June 30, 2007

Harvard, Colombia, and a Goat

I got home a few hours ago from climbing two more 14ers: Mt. Harvard and Mt. Colombia in the Collegiate Peaks Wilderness. I began hiking at 4am, reached the summit of Harvard at 7:15, Colombia at 9:15, and was back to the car at 11:30. Overall, the loop was 13.5 miles and involved about 6000 feet of elevation gain. One of the highlights of the trip was seeing a mountain goat near the summit of Harvard. This was the first goat I had seen in the wild in Colorado (the pet goats on top of Mt. Evans don't count). Other than that, I saw the standard critters (marmots and pikas) including one marmot that was bigger than Keith and Melanie's dog.

I didn't bring a camera on the trip because my past experience climbing other peaks in the area suggested there would be nothing to take pictures of. For some reason, this little sub-area of the Collegiate Peaks was different, and I'll never leave my camera home again.

The other highlight of the trip was the traverse between Harvard and Colombia. The standard route drops over a hundred feet below the ridge to flatter ground before making the traverse. The book I had said that one could stay on the ridge (fairly sharp and steep on both sides), but it would involve 5th class climbing. My plan, since I had plenty of time, was to stay on the ridge until I got to a point where I didn't feel comfortable, at which point I would bail down to the standard trail below me. There was one section that was a bit tricky, the guide book calling it a 5.7 downclimb. It may have been 5.7 for about 4 vertical feet, but I wouldn't be a very good judge because I just jumped down the last little bit. I did see a rappel anchor built of climbing webbing about 25 feet above this section, so I'm sure it was what the book was referring to. The rest of the ridge was class 3/4 and quite entertaining. Overall, this was one of better Colorado 14er climbs I've done.

1 comment:

Ian said...

so now you can say you've soloed 5.7 When do you start soloing 5.12s?