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Mount Harvard, Colorado
July, 1988
14,420 feet

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Map of route 
Mount Harvard
Mount Harvard from Horn Creek  below Bear Lake
Rich on the summit of Harvard
Rich on the summit of Harvard.  Mount Columbia is to the left.
View from Summit
View of Horn Creek basin from Harvard summit.

Mount Harvard was the first mountain I climbed, as well as the first Rocky Mountain backpacking trip I had ever taken. I took this trip with several older scouts from Boy Scout Troop 332 of Hurst, Texas. We hiked from the trailhead near Buena Vista the first afternoon, and set up camp just above the treeline along Horn Creek at about 12,000 feet. Mistake! That afternoon, a large thunderstorm rolled in with a lot of wind. The Horn Creek Basin acts like a wind tunnel, and our tents were blown to bits. Casualties: several tent poles, one rain fly, and a lot of wet gear. Fortunately, all were semi-repairable, although the tent parts had to be replaced after the trip. Spent the rest of the evening fixing tent poles and watching the marmots. 

The next day, we hiked to the summit. On the way up, the skies started to cloud up, the wind picked up again, and it looked like another storm. Of the two adults and five scouts who started, only myself and two of the kids made it to the summit before the weather got nasty and we had to descend to our camp. We had hoped to traverse over to Columbia, but the weather didn't permit it. 

Over the next few days, we backpacked over to Kroenke Lake, over Brown's Pass to Brown's Cabin, south to Lake Hartenstein, and to the trailhead at Denny Creek. 

Trailhead:  North Cottonwood Trailhead:  From the center of Buena Vista, go north on US 24 for about 0.4 miles to Chafee County 350.  Turn left.  Go about 2 miles, then turn right on Chaffee County 361.  After 1 mile, hang a sharp left on Chaffee County 365.  Follow this road about 5 miles to the trailhead.
Distance:  6+ miles from trailhead to summit.
Climb:  4500 feet.
Class:  Class 1 (trail) to about 12,600 feet, then class 2 (easy off trail hike) the rest of the way.
Route:  Starting at the North Cottonwood trailhead, go west for 1.5 miles to a fork in the trail.  Take the right fork north into the Horn Fork Basin.  Keep following the trail north to the base of Harvard.  Climb up the grassy south slopes to the bolder-covered summit.  
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