| Yale -- Denny Creek
Lonnie and I decided to return to Yale this year in the spring. I needed additional warm-ups for harder 14ers, and since Lonnie came just shy of the summit in 2004 when he was 7 years old, we decided to try and bag it for him this year so he could move forward with more challenging and fun 14ers. We had been hiking with some new partners this spring, so I invited several strong hikers to join us – E and Al decided to come along.
It was Al's 1st 14er. I believe E was a seasoned veteran. This would be my third trip up Yale.
We watched the weather report all week, and although the report kept getting a bit worse, by Friday night we anticipated mostly good weather with a storm later in the day on Saturday.
Lonnie and I met Al, who brought a friend of his, Justin, at 4:00 a.m. at a park-n-ride. Al had a new SUV and decided to drive. We met E a little up 285, and we were on our way.
We arrived at the Denny Creek trailhead and were on the trail by 7:10 a.m.
The first part of the trail was dry interspersed with patches of hard snow.
Further up the trail, the postholing began in earnest. When we reached the creek, we were in thigh deep snow.
We couldn't figure out where the trail was to cross the creek, but Lonnie just jumped across, and we figured we had better find a way. E was the brave one who made the second crossing by jumping from one side to a rock covered with a foot of snow on the other side. Although she missed the rock, she made it over the creek. The rest of us followed. We were on our way to bushwhacking up the side of the mountain at that point.
It was steep going for the first time, and Justin bailed at this point. It was his first attempt at a 14er, and he had not been hiking much recently. He had given it a good effort, and we gave him one of the Walkie Talkies to return to the car, and we continued up the hill.
In some places, the snow fields were steep and difficult to maneuver across. It took us much longer than anticipated.
Below the saddle, there were some prominent snowfields that we decided to climb directly. They were steep, but the snow felt reasonably solid.
We gained the summit at about 12:45, with Al coming up directly behind us about 1:15. E, Lonnie and I had a brief lunch at the summit behind a rock that did a fair job of sheltering us from the wind.
When Al got there, we decided we should get off the summit reasonably soon since it looked like several of the storm clouds we were expecting were moving toward us.
We took a few more summit shots and made way for the saddle.
We made it back down to tree line by glissading, interspersed with walking down snow and hiking down the rocky parts.
Once in the trees, we stopped again to let Al have his lunch.
Justin kept in contact via the Walkie Talkie. We took our time down.
Justin met us at the finish and we took a group photo with him.
After the hike, Justin bought beers at the local bar in Buena Vista, and he provided Oatmeal cookies that his wife made for us – yummy (he can hike with us any time). All of us agreed it was a great day. Weather held up the entire time.
Thumbnails for uploaded photos (click to open slideshow):