Peak:  Mt. Yale (14er)
 Route:  Southwest Slopes
 Range:  Sawatch
 Posted By:  vdavidoff
 Date of Info:  04/27/2013
 Date Posted:  04/27/2013

Today Stereo311, climbnowworklater, and I summited Mount Yale via the Southwest Slopes. It was a warm, clear, calm day. The trail is well packed and not very deep below tree line. Two of use used microspikes and one of us used crampons with no difficulty. climbnowworklater put on his snowshoes for a short length of the mostly flat section of the trek back to the trailhead as things were getting a bit slushy by that time, but I think we‘d all agree snow shoes weren‘t necessary to complete the hike, and neither I nor Stereo311 ever put ours on.

The trench below tree line ascends a very steep slope just as you come out of the trees (see images) that would be an avy concern if the snowpack didn‘t look right, but things seemed safe today. None of us inspected the snowpack with a shovel or any special equipment/knowledge, but I can say that on the way up boot pack was about 8 inches deep and the pack felt crunchy and sturdy/stable. On the way down things started to get slushy in the bootpack, but for the most part the pack still seemed uniform and sturdy/stable, though softer. Postholed in a few spots, but nothing to really write home about. No issues with this steep slope up or down, though we carried our ice axes in that section.

Above tree line was mostly snow covered though there were sections of bare rock. Our path above tree line today did switch across some steep snow covered sections below those you‘ll see shaded as avy risk in the attached image. It‘d be undesirable to fall and slide in these spots, but there didn‘t seem to be any avy risk, and the pack conditions seemed to mirror those below tree line, though with far less slush on the way down (almost none).

There were at least 2 other parties on the route today and above tree line some different route decisions were made that resulted in a few different boot packs, but all will get you there. They follow the standard route in some areas, but not all.

The route data I‘m attaching is from my GPS, but should more or less agree with the path taken by Stereo311 and climbnowworklater, though I was about 20-30 minutes behind them to the summit.

My climb time was 7h52m. 4h53m up, 22m on the summit, 2h37m down, 8.6mi RT. 5:56am - 1:48pm.

A great day to summit Yale.

Image #1 is my route laid onto with slop angle shading.
Image #2 is a look up towards the summit from about 13k.

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

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