If you’re climbing Mount Harvard and/or Mount Columbia, Horn Fork Basin is a perfect launching pad.
Located directly beneath both 14,000 foot peaks, there are direct routes up each, as well as a traverse between the two if you have the ability. Plenty of dispersed camping, a great rushing stream for water, and gorgeous views of all of the peaks around the basin.
After climbing Mount Princeton, I met up with Greg from 14ers.com in Buena Vista, and we took his Jeep Wrangler up the crappy Forest Service road to the North Cottonwood Creek Trailhead. I had come up here last weekend when climbing Mount Yale and it really beats up your car, so very nice to have a climbing buddy with a lifted Jeep!
It’s a little unnerving climbing with somebody new, all of my 14ers have been solo since my buddy SuperDave’s eyesight issues took him out of the climbing scene after our Culebra climb and Colette got wise to 14ers after climbing Handies.
It’s almost like a first date – will I be the weak link? Will he be a liability? How’s the physical fitness? How are the mountain skills? So many things to think about – we will see how tomorrow goes.
A little later start than planned, but since the trail in to the main dispersed camping area is only 3.6 miles and 1600ft of elevation it’s a easy and beautiful walk through the woods.
Definitely two thumbs up for Horn Fork Basin, this would make an excellent backpack even if you weren’t planning on bagging any peaks.
Off to early bedtime and an 0400 wakeup call!

Ready To Go

Ready To Go
Greg is ready to get up the trail and into the Horn Fork Basin.


The Ham

The Ham
This is probably my first ever photo with a wilderness sign.


Fall Colors

Horn Fork Basin Fall Colors
Fall colors are in full swing at elevation in the Rockies!


All Lit Up

All Lit Up
Mount Columbia catches the evening sun as we arrive at our campsite.


Milky Way

Milky Way over Horn Fork Basin
Milky Way high above the Rockies


Starlight Camping

Starlight Camping
Some star trails over our campsite in Horn Fork Basin.


Horn Fork Basin Google Earth

Horn Fork Basin Google Earth
Google Earth visual of the hike into Horn Fork Basin.