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Ascent of Mount Harvard on 2009-08-29

Climber: William Musser

Others in Party:Marc Holder to summit - everyone from basecamp out to car
Date:Saturday, August 29, 2009
Ascent Type:Successful Summit Attained
Peak:Mount Harvard
    Location:USA-Colorado
    Elevation:14420 ft / 4395 m

Ascent Trip Report

Awoke and began to move camp at around 9 AM. Decended from Camp 3 @ Elevation 12,250 at twin lakes and descended along Pine Creek to set up Base Camp 4 at Elevation 10,950 along side Pine Creek. Took an hour getting water and setting up a new campsite. Miguel's ankle was swollen from the backpacking descent of twin lakes and Bryan and Scott decided they would recover at Base Camp. Marc and I and then left with our day packs and traveled to the junction of the Pine Creek Trail and South Pine Creek Trail (where the mining camps are located).

We headed down and crossed Pine Creek at Elevation 10,750. Then ascended up the very steep South Pine Creek Trail to the Northeast shoulder that intersects the trail. Mistakenly ascended the NE shoulder instead of decending the So. Pine Creek Trail (we were going to ascend Harvard from the more widely used eastern ridge (what Roach refers to in "Colorado's Fourteeners" as Route 14.3 "East Ridge II")

Once we realized we were on the wrong ascent, we checked the topo maps and decided to attempt the NE Ridge (or shoulder) by aiming for USGS map Point 13374 (mistakenly labeled at the time as 12374 but now corrected). This route has no trail but we did find some cairns left by previous mountaineers. The route takes you by another abandoned mine and was relatively grassy and rolling terrain. A needed reprive from the very steep mule trail route called the South Pine Creek Trail.

The bottom of the shoulder is gentle with much grass and some rock and some indications of both game and mountaineer use. We saw nobody using this route this day. As the shoulder gains in altitude it becomes increasingly steep and more rocky with a lot of loose material that was tricky when you stayed within the game and mountaineers paths. Nearing the top there was a typical smooth saddle guarded by some large slabs of granite on both sides.

It was very late in the afternoon and clouds were dropping rain on peak all around us we continued to watch to make sure a thunderhead did not develop and drive us off the ridge. The rain that fell primarily evaporated before hitting us. Approaching 3 PM with and absolute turn around time set at 3:30 i watched Marc blaze up to the saddle and begin scrambling the nearby granite.

I decided i was done for the day and stopped to sit back and enjoy the views at 13,800 when I heard Marc urge me to keep climbing from atop of his perch at the false peak we had been working towards. I summoned another burst of energy and hit the saddle at 3:15 and then scrambled up the false peak and saw Marc upclimbing the last 50 feet of the summit around a quarter of a mile away.

Snow - ice began to fall on us as he encouraged me to summit. He waited as i negotiated around the the final stretch of scrambling and made summit at 3:40. Took some great photos and left at 3:45 with a long trip home to base camp to meet the other three backpackers.

The day closed as a 20 mile hike with around 3.5 miles carrying a 40 pound pack. we climbed from the low elevation of 10,750 at Pine Creek crossing up to the summit at 14,420. The extra gain was from the trip to the creek and during some of the rolling terrain along the backcountry prior to reaching the shoulder then returning back to base camp. The next day we backpacked 8 miles out to our car at the Pine Creek Th at 8800.

Begin gain at bottom at creek crossing EL = 10,750
Vertical loss from Base Camp 3 to Camp 4 = (12250-10950)= 1,300 ft
Vertical loss/gain from Base Camp 4 to creek crossing = 200 feet
Additional trail gains between camp 4 site each way = 100 feet
Backcountry gains each way = 50 feet each way.
Additional Trail gains on next day decent to car = 175 feet.

Add Gain up = 100+50=150
Add Gain down = 50+100+200+175=525

10:30 AM Left campsite and hiked down to Minecamp
10:53 AM met Mark and began at mining cmap to cross Pine Creek
12:00 PM passed 11,00 feet
12:45 PM Began ascent up NE shoulder around 12,000 feet.
3:03 PM Reached 14,000 feet along shoulder below granite columns
3:13 PM Summitted saddle at 14,000 feet
3:32 PM Summitted Harvard
3:45 PM Left Harvard saddle to return to camp
4:53 PM down off Shoulder at Elevation 12,500
6:00 PM Mining camp at 10,700
6:30 PM back to campsite
Summary Total Data
    Elevation Gain:4345 ft / 1324 m
    Elevation Loss:6295 ft / 1918 m
    Distance:20 mi / 32.2 km
    Grade/Class:2, 2+, 3
    Quality:9 (on a subjective 1-10 scale)
    Route Conditions:
Maintained Trail, Unmaintained Trail, Open Country, Bushwhack, Stream Ford, Scramble
    Gear Used:
Ski Poles, Tent Camp
    Weather:Snowing, Pleasant, Breezy, Overcast
overcast raining all around us and snow at summit
Ascent Statistics
    Elevation Gain:3820 ft / 1164 m
    Extra Loss:150 ft / 45 m
    Distance:8 mi / 12.9 km
    Route:So. Pine Cr. Tr. to NE Shoulder (Pt 13374)
    Trailhead:Camp 4 Pine Creek  10750 ft / 3276 m
    Time Up:5 Hours 
Descent Statistics
    Elevation Loss:6145 ft / 1873 m
    Extra Gain:525 ft / 160 m
    Distance:12 mi / 19.3 km
    Route:same in return
    Trailhead:Base Camp 3  8800 ft / 2682 m
    Time Down:3 Hours 15 Minutes
Ascent Part of Trip: Collegiate Wilderness (4 nights total away from roads)

Complete Trip Sequence:
OrderPeak/PointDate
1Mount Belford2009-08-27 a
2Iowa Peak2009-08-28 b
3Missouri Mountain2009-08-28 c
4Mount Harvard2009-08-29 d



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