Mt. Yale  
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2016-01-04  Route: East Ridge
Posted On: 2016-01-05, By: kentmw
Info: The initial south facing hillside with switchbacks had very little snow and was well traversed. A mile or so in only two snowshoe tracks made up the trail. These stopped at 2.5 miles or so prior to the ascent up the last hill to the ridge. We took a more windswept route to the ridge that we thought would minimize postholing since we opted to leave snowshoes in the car. We still did a lot of that until we got to the low point of the ridge (picture of east ridge was taken at 12,100 or so). From then on, the route to the summit was windswept and consisted of walking over/climbing talus and consolidated snow. On the way back, since postholing was inevitable, we took a more direct route that bypassed the slight ridge climb to 12,100‘. Snowshoes would have saved us hours and is recommended. There was a good amount of tracks on the summit. From there the standard/southwest slopes route looked more traversed. The road was plowed past the avalanche gulch trailhead. 
2016-01-03  Route: Southwest Slopes
Posted On: 2016-01-07, By: backpackeramericano
Info: Road to the trailhead was open and relatively clear. We used microspikes until we reached tree line, at which point we came to a fork in the path. We took the path to the left, climbing straight up and over the ridge. At this point, we changed to our snowshoes, which made the ridge and the final push to the saddle much more doable. We did meet people climbing with simply microspikes and ice axes the entire way, but it was slower work requiring post-holing. The final summit push from the saddle we did with microspikes only. We were able to glissade down from the saddle to the ridge, but it was icy and rocky, requiring a lot of attention. There was definitely not enough snow for the few backcountry skiers we met. Coming off the summit around 1pm, it was definitely starting to get slushy for the path down. 
2016-01-03  Route: Southwest Slopes
Posted On: 2016-01-04, By: michaeldavidson
Info: There is a nice hard packed trench all the way to the upper slopes. Floatation helpful, but skis weren‘t very helpful on the descent. Snowshoes the way to go right now. 
2015-12-09  Route: Southwest Slopes
Posted On: 2015-12-10, By: LizWeiss
Info: Similar conditions to previous report. Packed down trail until about treeline. Caution - there are 2 different trails to take, one is not the correct route (we took this one), but it is easy to make this error as it seems to effortlessly continue on the packed trail. At one point, there is a switchback with footprints to the right, I‘d advise taking that, as it will take you closer to the actual route. Following the wrong trail, we ended up pretty southwest, possibly close to the "old trail" that is now closed. Luckily there wasn‘t too much snow, and we just climbed up some rocks and scree and spotted the real trail very easily. The trail is super easy to follow for the remainder of the route, as it is literally exposed dirt for about 50% of it. This will most likely not last very long, as it looks like a storm might be rolling in. Oh yeah, and the conditions on the summit consisted of 50 mph winds. Overall, a typical winter excursion on Mt. Yale! 
2015-12-05  Route: Southwest Slopes
Posted On: 2015-12-06, By: Caleb Braun
Info: The road was plowed all the way to the Denny Creek TH for the Southwest Slopes route. The trail was packed till tree-line. Immediately after tree-line, there was a snow field that my friend put his snow shoes on while I did not. I post holed for a distance and then decided to put on my shoes. There are portions of the trail that did not necessitate snowshoes however we kept them on because it was intermittent. The ridge had many uncovered rocks and also one snow field about 2-2.5 ft. deep for 100-200 yards. Near the summit, we dropped off our shoes and used our micro-spikes. All in all, I‘m glad we brought snow shoes. It can be done without them but it would be difficult. Our tracks at the lower elevations will likely still exist, however the ridge was incredibly windy and the snow had filled them before we descended. It appeared to have snowed approx 1-3 inches but it‘s hard to tell what was just moved around from the wind. 
2015-12-04  Route: Southwest Slopes
Posted On: 2015-12-05, By: bmcqueen
Info: Still no trouble getting to the TH. Road is pretty well plowed to there. Carried snowshoes to timberline, but never needed them as there is a nice reasonably well packed trench the whole way. Above treeline, trail goes up and right to gain the ridge, but is very difficult to see. Follow our tracks and you‘ll end up close to it. From there, a bit spotty to follow the rest of the way to the top, but if you really look for it, you‘ll find it or get back on it reasonably quickly. Wore spikes the whole way back down the generally hard packed snow on the trail. 
2015-11-28  Route: Southwest Slopes
Posted On: 2015-12-02, By: 14erNewbie
Info: Road had very little snow when we left. Any vehicle can get through. The trail up to the tree line was nicely packed (by us (: ), no traction needed. Out of the tree line was rough going with postholing in knee deep at time. Where there was less snow, there were loose rocks under neat. We weren‘t familiar with the summer trail and since we couldn‘t see it we decided to head straight up. It wasn‘t a wise choice. You should try to follow the general direction of the summer trail. Microspikes were more than sufficient, no crampons needed. 
2015-11-09  Route: Southwest Slopes
Posted On: 2015-11-09, By: zinj
Info: Yale on Monday the 9th - I probably should just repeat the previous reports. I only went to 12k (typing this in the airport - had to get back down to Denver). Zero difficulty ascending without traction (and summer boots). I slipped a few times on the way down - poles help a little. Never used my axe. Never dressed heavier than she‘ll pants and fleece top over base layer. Boot pack trail is obvious to tree line. As you exit the trees the boot track is no longer on the Yale summit trail, so do what you like at that point! 
