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|Conditions Information||Posted By||Posted On|
|2016-06-20||Route: Southwest Slopes
Info: Note that the route description is inaccurate. There is a stream at 1.25 miles between the two streams that are mentioned. It has a log dam/bridge to cross it. It happens to come at milepost 1.25 where the route description indicates you should see the sign for the trail junction. The junction is actually further at 1.5 miles. Because there is a short trail to the left at the stream and one obviously to the right across the stream, I, and two other hikers I encountered at this point, were confused because this stream is not mentioned in the route description and it comes at what is supposed to be the trail junction. Both are GPSs confirmed it was 1.25 miles. So note: at 1.25 miles, cross a second stream not mentioned in the route description, and continue to milepost 1.5 for the junction, and then on to the third stream (second in the route description).
|2016-06-18||Route: Southwest Slopes
Info: Climbed Yale 6.18.16 and the route is 99% free and clear to the top. There were a few small snow fields here and there that were no issue. Enjoy!
|2016-06-18||Route: East Ridge
Info: Snow is negligible both going up the East Ridge and down the Southwest Slopes. Basically summer conditions now.
|2016-06-18||Route: Southwest Slopes
Info: Trail is in excellent condition. No snow below the treeline. Only two larger snow patches remain obscuring the trail around 13,000' and the trail is easy to find on the other side about 10-20' away. The trick is to walk on the snow patches and keep an eye out for cairns to pick the trial back up. Snow was hard before sunrise and slushy after it warmed up. The snowmelt running down the trail was frozen in places on the way up, but plenty of room to step around the ice. It all melted when the sun hit. No snow or ice on the trail on or above the saddle. No need for winter gear.
|2016-06-11||Route: Southwest Slopes
Info: Here are some observations from my climb up Mt. Yale via the Denny Creek Trailhead. The second creek crossing had high and rapid water, and the logs were very slick; there is a more stable log and shorter crossing approximately seven yards to the right if you are heading up. There is still snow in the forest just prior to the tree line where the trail is harder than normal to follow; just be patient with route finding and there should not be an issue. The final hill up to the summit ridge has very loose scree and the snow is a post hole nightmare. The best advice on this part of the route is to stay to the far left side of the slope; this will minimize bad scree and snow crossing. Have fun and be safe.
|2016-06-10||Route: Southwest Slopes
Info: Ran up Yale today. Left from the trail head at 6 am. Some of the trees before tree line are still trying to hold on to a little snow but nothing to worry about. Pretty large snow fields as you head up the steep section towards the ridge, frozen pretty hard at 7 am, would've been nice to have some micro spikes but I made it ok in running shoes though I stayed left of the snowfields and gained the saddle on dry boulders. Summit at 8am back down by 915. Not a soul in sight until the last mile or so before the parking lot.
|2016-05-29||Route: East Ridge
Info: Started from Silver Creek TH on the CT heading South, from Cty Rd 365. Just hiking up to treeline (for fun and) to see what snow conditions were like on the Collegiates and snapped this pic of Yale from the East:
|2016-05-22||Route: Southwest Slopes
Info: Trail begins nice and clear. About a quarter mile in you begin to see periodic patches of snow drift. These patches become more and more dense. They are frozen in the morning allowing you the ability to avoid postholing. Around 12k you are in continuous snow all the way to the summit. It is quite impressive how much snow is up there. Used tennis shoes on the way up, snowshoes on the way down. Complete posthole party on the way down. So much postholing that the trail literally looks like it got blown up by mini fighter jets.
|2016-05-21||Route: East Ridge
Info: The trail from the Avalanche trailhead is dry and clear until approximately 1.5-2 miles in. From there on there are large drifts crossing the trail. The higher up you go, the more drifting there is and the harder it is to keep track of the trail itself, though I put in fresh tracks (which did wander a bit, if you follow them). The snow was quite soft and I postholed up to my knees on the way up, and up to my waist on the way down. Snowshoes were of some help in both directions. Once to the clearing where you turn off and start heading west towards the summit the snow is somewhat intermittent. There was plenty of exposed rock, scree, and dirt, and snow cover, where it applies, was anywhere from a dusting to waist deep or more. I triggered a small, wet avalanche near the white tower on the descent, so beware of that area in particular; there is lots of evidence of previous avalanches there. Snow elsewhere was generally solid enough or not steep enough to cause issues. The summit itself was covered completely in good, solid snow, depth unknown. Snowshoes were only marginally useful past the 12,000' saddle west of the turn-off clearing, and I did not need or use spikes or crampons today.
