Home Sports & Leisure Colorado 14ers Mt. Yale

Mt Yale, CO- Elevation 14,196- 05/27/05
Trail: Denny Gulch
Temperature: 50's
Left Denver 6:15
Started hiking 9:00
Summit 1:45
Left Summit 2:30
Back at Trailhead 6:00
Back in Denver 9:00

After last weeks debacle I was determined to make amends. To see my attempt at Yale a week ago click this link. I knew I could make it if I was properly prepared. I was determined that I would take my snowshoes this week no matter how much I thought I didn't need them. To offset the weight I left my crampons and axe in the car but never needed the snowshoes either, go figure. I was so much better prepared this time, even with just 3 hours of sleep I was able to make the summit with no problems.

I drove my wife's car since the road is paved all the way to the trailhead. It uses about half the gas my jeep does. I took this picture while driving near Kenosha pass. I was so sure I did everything right and the weather reports all said it was supposed to be clear today, but this fog didn't make things look very promising.

As I got near Buena Vista the weather had completely cleared and stayed that way all day. Here I am about a mile down the trail hiking among the Aspens just past the turnoff sign for Yale.

There was still some snow around treeline, but not nearly as much as last week. Last week I would have made the summit if I had brought snowshoes, this week I brought them and never put them on. Gaitors were still helpful though. The cooler temps this week kept postholing to a minimum. I tried to make a good snow trail here so I could find my way back down since the real trail was still covered in snow.

You can see the summit here in the middle/top of the picture. You can also see a few guys across the snowfield whom I met on the way up. They were on a trip from Minneapolis. Three out of the four of them made it to the summit and even beat me to the top.

A couple birds on the trail. Ptarmigans or grouse I think?

A big rock and the Yale summit to the right.

Looking down part of the ridge.

Looking up the ridge.

The final stretch to the summit.

Interesting how the wind sculpts the snow up here on the summit.

Those Midwest guys were nice enough to take a picture of me on the summit. This is looking north.

I took a couple pictures of them too. This one came out best. I know its not centered but its not supposed to be. It’s using the rule of thirds and their pose was really cool. To the left is Princeton, and then Antero a little closer to them. Hey guys if you want to download the full resolution file to print out click on this link. Then right click on the picture and choose "save as" to download it to your desktop. I photoshopped it a little so the colors are more balanced and the brightness is adjusted. It should print out to a 8x10 nicely, and maybe even a 11x14.

Here is the second picture facing north. click on this link for the full res picture.

A self portrait at the summit.

The summit view looking south at Princeton and Antero.

I believe this is Columbia on the right, and Harvard on the left. Columbia looks hikable but Harvard still has a lot of snow.

Those guys left the summit about 15 minutes before me. Here you can see them way down in the picture where the snowfields start.

I glissaded down some of the snowfields and almost caught up with them.

Here is that big snow wall I saw last week. Hasn’t changed much.

Once I got down to the bottom of Yale’s shoulder I had almost caught up with the Midwesterners. One had a GPS so I figured I'd follow them through the first part of treeline where the trail was very difficult to find. That was a mistake because they got ahead of me again and I lost their trail. So I went west to try to find my trail from earlier but it had melted out already. I weaved southwest through the trees and ended up getting lost. I was in a real predicament and figured I would have to find my way through the woods heading south. I figured at best I could hope to get to the road by dark and then maybe hitch a ride up or down to my car. I reached a point where it was very steep going down into the valley and figured I went to far west. So I hiked back up over a hill and miraculously saw the tree with another tree leaning on it and knew I was back at the trail. Whew, that was a close one.

This tree on the left is the one I recognized from last week, and earlier in the day. What a sight for sore eyes.

Looking north on the comfortable trail you can see Harvard.


So you think I was exaggerating about how much snow has melted in one week. Well check this out. The picture on the left is this week taken with the canon S70. The right is exactly one week ago in this same spot taken with the Nikon D70. This is the highest log bridge somewhere around 11,000 feet. The difference in height on the pictures is because of the ratio the two cameras I used.

A nice shot looking up at the aspens.

The lower log bridge on the way down. These shots are really hard without the SLR.

Finally almost at the bottom.

I'm not perfect, like today when I lost the trail and had to navigate through the brush to find the trail. But I do try my best and so should you. Leave no trace, spread the word.

Home Sports & Leisure Colorado 14ers Mt. Yale