Ascent of Mount Columbia on 2017-08-20

Climber: Shane Kramer

Others in Party:Daniel Neman
Date:Sunday, August 20, 2017
Ascent Type:Unsuccessful - Turned Back
    Motorized Transport to Trailhead:4x4 Vehicle
Peak:Mount Columbia
    Elevation:13100 ft / 3992 m

Ascent Trip Report

Headed up Frenchman Creek, camped at treeline, left at 8:30 to grab 2.5-ish miles to Columbia's summit. Got to about 13,100 and a few things caused me to go back:
1) We got a late start. Clouds were forming, I was out in the open country, the route was extremely steep an at 10:30 I still had over a mile and 1000 vertical to go.
2) My hiking buddy turned around at 12,400 because he was still battle an injury.
3) I was out of energy.
4) I was not exactly sure where I was on the map, due to steep scree/talus area above/in front of me. It turns out I was in the correct place. If I redo this route, I might just follow the Frenchman Creek trail all the way to the bowl, and then head up, just as others do from the Harvard Saddle.
5) I left my music back.
6) No phone battery.
7) Considered that no one would know for quite some time if I did get hurt, since I was the only person out there.
8) Surprisingly slow going without a trail.

* So I broke the rule of three, and did turn back, after pacing around for about 5 minutes trying to decide what to do. It was probably a good call because weather had come in all around the peak by noon, and lighting, hail, precip had hit by 12:30. I am not sure how far down I would have made it. I still do not feel great about turning around.

* Also of note, the road to the actual trailhead is a little on the gnarly side. I got my Subie up there twice (scouted drive once), but it was not easy.

* The campsite at treeline was fantastic. There is a good, reliable water source there (Frenchman Creek), and flat ground and fire pits. There is also excellent camping at 12,800 and just above the Colorado trail (like 4-5 site all together) at 10,900.

* The path I took, from trip report posted below, was super steep,(1500 feet in a mile). If I took Frenchman creek to Rabbit Ridge/Frenchman Bowl, it might be better (though still 1800 feet in 1 mile).

Trip report I used:
My photos:
Summary Total Data
    Elevation Gain:2900 ft / 883 m
    Extra Gain:50 ft / 15 m
    Distance:8 mi / 12.9 km
    Route:Frenchman Creek Trail
    Trailhead:Frenchman Creek Trailhead  10300 ft / 3139 m
    Grade/Class:Class 2
    Quality:7 (on a subjective 1-10 scale)
    Route Conditions:
Road Hike, Maintained Trail, Unmaintained Trail, Open Country, Bushwhack, Stream Ford
    Gear Used:
Ski Poles, Tent Camp
    Nights Spent:1 nights away from roads
    Weather:Pleasant, Calm, Clear
Ascent Statistics
    Time Up:4 Hours 
Descent Statistics
    Time Down:3 Hours 

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