Mt. Columbia  
Condition Updates  
Route: Southeast Ridge
Posted On: 2021-12-08, By: malsillars
Info: Spent a good bit of time the last few months clearing downfall on the SE Ridge route. There is a bit more to go after 2022 melt-out, but the trail can be hiked to the breakout without climbing over trees. 
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Route: West Slopes
Posted On: 2021-11-30, By: zahkopunk
Info: Road to the North Cottonwood Creek TH is perfectly clear. Trail started out spotty w/ snow and ice. About 1.5 miles in it finally was pretty permanent for a while. The snow and ice cleared considerably once getting to the east side of the spur that the switchbacks go over when headed to the approach ridge. The approach ridge was also spotty all the way to the summit so I was able to stay up on the rocks for the most part. I did test some of the larger drifts and my leg went a little over knee deep before stopping. Best to stay to the rocks right now. I felt no traction or flotation was needed today, as I was able to keep to shallow snow, rocks, or dirt to get around the few really icy spots. I do imagine that some would rather get traction on as they might find more confident steps with them. I had mine but just wasn't compelled to use them just yet. 
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Route: West Slopes
Posted On: 2021-11-22, By: bethany420
Info: great conditions today! did the whole thing without spikes but we put them on halfway back down to be safe and go faster. snow below treeline but it was packed down no problem. some sections above treeline had snow but it wasn't an issue, like it was not covering the whole trail or not very deep. u dont even need gaiters. the only sketchy spot was right at the very top where u go down the false summit to get to the summit. snow between the rocks seemed a little deep so we had to be careful and stay on the boulders. we were the only one on the mountain which was nice. one sketchy spot on the dirt road that needs higher clearance/4x4 but the rest of the road was nice 
Route: West Slopes
Posted On: 2021-11-20, By: Wentzl
Info: Breezy day on Columbia. Lots of packed snow and ice on the lower trail, but plenty of sticks and rocks to walk on so no spikes needed. Absolutely no need for an axe, no snow at all up high. Saw one other car in the N Cottonwood Trailhead and footprints heading up Harvard, but no other people on the mountain. 
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Route: West Slopes
Posted On: 2021-11-07, By: bangerth
Info: Thin snow for 50% of the trail in the forest and on the lower half of the ascent of the slope, and on most of the upper half of the slope. Winter boots were helpful but none of us used microspikes. Winter is definitely here -- howling winds on the ridge and on the summit. 
Route: West Slopes
Posted On: 2021-10-30, By: RWSchaffer
Info: The Columbia trail was covered by thin snow where it leaves the Harvard trail (photo 1) but rapidly leaves the trees for south facing slopes that were almost entirely melted out (photo 2). Aside from a few eight inch postholes, almost all of the minimal remaining snow was at most ankle deep. The summit ridge was fairly clear as well (photo 3). I carried but did not use spikes. 
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Route: West Slopes
Posted On: 2021-10-12, By: Mark Goldstein
Info: The road up and trailhead were all dry up to the summit. Several stream crossings noted. Thank you CFI for the switchback and trail improvements. The morning temperature was 30 degrees at treeline. The summit was 43 degrees. No wind noted. Clear weather and sunshine throughout the day. 
Route: West Slopes
Posted On: 2021-09-27, By: pejapor
Info: Perfect summer conditions to the top. The trail is a dream up to around 13,000. Thank you to every organization and person that put in that massive amount of hard work on that trail. It's almost worth an out and back hike to 13,000 alone just to enjoy such a perfect trail. After 13,000, it's the usual steep 14er braided loose rock and gravel. On the ridge, clear and easy to the top. 
Route: West Slopes
Posted On: 2021-09-07, By: Harlan U
Info: Climbed Columbia on the 5th with a friend of mine. The road to the trailhead was better than I remember, but there was a single spot with some pretty intimidating ruts. We made it over in a 4WD Nissan Murano. Several cars parked just below this obstacle, but doing so would likely add 4-6 miles to your round trip. The parking lot is large, but was mostly full. Only a few people chose to ascend from the trailhead, most parties choosing to backpack in. There are lots of great camping spots near the Harvard-Columbia trail split off. The trail from the parking lot to the split off is in good shape, but is pretty difficult to backpack. Somehow this ~3 mile segment seems twice as long going back down. The fork between Harvard and Columbia is now marked with a sign, and the route is very clear. A great CFI trail ascends about halfway up Columbia, but later turns into a unpleasant, poorly defined Class 2 climb around 12,500 feet. Just before the summit ridge, there is a particularly difficult section of trail that I would rate as Class 2+ or Class 3. Using handholds was necessary ascending this. The summit ridge itself is pretty mild compared to the rest of the climb. On the ridge, the route is very poorly defined. Try to stay to the very top of the ridge for the best trail. The final small gully just before the top requires some boulder-hopping. Conditions at the summit were great, with virtually no wind. The weather on our trip was perfect, but don't let clear skies deceive you. On an ascent of Harvard in 2020, the skies were completely clear for the whole climb, but there was a surprise thunderstorm later in the afternoon. This climb is certainly more difficult than many of the "easy" 14ers, such as Bierstadt, Handies, Elbert, Etc. 
