Tag Archives: Mt. Columbia

Mount Harvard and Mount Columbia: Part 3

(At long last: the final part to one of our 14er climbs last August. If you want to refresh your memory, here’s Part 1 and Part 2.)

When Team B (Dad, Mom, and I) reached Mt. Columbia’s ridge, it was extremely windy. So windy you had to lean forward into the wind. It took us awhile to traverse the ridge.

IMG_3364The clouds were pretty as they blew quickly over the mountain tops.

A practical hint if you’re using your iPhone for pictures on a long hike. Invest in a small, external battery charger. Here’s the link to what I have, and the black is on sale (update: blue is no longer on sale) now for only $9.99 from Amazon! I love mine (okay: I do have the pink one)! Make sure to see if your phone is compatible with this charger. The Amazon link is an affiliate one. Read our disclosure/privacy policy here.

IMG_3351After climbing over multiple false summits, we finally reached the real summit. Ahhhh. There’s really quite an amazing feeling to summit another 14er.

IMG_3372IMG_3381We took pictures, and we were also in radio contact with Team A. Sadly, with the temperatures and wind, we knew we couldn’t stay long on the summit and wait for the rest, so we began our descent.

Meanwhile, Team A was quite exhausted, but they kept pushing. They had an intense traverse, and despite obstacles, they maintained their cheerfulness.

IMG_7964IMG_7969The last summit was in sight!

IMG_7985IMG_8006IMG_8014IMG_7990IMG_8028When they reached the top, they also took pictures and were surprised to find a mountain goat enjoying the scenery too.

Team A didn’t spend long on the summit, as they knew the descent on Columbia would be hard. We were grateful for our iPhone app RunKeeper, which we had been using since the beginning of the climb. Team B had found the route difficult to find going up, and there were certain routes you did not want to take going down (like catching the gully). RunKeeper was perfect as we consulted it to make sure we had the right path going down. We also radioed to Team A to try to help them get on the right path.

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It was a rough descent. Tiredness, pain, exhaustion, and slippery slopes made it difficult. You ended up sort of sliding down different sections.

IMG_3459Finally, we all met up in the forest! Praise the Lord!

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It had been a long, hard, incredible day, but we made it. Well, almost. We then experienced a thunderstorm in the forest, along with lots of rain. But I think that just added to the adventure. We put our phones in waterproof compartments, dug out rain coats, and sloshed through the forest.

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They could still smile for a group picture. Good job, y’all!

Climbing mountains is a beautiful analogy of our journey as Christian.

  • It’s physically hard.
    • We face challenges in life.
  • Company helps.
    • Fellowship with other believers is a great encouragement.
  • The views are gorgeous.
    • God’s blessings abundantly fill our lives.
  • Carbs, protein, water, and even electrolyte chews or drinks are a must.
    • Reading God’s Word is essential.
  • When you reach the top, you realize the climb was worth it.
    • Heaven is our final destination, and words can’t describe what it will be like!

Love,
Sarah

“I press toward the mark for the prize of the
high calling of God in Christ Jesus.”
Philippians 3:14

Mount Harvard and Mount Columbia: Part 2

–With all the wedding and trip posts, I never got our 14er summits finished. But, I’m not leaving them undone. If you want to refresh your memory, here is Part 1. I’ll be sharing some Christmas pictures later, but for now, here’s Colorado!–

Team A (Joseph, John, Anna, Jesse, and Mary) saw wonderful progress and made Harvard’s summit at 7:20 local time. Pretty amazing! They enjoyed a cold and windy but beautiful summit. The clouds and sunrise made for a dramatic light show that morning.

This doesn't look so hard, but actually they had to climb a rock that required you to hold on, and if you let go, well, you don't want to go there!

This doesn’t look so hard because the picture doesn’t show the exposure to the right, but just below the summit they had to scramble a rock which proved to be one of the more interesting places of the climb.

Way to go, y'all!
Way to go, y’all!

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After consulting the weather and deciding it didn’t look prohibitive, they decided to start the traverse.

IMG_7896They were one member short as John decided to head back and do some work in town. On John’s way off the summit, he made a new friend (check the picture).

Talk about a selfie! I guess the goat got the memo too.
Talk about a selfie! I guess the goat was pretty pleased too.

Meanwhile, Team B (Dad, Mom, and I) began the steep trek up one of Columbia’s slopes. It did look daunting, but we knew that step by step, we’d make progress. As we climbed, a young lady caught up to us, and we enjoyed talking. Then, she went ahead. She disappeared after awhile, which meant our path wound around the mountainside. Due to the loose rock (also known as scree), it made the climb unpleasant. I knew if it wasn’t pleasant going up, it wouldn’t be pleasant going down. But that part didn’t have to be faced at the moment. As we climbed higher, the wind grew stronger.

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Back to Team A. They were attempting to accomplish what is considered a rigorous mountaineer experience.

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Here you see the traverse to Columbia. Yes, it’s that far off.

They followed the cairns and light trail which generally stayed to the right of the ridge. They then crossed to the left of the ridge and descended into the basin to avoid a section of the ridge that was practically impassable.

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After they started descending towards the basin, route-finding became significantly more difficult. Cairns disappeared and there was certainly no semblance of a trail to follow. When they started traversing below the ridge, the terrain became rough and they found themselves scrambling across fields of boulders the size of cars.

In many ways the back side of ridge was a bit of a box as there was no easy way to continue descending into the valley, and the best way out was over Mt. Columbia (which wasn’t visible). This element, and the fact that thunderstorms were likely coming that afternoon as evidenced by the clouds starting to develop, made the lack of navigation quite disconcerting. They prayed and asked for the Lord’s wisdom as they pressed on. It was a stretching time for them, as it was an uncomfortable feeling not knowing for sure if they were on the right route.

This is the basic they descended into to avoid the ridge.
This is the basic route they descended into to avoid the ridge.
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Here Columbia’s summit is easily visible before they descended into the basin. Notice how far off it still is?

After perhaps a 1/2 hour of scrambling and pushing on, they started coming across an (very) occasional cairn, which was an answer to prayer.

I’ll finish up with Part 3 sharing the summit stories.

Love,
Sarah

“I sought the LORD, and he heard me,
and delivered me from all my fears.”
Psalms 34:4