Peak(s):  Mt. Yale  -  14,196 feet
Post Date:  02/01/2011
Date Climbed:   01/29/2011
Posted By:  Stiffler_from_Denver

 Mt. Yale East Ridge  

Two weeks ago we attempted to climb Mt. Yale, but we lost the trail below treeline and burned too much daylight to gain the summit after we realized the correct route. This trek would be our revenge.

We left Denver at 4:50 a.m. and arrived at the trailhead of Yale at 7:30.
We parked at Trailhead at 7:30

The temperature was amazing for January day on Yale. We hiked the steep switchbacks fairly quickly without the need for snowshoes. After stopping for breakfast around 9:00 we put on our snowshoes, which were well needed until about 12,200 feet.
snowshoeing below treeline

The route we took to get above treeline was slightly west of the normal east-ridge route, but it took us through the beautiful opening.
through a beautiful opening

Just above treeline the trail turns west which provides amazing views of Mt. Princeton to the south.


I was impressed with how much character Yale has on its east ridge. There was a beautiful rock passage just below 13,000 feet.
Yale has a lot of character on its east ridge


After that passage, we got our first clear view of Yale's summmit
clear view of the summit

The part of the trek was pretty brutal but we finally summited just after 4:00 pm.


You could have lit a match on the summit on this beautiful day. There was hardly any wind. All we could see was blue skies and the surrounding collegiate peaks. Getting to the summit so late in the winter day, we ended up hiking the last 2 hours of our trip by headlamp. Though I didn't quite appreciate the clear night because I was tired and hungry, I've never seen so many clear stars as I witnessed on Yale around 8:00 that night. We made it back to the car at 8:40. We quickly loaded our gear and raced down the road to Buena Vista to get our steak dinner at Quincy's before they closed at 9. We made it with 4 minutes to spare. Steak and baked potatoes never tasted so fulfilling.

Thumbnails for uploaded photos (click to open slideshow):

  • Comments or Questions

02/01/2011 22:24
That is a great route. I've got to give it a go.

”I was impressed with how much character Yale has on its east ridge.” No kidding, and nice photo to show it off!

Thanks for this nice TR and the great photos!


Beautiful climb!
02/02/2011 19:13
Thanks for posting!


02/02/2011 19:14
Good call!

Exiled Michigander

No mention of your land-speed record descent???
02/03/2011 00:25
Nice trip report, Stiff! But I think you should have mentioned that you practically started running down the mountain once I told you that we might not make Quincy's before they closed. 14er community, if you climb with this guy near Buena Vista or Leadville and he starts to slow down on the descent, just remind him that Quincy's closes at 9 and he will start sprinting back to the trailhead! I don't think I've ever seen anyone hike so fast with snowshoes on.

When we hitting La Plata and the Leadville Quincy's???? After all, is a Sawatch 14er truly summitted if you don't stop at Quincy's for prime rib afterwards?

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