Route: West Slopes
Posted On: 2021-08-15, By: RogerHiker
Info: Great weather. Saw maybe two or three dozen people on the trail to Mt. Mt. Columbia. The Colorado Fourteeners Initiative has done an amazing job of building a new trail. I can't imagine what it would have been like to hike before the new trail. One guy I saw - who hiked it 18 years ago - described it as the worst of the Fourteeners. That said, the roughly mile or so after the new trail ends - before you hit the ridge - remains sand and scree. Difficult but far from impossible going up that section. Poles were essential for me in getting down without slipping. Awesome views from the top. 
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Route: West Slopes
Posted On: 2021-07-08, By: kalestew
Info: Summer conditions with one easily avoidable & small snowfield on the ridge. New & improved trail has very well made switchbacks 
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Route: West Slopes
Posted On: 2021-07-04, By: courtneyeggers
Info: Great day yesterday! We started at 0340 and had a few snowflakes in the air and a bit of fresh snow on the trail. Trail had some soggy spots -nothing too bad, just a few surprise spots; especially in the dark. Also be aware of the numerous horse droppings on the way- also hard to spot in the dark! The newly constructed trail is amazing- and you will really appreciate it after you leave that part. Still some snowfields above 13,000, but nothing that can't easily be avoided. Decent scramble to the top and more false summits than I care for- but a great day! 
Route: West Slopes
Posted On: 2021-06-25, By: GordoByrn
Info: Some pics from this morning. 
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Route: West Slopes
Posted On: 2021-06-20, By: tiffts16
Info: Trail only has a couple snow patches that are less than 20' across so they're easy to avoid and/or cross. The work CFI did on the trail up the west slopes is phenomenal! Easy steps most of the way up the west slopes until the last 1/3 to 1/4 where it becomes a bit looser. Where it starts to become looser, it is a bit harder to follow the trail but look for the karins dispersed along the trail. Overall, summer conditions with a great trail. 
Route: Southeast Ridge
Posted On: 2021-06-17, By: Aostrander
Info: Great trail conditions. Just a few muddy spots and maybe 3 small areas with some snow... no spikes needed. The new trail is really nice - almost makes it too easy but it's nice to be able to relax and enjoy the views instead of rock surfing on the way down... 
Route: Southeast Ridge
Posted On: 2021-06-17, By: Aostrander
Info: Great trail conditions. Just a few muddy spots and maybe 3 small areas with some snow... no spikes needed. The new trail is really nice - almost makes it too easy but it's nice to be able to relax and enjoy the views instead of rock surfing on the way down... 
Route: West Slopes
Posted On: 2021-06-13, By: dfeezell
Info: West slopes route is in summer conditions. 
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Route: Southwest Couloir
Posted On: 2021-06-06, By: dashrsp
Info: Main trail mostly dry until 10,800, then it becomes a creek with patches of snow and mud. After turning off main trail, about 1/4 mile of bog before you reach walkable snow / logs. We turned around at the base of the couloir. Upper half is loaded pretty well, but the lower half is very bare. One small strip of snow that looked climbable, but seemed a bit too sketchy for us. I doubt this line will be climbable after another day or two. It was nearly 70 degrees in horn fork. If you really wanted to ski this line, you could hike in from west slopes (where the emergency exit point normally is) and climb and ski from there. 
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Route: West Slopes
Posted On: 2021-06-05, By: adventurerunner
Info: Not much has changed in the last week. The second half of the trail below treeline is still a cheese grater and the snow is now slush, even at 5am. Snowshoes only helped by providing a bigger footprint to balance on when the snow below me shifted around. Above treeline is 95% free of snow with a couple patches you can walk across without traction. On the ridge from 13700 to the summit is the same with just a couple patches that can be walked on or around. 
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Route: West Slopes
Posted On: 2021-05-30, By: artemavovk
Info: Summer TH is all clear. Trail is relatively clear until a bit after 2nd bridge. Put on snowshoes shortly after the signs for the peaks, but, since everyone else seems to be allergic to snowshoes, the whole trail is like a cheese grater. Switched to spikes above treeline, but most of the trail is clear save for some patches of snow where spikes helped. Went on to do the traverse. Coming off Columbia is relatively clear - couple of ankle-breaking patches of snow between the talus. Had to use spikes and ice axe to regain the ridge a bit early. Once at point 13.5 it was all just scrambling and occasional snow patch. No good photos of Harvard, because hail and thunder rolled over but the peak is basically snow free. Put on snowshoes back for the descent until close to the bridge. The trail is terrible due to others' postholes all the way down. 
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