| Mt Yale - Round 2
This was my 2nd attempt to hike up Yale. Last summer, Aug 08, I got up to approx 13000 ft. But being from low-lying Illinois, I had to turn back due to lightheadedness. Humbled, I was determined to return to Yale in 09 better prepared to actually make it to the top this time.
This year, I allowed more time in CO to acclimate. Also, I hiked up 10,013 ft Deer Mtn in RMNP as a warm-up for Yale a couple days prior. I think that helped a lot. Also, I used hiking poles, which helped spread out the workload on the climb up to the saddle. In addition, we took more water breaks along the way.
I met John, my partner for this hike, at the Denny Creek TH at 5:00am and we were on our way. Fortunately, he had a headlamp, so were able to see our way in the dark, including the Mt Yale-go-right trail marker. Next time, I'm bringing a headlamp!
The pre-dawn hike through the woods was pretty uneventful Soon we were past treeline and were starting the long-awaited climb up to the saddle. After last year, I had a whole new appreciation for how demanding this uphill stretch would be.
Here is the best marmot pic I was able to get. You can see him toward the bottom.
For some reason, the 1970 Andy Williams song, "Almost There" (I had to look up the title later) was stuck in my head the whole time from treeline to the saddle. I hadn't heard that song since . . . probably 1970! And I didn't care for it then! I don't know why an old, obscure song from my parent's generation would suddenly pop into my head on Mt Yale 39 years later. Very strange. At least the title was somewhat appropriate.
When we finally reached the saddle, we had sunlight for the first time. But it was very windy up there and I almost couldn't put on my jacket. It would have easily blown down the mountain if I had lost my hold on it. And next time I'm bringing a stocking cap! That hood just didn't cut it.
Now, it was on to the boulder field along the ridge. This was actually a lot of fun, but just had to stay focused and not get careless or try anything stupid.
At approx 9:10 we reached summit. Hooray! There were actually five of us that arrived within about 20 minutes of each other. As far we could tell, we were the first to reach summit that morning. The weather was beautiful and we spent probably an hour at the top taking pictures, making a few phone calls, and sharing a celebratory 8oz Coors Light.
I told my dentist, while on the summit, I would take a goofy picture flossing.
We got back to the TH at about 12:45. If you subtract the hour we all spent on the summit, the hike took a little over 6˝ hrs. Last year, Yale kicked my butt, so it felt really good to take care of some unfinished business on this mountain! Afterward, we all went to Coyote Cantina for some "burgers and beer!" This, for me, was a day to remember!
Thumbnails for uploaded photos (click to open slideshow):