Peak(s):  Mt. Columbia  -  14,075 feet
Date Posted:  08/25/2020
Date Climbed:   08/22/2020
Author:  swesleyc7
 Standard West Route... different from the topo?   

In our experience, the actual round-trip length is closer to 13.5 mi instead of 11.5 mi as is listed on I'm in agreement with many people's opinions: RT lengths are almost always short 2 or 3 mi that of the real-world distance.

Has the CO 14er's Initiative re-routed the standard trail path? The downloadable topo map image from contradicts the actual, built trail. See attached photos for comparison. The red arrows show the topo map path for the "west slope" route... the actual path does not follow this line (Strava screenshot). This is probably why the actual "west slope" route is 13.5 mi instead of 11.5 mi as is listed.

Note: The new app does not show the standard "west slope" route line when selecting the "Highlight route on Main Map" option, where it superimposes a blue line path on top of a Google topo map, allowing you to utilize GPS. This caused confusion and some backtracking, leading us to believe the "Southwest Couloir" was our path. It wasn't until we confirmed with a 3rd party, using a different GPS app, that we realized "west slope" route wasn't showing up... perhaps this is merely an epp error. I've uploaded my GPX.

Overall, the trip went very well. The TH road is rough, but, if one is careful, a 2WD car can navigate the rough spots. SUV's can get over/around the bumps and ruts just fine. 4WD isn't necessary as there isn't much of an incline. The hike itself was pleasant. There are plenty of people this time of year summitting - rain is common now at about 12 or 1pm, so it's best to begin the hike no later than 7am. All components of the path were great, though some sandy portions. It's apparent the CO 14er's Initiative is present and maintaining the trails as there were left tools, shovels, rope, etc. The air quality is somewhat of a concern due to the fires and smoke in the atmosphere, currently. It caused some breathing/sneezing issue.

My GPS Tracks on Google Maps (made from a .GPX file upload):

Thumbnails for uploaded photos (click to open slideshow):
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