Ascent of Mount Harvard on 2011-07-08

Climber: Matthew Nelson

Others in Party:Kathryn Stephens
Date:Friday, July 8, 2011
Ascent Type:Successful Summit Attained
Peak:Mount Harvard
    Elevation:14420 ft / 4395 m

Ascent Trip Report

We started out at the North Fork Trailhead at about 6:15AM with beautiful weather. There were several parties ahead of us, but we didn't see anyone until we got all the way to the final summit push. The hike into and up the Horn Fork basin is long, but not difficult. It provides some awesome views from relatively low elevations, so even if you don't go for the summit, you can get some beautiful views.

Looking up the valley on the way in.

Facing south towards Mt. Yale.

There was a snowfield that we had to climb up. This made for a nice break from the rock and muddy trail we had been on for a while. Kathryn climbing behind me.

Looking west from the summit

Mt. Columbia from the summit

Me on the summit

Kathryn on the summit

There were isolated rain clouds rolling over the whole morning, but no rain fell. We couldn't see what weather was coming until we got all the way up onto the ridge, but the cloud ceiling was slowly rising after a morning low, so we kept going. Once we did reach the ridge, we saw just more isolated rain clouds, and no sign of lightening, so we kept going.

The last mile or so is the real bulk of the climb. I was feeling fine until this point, when the lack of acclimatizing really hit me (I was just in from Boston, so not used to the altitude). I had to take lot of rests to breathe, but we slowly made our way up. We reached the summit about 11:30AM and had it to ourselves. We snapped a few pics, then took off again. The wind was blowing, but not as bad as it could have been.

The descent was fun and seemed really easy. We made our way down a fairly steep snow field, and I slipped and fell, and found myself slowly sliding down the snow field on my butt. "Sledding" down made for a fun and easy decent of the snow field.

Before we reached treeline, we saw some Marmots fighting. It looked like they were Roman-Greco wrestling. It was a neat sight.

We saw several pairs of them fighting, and we had to fight off one that wanted our lunches when we stopped to eat. Other than that, the descent was smooth and easy. We got back to the car at about 4PM after taking our time on the way down.

This was a great hike. The views were probably the best I have seen both from the valley and from the summit, and the weather held out just perfectly.
Summary Total Data
    Elevation Gain:6480 ft / 1974 m
    Extra Gain:1000 ft / 304 m
    Distance:13.5 mi / 21.7 km
    Route:Horn Fork Creek Trail
    Trailhead:North Fork Trailhead  9940 ft / 3029 m
    Route Conditions:
Maintained Trail, Stream Ford, Snow on Ground, Scramble, Snow Climb
    Weather:Pleasant, Breezy, Partly Cloudy
GPS Data for Ascent/Trip

 GPS Waypoints - Hover or click to see name and lat/long
Peaks:  climbed and  unclimbed by Matthew Nelson
Click Here for a Full Screen Map
Note: GPS Tracks may not be accurate, and may not show the best route. Do not follow this route blindly. Conditions change frequently. Use of a GPS unit in the outdoors, even with a pre-loaded track, is no substitute for experience and good judgment. accepts NO responsibility or liability from use of this data.

Download this GPS track as a GPX file

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