Peak:  Mt. Yale (14er)
 Route:  Southwest Slopes
 Range:  Sawatch
 Posted By:  eskermo
 Date of Info:  01/06/2013
 Date Posted:  01/07/2013

Attempted Yale standard route Sunday. Road to Denny Creek TH is plowed and any car can make it if you go slow enough.

Left the car around 6:00. Excellent, wide, hard packed trail for the first 1.25 miles to the Mt. Yale trail junction. Then the trail is much more narrow but still a solid, packed, very easy to follow trail.

Nearing treeline, the difficulties began. If you didnt walk in the existing bootprints you could potentially post hole up to your stomach or higher (I am 6' 1"). There are a few areas where foot placement is crucial or else you could plunge one leg down through thin snow cover into a deep rock trap (if its happened to you before, you know what I am talking about).

At treeline the trail disappears. I just picked a line and started going up. Here conditions are variable. Some places have deep snow that is essentially just sugar, and other places its windblown and you can walk on it. At least until you start postholing. There were definitely some lines you could take to the summit that didnt have much snow cover, but the rock didnt look like fun in those areas.

After snowboarding pretty hard the day before, my legs and body just werent up for the final push and dealing with the changing snow conditions. I turned around near or just below 13, 000'.

Brought microspikes but never used them. Several spots would have been much easier with them, however, so I would recommend them. Beautiful blue bird day with very low winds. Virtually no postholing below treeline, but I was back to the car just after noon.

Photos (click for slideshow):
Image #1Image #2Image #3Image #4

 Comments or Questions

01/07/2013 22:27
Did you have snowshoes?


01/07/2013 22:39
I did not bring snowshoes. Honestly, I've never used snowshoes before so I'm not the best person to ask for advice on this. However, I don't think they were necessary at all below treeline. Above treeline, they may have been nice for walking on deeper patches of snow. But at the same time it looked pretty rocky and snow cover was very patchy, so I doubt you'd want to tear them up on the rock.

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