|2016-04-25||Route: Southwest Slopes
Info: Did a moonlit climb of Yale today with a pre-sunrise summit (12:42 am start, 5:40 summit). Boot pack to the Yale turn - used nothing on the way up, spikes on the way down. From the fork, an occasional post-hole, but infrequent enough to get me to put on my snowshoes. I did add spikes though here (up and down). At the moraine, I went up and right and finally broke down and had to put snowshoes on around 12k. No sign of summer trail due to heavy snow coverage, so I just angled towards the saddle. Variable conditions in the snow - sometimes firm, but very often punched through the top layer crust even in snowshoes. Took off snowshoes at the saddle and was back to spikes for the summit ridge. On descent, I just used spikes as I could plunge step down the crusty snow easier than messing with snowshoes. No post-holing on the lower section boot pack, but I was also back at my car at 8:07 am. Prepare for more snowshoe time on the descent if descending in the afternoon sun.
|2016-03-28||Route: Southwest Slopes
Info: Started at 7AM. Made summit by 1:30PM (thought I'd get there by Noon). Underestimated the slow going nature of the last 1 mile stretch but knew I had a good weather report. Trail w/ packed snow until Browns Pass/Yale junction. Then fluffy/recent snow w/ one set of of snow shoe prints (thanks to a hiker I met later!). Should have cut further to East around 11.2K feet but instead went further North up Delany Gulch. Luckily found a trench going East NE at 12.3K feet that was less than 30 deg incline and brought us back to trail at its top. Above treeline there was up to 12 inches of snow above last sun crust. Had to make our own trench to the top. Used snow shoes most of hike except for ridge line. I did that w/o traction in boots. Doable but traction would have been nice.
|2016-03-13||Route: Southwest Slopes
Info: We started at 5am with a steady wind. No snowshoes were required throughout the day, microspikes were definitely helpful above treeline. Above treeline the trail ends due to blowing snow. The best thing you can do is know where the trail goes up to meet the ridge, pick a line and go straight for it. Hunting for the trail was difficult on the way up, crossing some sketchy sections of snice, and powder. Once atop the ridge conditions are superb, the ridge is a fun easy jog to the summit. On the way out, the sun really warmed things up, and the trail became much more visible. Following the summer trail out will put you about a half mile away from the trail back to Denny Creek. If you end up following the trail, prepare to do some route finding back to the north to hook back up with the trail. Some good glissading does exist on the slope, but most sections are hard and fast. On the way out, it was very much spring soft snow, and the trail through treeline needs to be stayed on. Saw multiple people postholing to their hips. Hard to say what conditions will be like in the coming days due to forecasted snow and high winds.
|2016-03-04||Route: Southwest Slopes
Info: Surprisingly, the first 0.2 mile of the trail is really icy. I was able to walk on the edges of the trail to avoid disaster since I don't have micro spikes. Further up the trail the less icy the trail became and after the first quarter mile, the trail became extremely well snow packed with good traction to the Brown's Cabin Junction. No snowshoes required. After the Brown's Cabin Junction the Mt. Yale trail, even with less traffic, is still well packed until out of treeline. The last quarter mile to treeline I postholed a few times but a good eye for hidden trenches can avoid any serious wallowing. I still didn't use snowshoes, but might recommend them for anyone worried about postholing. Above treeline, it is an easy romp with variable snow. Bullet hard snow to soft 2-3 inch soft wind slabs (nothing to worry about in terms of avalanches). The last snow covered slope to the saddle is very hard packed so traction is recommended. Without traction, I was fine using an axe. A well snowpacked trail led me up the final ridge. Again, no traction required; maybe recommended. Bottom Line: Snowshoes are NOT needed. I would still maybe recommend carrying them due to softening afternoon snow and micro spikes might be warranted. Crampons would be overkill. I've attached a GPX link with the current trench which varies a little from the summer trail. https://www.dropbox.com/sh/5rc6q5el6qhrhji/AAD27j71u-Du6Ozb-ifimhlHa?dl=0
|2016-02-20||Route: Southwest Slopes
Info: Going up, the trail was nicely packed, a couple inches of newer snow. Need Snowshoes near 11,200 until 12,200... if familiar with the trail... the rocky treeless narrow slope... a couple hundred yards before that is when we put on snowshoes. We did not follow the standard trail once we hit that slope.) Above 12,200, a mix of windblown rock and bands of snow, some hard some soft. We basically went straight up, crossed the trail occasionally on the far left. Coming down, at about 12,200 we put snowshoes back on and it was like mashed potatoes until we got into the thicker trees, and we wore the shoes almost the entire way out. It was warm and sunny today.
