What can one muster to shed light on these spectacles of nature?
Mike and I have had Ypsilon's Y (affectionately referred to as Yippy's Y) on our mind ever since Kimo and company’s masterful take on Hagues, Mummy and Fairchild. Thanks for the beta Kimo!
Our route as seen from Trail Ridge Road
With the day set, the mountain set, the only thing left to set was our alarms for a 2:30 am start from the Lawn Lake TH, but not before an orderly sojourn of Boulder's Wholefoods was made. (make out the endorsement checks to "Fireonthemountain", one word)
We made quick work of the approach in trail runners until we found ourselves off route and postholing, more of this to come.
Once the postholing mercifully ceased above Ypsilon Lake, we were ready to take on the gulley to Spectacle Lakes which entailed some fun scrambling, gambling and slab action.
The clear line in the middle is the right branch, choke can be seen
Our original goal was to do the right branch but after performing a cursory investigation of the choke my findings were..."Uhhh, its a friggen vertical, chasmed wall of ice."
Luckily, Mike is not easily swayed and we agreed to check it out.
And we are off, stoke level is pretty high
What more can I say, the snow was A-M-A-Z-I-N-G. Perfect for climbing, way too hard for skiing. Lucky for us we forgot our skis/board at home but reluctantly brought the points.
Mike's making a worldly mountaineering trip soon so he cordially threw some ice climbing pointers my way and we had fun on some nice ice.
Mike goin to work with the Aces watching
Not only is the couloir oversized eye candy, it also gains 2050' of vert in about 0.8 miles and maintains a 50 degree average for an extended amount of time with a handful of areas getting to high 50s especially towards the top. Consistent cloud coverage also kept the snow from slushing. Life was just peachy.
The choke on the right branch
The choke may have been possible with proper tools and pro, but we would later find out that topping out the couloir would have been tricky. And by tricky I mean quite foreboding. Overhanging cornices would have required a traverse out to precipitous mixed terrain. Perhaps in a snowier year....
Me begining a traverse, I hear basket weaving is a delightful hobby these days...
The cornices up top were sizeable but no match for the Boggster.
Mike topping out
Mike really topping out
Here’s the view we had as we enjoyed our figs and salmon sandwiches. Call it the Bear Grylls treatment minus the 5 star hotel.
A look down
Another option would be to exit left off the left branch and go up this. Looked quite fun actually and the top was a good 60 degrees. I actually think this might be a better ski descent.
After eating we grabbed Chiquita (banana), glissaded down to the lake that bears its name and then postholed a bunch. It was hard to hate life however after such an amazing climb.
Stats on the ride: 15.1 miles RT, ~6000’ of vert, 14 hours (2-2.5 spent postholing about a mile long stretch around Ypsilon lake)
Here’s a video Mike put together if you care to watch.
Tread lightly my friends.
Thumbnails for uploaded photos (click to open slideshow):
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