.S. Forest Service office for the National Forest(s) listed above.
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