|2016-02-13||Route: Southwest Slopes
Info: Climbed Mt. Yale yesterday with great conditions overall despite some wind. Nicely packed and identifiable trail up to the stream crossing just above 11,200‘ at which point we reached a fork in the trail. We took the more direct trail to the East (summer trail continues northward and traverses back later on) which ended soon after a steep section; however, we were able to gain access to a nice but steep ridge mostly free of snow that lead to treeline (try not to venture too far south here where there is evidence of a seemingly recent small avalanche). We were greeted with a mixture of bare grass/dirt and a firm wind-blown snow crust from treeline all the way to the summit. We picked up bits and pieces of the summer trail but it proved hard to keep track of. We bare booted up to 11,200 before dawning the MSR lightning ascents which we then removed at treeline. The last steep push to the summit requires traction and the lightning ascents handled it very well. Great climb.
|2016-01-25||Route: Southwest Slopes
Info: I did Yale and had a really nice, relaxing, half day out in the mountains. There is a good, hard track in place all of the way to treeline. There are steeper sections towards the end that are more difficult. Skiers beware. Ski crampons would be nice for this part and the sun crust higher up. Otherwise it is packed enough to boot up it. Once above treeline it is mostly windblown, but you can link up a descent line. This area did not see much accumulation from the last storm, just a dusting. It is possible to ski from 14,000 feet. There is a supportive sun crust and variable conditions to below 13k where it is possible to hop in a gully and then the snow is much better. At and below treeline the snow is in poor condition and it is difficult to float. The packed trail is dicey in places on the way down. Have fun.
|2016-01-23||Route: Southwest Slopes
Info: Heavily traveled hard packed trench all the way from the trailhead to the fork in the trail where you must veer right to head to Yale (marked by a sign). Almost all the traffic went left there. Only two sets of footprints were visible in the snow on the Yale route. Getting to the stream crossing near 11,200‘ was simple enough, but from that point on it is almost impossible to find the trail. Snow is deep and powdery beginning at the stream crossing. Snowshoes are absolutely essential. Instead of veering to the right after crossing the stream, our group went left, so that‘s where the tracks now lead. But that will take you way off the trail, through very steep terrain that is difficult in snowshoes. Although we all made it to the summit, we blazed our own path beginning at the stream crossing. During our descent, we picked up the trail a few times, but we eventually lost it for good, so we followed our own tracks back to the stream crossing. In other words, navigation is extremely difficult right now because of the snow (and that is before the storm predicted for January 24-25). Overall, this was a very difficult climb. I was with a group of several experienced hikers/climbers, and it took us more than nine hours round trip. It was an extremely arduous day, and I think all of us seriously considered turning back more than once. The main reason I didn‘t turn back was that the weather was so nice, so I knew I didn‘t need to worry about getting stuck in a storm. My advice: Do not attempt this climb unless you are prepared for a very long and exhausting (mentally and physically) day, and you have the gear to do it right. You will not make it without snowshoes and microspikes. Having said that, it sure was beautiful up there.
|2016-01-23||Route: Southwest Slopes
Info: From Denny Creek TH to first creek crossing is very obvious and trenched out. Just about the same until the second creek crossing, but soon after there is a fork. I took to the left and made it to treeline shortly after (it looked like the right path ended very quickly anyway). No summit for me yesterday due to being slow and out of shape (called it around 12 and felt great shame), but made it almost to top of first big shoulder. The rest of the trail seemed pretty obvious and wind-scoured. Hopefully the light snow last night left the nice big trench through the trees easy to follow. Go get it!
|2016-01-12||Route: Southwest Slopes
Info: There is a well-compacted trench up to 11,900 feet. From there, it is mostly firm, wind-blown snow until the final 800 feet or so. Some groveling is necessary to reach the summit. I brought snowshoes and crampons but used neither.
|2016-01-04||Route: East Ridge
Info: The initial south facing hillside with switchbacks had very little snow and was well traversed. A mile or so in only two snowshoe tracks made up the trail. These stopped at 2.5 miles or so prior to the ascent up the last hill to the ridge. We took a more windswept route to the ridge that we thought would minimize postholing since we opted to leave snowshoes in the car. We still did a lot of that until we got to the low point of the ridge (picture of east ridge was taken at 12,100 or so). From then on, the route to the summit was windswept and consisted of walking over/climbing talus and consolidated snow. On the way back, since postholing was inevitable, we took a more direct route that bypassed the slight ridge climb to 12,100‘. Snowshoes would have saved us hours and is recommended. There was a good amount of tracks on the summit. From there the standard/southwest slopes route looked more traversed. The road was plowed past the avalanche gulch trailhead.