Ascent of Mt. Harvard August 2023

(Collegiate Peaks, Sawatch Range, Colorado)

Plan to join a group of Rocky Mountain Harvard University Club alumni

in an ascent of Mt. Harvard on August 20, 2023

Registration for this event is Closed as of July 1, 2023


In 1869, Harvard sponsored a group to explore and survey peak elevations in Colorado Territory. The members of this party traveled on the newly opened First/Great Transcontinental (Pacific) Railroad to Cheyenne, Wyoming, then went overland by stagecoach to Denver. The Harvard Geographic Expedition of 1869 to the Colorado Territory found peaks in excess of 14,000 ft, and named the two highest summits they encountered.

Mount Harvard was named in 1869 by members of the first Harvard School of Mining and Practical Geology class, while on expedition with professor Josiah Dwight Whitney, the namesake of Mount Whitney. The same group named the peak next to Harvard Mount Yale, after Whitney's alma mater. The group climbed Yale first, and estimated that it was over 14,000 feet in height. On August 19, 1869, the first recorded ascent of Harvard was made by expedition members S. F. Sharpless and William M. Davis. 


The group called these two the ‘College Peaks’. After subsequent naming of neighboring peaks Mounts Princeton (1873), Columbia (1916), and Oxford (1931), they became known collectively as the Collegiate Peaks.


Inspiring? Is this for you and are you willing to train ahead of time? Don’t forget the acclimatization challenges. Though not technical, this is an ascent not to be taken lightly.  If the answer is ‘yes,’ we hope you’ll join us! Our intent is to summit but, if an individual decides tree-line is far enough, no problem.

Our goal is to trek to Mt. Harvard safely and return in a day, while having fun and camaraderie with our fellow alumni.

Photos from 2023 Trek to Mt. Harvard


A full-day trek beginning at 5:00am to the summit and back of Mt. Harvard on the Mt. Harvard Trail (~ 14 miles round-trip, 4,540 feet of vertical climb), near Buena Vista, CO.  We are aiming to have a group of trekkers who will be on the trail for 10 to 12 hours.

Link to Google Earth view of terrain: North Cottonwood Creek Trailhead to Mt. Harvard


Summit (if desired) to be reached about midday, with ample photo opportunities along the way. 

Lodging at elevation a day or more BEFORE and after is HIGHLY recommended. The latter to be arranged by participants in vicinity of mountain. There will also be a mandatory safety and logistics meeting the evening of Friday, August 18th for all attendees along with a carbo load meal.


Hiking Participants: Adults in excellent physical condition (those under 16 after consultation and approval). Others welcome to join without hiking.

Cost: $50

To help promote a safe and enjoyable experience, the number of participants for the the trek will be limited to 25.

Note: all participants must sign a consent / liability waiver form, prior to the trek.


Click for:   Slides for Information Session May 18, 2023:


Click for: Video: of Information Session May 18, 2023


Charlotte Horton AB'13, email: Charlotte Horton with your questions.
Start: Sunday August 20, 2023, 5:00am (rain date is August 21th) - Yes, it will be dark so plan to bring a headlamp!
Where: North Cottonwood Creek Trailhead, Mt. Harvard Trail (~ nine miles west of Buena Vista, CO)


Ideas for training in preparation for climbing a 14er:


Hiking checklist  

PDF: REI Hiking Checklist - Over 2 Hours

URL: REI Hiking Checklist - Over 2 hours

Training Videos

Train for hiking  REI - Videos for Training for Hiking

Train for backpacking  REI - Videos for Training for Backpacking

Train for 14er  REI Training Schedule for Climbing at 14er


Waiver: Required from Participants