Peak(s):  Mt. Columbia  -  14,075 feet
Date Posted:  01/07/2016
Date Climbed:   01/03/2016
Author:  dillonsarnelli
Additional Members:   goingup
 Make Columbia Great Again   

Make Columbia Great Again

Peak: Mount Columbia (14,073')
Dates: January 3, 2016
Trailhead: Harvard Lakes
Distance: 12.5 miles (1/4 mile below TH)
Elevation Gain: 5,000 ft.
Participants: K Bessler, Dillon Sarnelli

"Scree Hell". We've all heard it. This mountain sets the bar so high, it's how we measure every other scree descent in Colorado. It couldn't be that bad, right? Yeah it is. I learned that back in 2012 on a 2 year blitzkrieg to finish the 14ers. It was a solo Sawatch slammer of a weekend that included the standard routes on Shav, Tab, Harvard and that infamous descent of Columbia. Four whole 14ers in one weekend. A feat only a noob could appreciate.

These days my main criteria seems to revolve around the path less traveled. And so three days into 2016, one day removed from the coldest New Year's Day ascent of Massive ever recorded, and just 24 hours before tax season semi-hibernation, I found myself at the Harvard Lakes TH. I'll be honest, until I did some homework, I didn't even know Columbia had a southeast ridge. This probably has something to do with the fact that the ridge itself is almost 5 miles long and wraps around the entire Collegiate Peak Wilderness before reaching Columbia. Keep reading...

Make Columbia Great Again

Make Columbia Great Again

Comments or Questions
Dave B
Your pictures are pretty,
01/07/2016 06:16
And your words are LOL. Nice report, taxman.

Columbia. Hm-m-m-m!
01/07/2016 07:29
Nice going you guys! As much as I’ve loved every mountain I’ve ever been on, Columbia has been the very lowest on the totem pole. But with snow covering the scree crap, it might not be that bad; and it looks, oh! so much better! (and K, I thought you were in CA again?)

Loved your parting shot, Dill! That is simply gorgeous!! I might just have to go back and repeat that peak again someday! And I hope you don’t hibernate too long and can get out a few more weekends this winter.

01/07/2016 08:51
WTF is a snapchat.

Instagram celebrities
01/07/2016 10:00
She has OVER 22k followers. She is good, isn’t she? Now I just have to convince you two to come on some of my winter 14ers
Also to REALLY appreciate Columbia, one needs to learn how to ski Hint - SW Gully!!

p.s. No idea what Snapchat is either.

The ridge....
01/07/2016 10:12
That ridge might be long, but definitely preferable over the scree hell on the standard route. Did the ridge in summer conditions, winter is a whole other level of LONG DAY ! Congrats. Yeah, I’m a geek and have no idea what a snapchat is either. Or a hashtag. I want to be less "connected", certainly not more. Comes with my old age I guess.

01/07/2016 10:17
You finally found someone who could keep up with you eh, Dillon? Nice, nice report.
Happy Tax Season..... (yeah, right...)

01/07/2016 11:21
I could NOT keep up with him. He left out one very key detail, and that is how extreme he got in the last 2.5 miles and how I thought the forest monster was going to eat me.

01/07/2016 11:27
Beautiful pictures, we did columbia via three elk creek and had a great climb and ski, so I know you can make that mountain great too

01/07/2016 11:36
Aw, c’mon. I have seen how fast you move. Rumor has it that you even outrun California bears..

01/07/2016 12:34
So just a Wheaties Day? You should have added Harvard for a Chipotle Burrito Day.

Upon closer inspection, I think you’re reading a map in that second picture, not riding the summit log. Bummer.

01/08/2016 10:10
Dr. Dave - how much Christmas money did you spend at BD? haha. 2016 - The year of the Sangre and the Wemi. Hope you’re getting ready for our expedition.

Doug - thanks! all things in life deserve a 2nd chance (or something like that). It’s a slog, and granted I seem to like slogs and torturing myself, but I bet Columbia’s eastern ridge routes in summer would be a fun day.

Danny - hahaha, obviously my 1st question too, except I phrased it something like, "K, WTF, isn’t snapchat how 13 year old hornballs sext each other?" K says no.

Natalie - Horn Fork Basin looked like it was in prime skiing form. I’m considering buying a treadmill and working from it for the next 98 days. Keep me in the loop!

Vicki - Thanks! I may go back in there this year and hit more of those Collegiates from the CT and slog away. Nice work on doing it in summer. I imagine you probably didn’t run into too many people on that ridge Oh and you’re not old.

Jay - we talked about you out there. All good stuff, obviously! PS- There’s no such thing as a happy tax season...

K- haha. On a serious note, forest monsters are no laughing matter! Also you fall more than me, so there’s that. Thanks for a great day out there! You were a champ on that ridge. Surprisingly, there aren’t many people who can appreciate the best part of the day in the hills, the post climb meal, even if your’s was Vegan, so a big thanks for that too. PS - I may or may not have a snapchat account now. Oh and I also have 7 new Instagram followers!

Rob - thanks! Nice work making columbia great again too Thought about hitting it from 3 elk, but wasn’t sure how much swimming in the trees would be required to get in and out of there.

Ben - I’m saving the Chiptole for our next attempt at Daly and Cap in a 1/2 day. I wonder if that dude we saw on the saddle is still up there.

Cheers all and thanks for reading it!

01/08/2016 15:41
You should get a Selfie Stick.

01/08/2016 18:34
Luke, i keep my selfie stick next to my skis.

Love this route
01/09/2016 21:34
Tried this route in June and turned around postholing high on the ridge; gave it another try (successfully this time) in July. The scenery looks even nicer in winter. Nice job, and thanks for sharing!

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