| Mt. Yale - A Labor Day Delight!
This is one of the unexpected hikes that turned out well. We ended up taking a chance with the weather and headed to the trailhead on Sunday afternoon. This is a great hike if you're looking for a "convenient" hike. The trailhead is easily accessible. If you plan to backpack in, the hike to some great campsites is fairly mild, and there are plenty of them. Also, with an early start, this is a relatively short hike making it possible to get to the summit early before weather builds.
The only wildlife on our trip was this poor, fearless, mangy deer who met us in the parking lot.
This trail is easy to follow. The journey through the trees is pleasant, and the one junction is well marked.
We noticed many great camping sites all along the trail. This spot about two miles from the trailhead was perfect! N38 49.946 W106 20.213
The weather ended up being great for us throughout the hike. We were able to enjoy this beautiful rainbow from a previous storm as we arrived at camp.
Since we got an early start to camp, we had plenty of time to enjoy a fire and some nice hot coffee before retiring for the night.
The next morning, we started up the trail about 6 am in the darkness. As we emerged from the trees, the glow of the morning sun was stunning.
Here are a couple of pictures that give one perspective of the trail. The last mile and a half of the trail you gain a lot of altitude.
Looking back down towards tree line.
Looking up at the ridge above. Once you get to the saddle the fun begins, but it is a lot of work getting there.
Once you reach the saddle, if you stay just to the left there is a nice cubby in the rocks to stash your poles and then a fun little section you can scramble up.
This was our first experience with verglas. The rocks were extremely slick, and we had to grip our feet on the corners of the rocks.
Here is my wife cresting the summit. I love the background.
My next goals are in view: Harvard and Columbia.
Payday! The summit was beautiful, calm, and much warmer than the climb up the ridge. We revelled in our accomplishment of being the first people on the summit. This lasted for about fifteen minutes when another hiker arrived who had started at the trailhead at the same time we left from our campsite!
Looking down the trail from the summit.
One guy we met on the summit had climbed the false summit and was complaining about the wasted time and energy. This picture is looking down on the false summit. At this point on the trail, as you climb up the ridge toward the true summit, stay to the right of the false summit; follow the cairns.
One last look up at the summit before descending into the trees.
Here is a snapshot of our track. After making it back to camp, we took a nap, packed up, and headed back to Denver. We were thankful that the weather report for Labor Day was wrong! It was a great trip!
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