| Yale - Southwest Slopes
Yesterday, my dad and I tackled the southwest slopes of Mt. Yale, out of the Denny Creek trailhead. This was to be my 13th individual fourteener and 19th fourteener summit, and I think his third or fourth or something like that. He recently started hiking fourteeners for several reasons, including exercise for his hip after a recent surgery and a desire to not be beat by his teenage daughter.
We arrived at the trailhead at six-ish and began hiking at 6:05 AM at a slow pace. We were the second party to register and crossed paths with two other parties before getting above treeline.
About one hour into treeline. Lovely weather.
This trail has a fair amount of elevation gain so we spent a good chunk of time below treeline. At our pace we hit treeline around eight. There were a lot of clouds in the sky, but there were also a bunch of blue patches and the temperature was standard for a fourteener in July. We passed the fork of the new CFI trail and the old closed trail, which is covering up quite nicely.
Speaking of CFI, I passed the Yale volunteer group on the way up and watched them place a couple of tundra plugs. They obviously deserve much praise for their work. The new trail is simply excellent and the old one is becoming less of an eyesore due to them.
Since there were quite a few people on the trail, the two of us split up around 12000 feet, after the first major ridge.
View from about 12000 ft, 8:45 or so
By the time I was within 300 vertical feet of the summit, the weather was starting to get a little touchy. Though there were still blue patches, the clouds were thicker, particularly in the west. There were at least a dozen people in the stretch from 13900 feet to the summit, and it was ten AM with no sign of lightning, so I made it to the summit.
View from the summit
View from the summit
Another summit view
I summitted at 10:20 AM and met up with several people we'd let pass back below treeline. By this point, it had begun to rain very lightly, so that none of us were wet at all but the rocks making up the last 150 feet were wet enough to be rather slippery. It was enough to make staying on the summit for a while a less-than-desirable option, so I had one of the others snap a customary Which Wich summit shot and headed down after no more than eight minutes on top.
After about 20 minutes of descending the weather had worsened a bit and I passed my dad coming up. There was still no sign of lightning and visibility was no issue, so he continued upwards. I warned him about the rocks being slippery (I fell twice in the first ten minutes of the descent).
Ten minutes later, all precipitation had stopped and there was bright blue sky over the summit. Figures.
I spent the rest of the descent going very slowly, because I could. I stopped below treeline for a long lunch break and the two of us met back up in the trees. There were fewer people on the mountain than I had expected, but I passed at least a half dozen parties coming up as I was descending. The weather was fine for at least two hours after 10:45, as far as I know. I got back to the trailhead at two and it began raining lightly again.
All in all, a very good day. This was my first Collegiate climb and my second climb of the year. I hope to be doing many more between now and October.
Thumbnails for uploaded photos (click to open slideshow):