2015-11-08  Route: Southwest Slopes
Posted On: 2015-11-08, By: dogballs
Info: Not much to add to the previous post. Trail is 96% boot packed snow, with the other 4% dirt/mud. Need at least 8-12 inches of snow before it will be skiable. I went up and down without traction. Had it with me but didn‘t feel the need for it. Car to summit took 3hr36min, and car to car was 5hr32min. Trail is good now, but if it snows this week that will all change. 
2015-11-08  Route: Southwest Slopes
Posted On: 2015-11-08, By: chicagostylehotdog
Info: Trail mostly dry below tree line. Some sections with packed snow. At tree line, multiple foot paths, one of which roughly follows the real trail. Minor post holing while crossing the basin to reach the gain to the ridge. Packed trail most of the way up the gain to the ridge. The first section is the toughest, following deep post hole tracks. When you get to the switchbacks on this slope it‘s smooth sailing to the summit. I wouldn‘t recommend snowshoes. Gaitors and microspikes are handy, but you can struggle to the top without them I‘m sure. I can post pictures when I get home. I‘m updating from the summit now. Snow is shallow enough along this route that there is no avy danger. Go get it! 
2015-11-07  Route: Southwest Slopes
Posted On: 2015-11-09, By: whitneyc0319
Info: Just wanted to clarify one thing - I read on the forum that cottonwood pass is closed. It is closed just beyond the Denny Creek trailhead parking lot if you are coming from Buena Vista. 
2015-10-31  Route: Southwest Slopes
Posted On: 2015-11-01, By: Savo772
Info: Trail is dry for the most part under tree line. Above is mostly snow covered, and slower going. Above tree line, we had a difficult time finding the trail, so we opted to head straight up the gully. Post holed a good amount, snowshoes might not be a bad idea. Trail was a bit muddy on way down, below tree line. Started at 7:10 AM, summited at 10:00 AM, and were off the mountain by 12:45. Was a great day! 
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2015-10-16  Route: Southwest Slopes
Posted On: 2015-10-16, By: NickJohnson
Info: The trail was nice and dry the entire way to the summit. The few slightly muddy spots were near the streams, but that‘s to be expected. The aspen were bare, which was unfortunate, but it‘s also pretty late in the season. As the valley was heating up under the sun, it caused a fairly strong breeze/updraft along the ridge which was pretty chilly. Started at 6:15am and summitted by 9:30am. 
2015-09-12  Route: Southwest Slopes
Posted On: 2015-09-12, By: Mapguy75
Info: Hiked up Mount Yale today (September 12th). Weather was great with sunny and crystal clear skies and no strong wind (some breeze at summit ridge). The trail is still in summer condition with no major issues. You will see some muddy spots but all are avoidable by walking on rock steps or go around it. No snow existing near the trail at all. Most of forest floor and tundra vegetation are dying due to time of year. Aspen trees are starting to change color, don‘t expect a peak until perhaps last week of September. I am a hiker with average pace- left trailhead at 5:50am, summited at 8:30am, left summit at 9:30am, and arrived at trailhead at 11:30am. Mt Yale is my 15th CO fourteener. 
2015-08-08  Route: Southwest Slopes
Posted On: 2015-08-09, By: joyfulwriter
Info: Beautiful day to be out with ever-changing Colorado weather. No particular issues or conditions to be aware of. Cold, windy and cloudy till about 11:30AM and lots of people turned back before the shoulder as a result. Sun broke through around noon, making for a warm return. 
2015-07-31  Route: Southwest Slopes
Posted On: 2015-07-31, By: Sunshineof1985
Info: Beautiful views at the top of Mount Harvard and Columbia! Nice easy peak to climb and very straight forward. I forgot my directions, and I was just fine. This is my 16th peak this summer and I am working on climbing all of the 14ers before the summer‘s end! Read more on this hike and all my previous others at GEAR (to bring): GPS, extra socks, phone, SPOT Satellite Tracker, Map, hiking boots with 2 pairs of socks on, long-sleeve, wind-guard/raincoat, light weight puffy coat (didn‘t need), lightweight gloves (didn‘t need), day pack with water sack, food, sunscreen, lip balm. Road Condition: The trail is right off a highway so the road conditions is awesome! Trail Condition: A couple wet places in treeline, but shouldn‘t get your feet wet. The route is clearly marked and easy to follow all the way to the top. Nice easy switchbacks to follow above treeline, and large boulders as you reach the summit. 
2015-07-04  Route: Southwest Slopes
Posted On: 2015-07-04, By: bigredmachine
Info: Pretty much summer conditions. The 2-3, 10 ft sections of snow still remaining are on flat ground. It‘s a great trail. 
2015-07-03  Route: Southwest Slopes
Posted On: 2015-07-05, By: K_Rager
Info: Summer conditions. Nothing but hiking boots needed for gear. Well maintained trail.. CFI was up there doing some work. Beautiful day. 
2015-07-01  Route: Southwest Slopes
Posted On: 2015-07-02, By: Flock14
Info: Dry until about 13k and then there are a few snow crossings that were pretty icy in the morning. Can be walked around, but that is damaging to the trails. I walked over them with hiking poles, no problem. They would be challenging without poles. Microspikes are unnecessary weight. Little water running down the hike up to the ridge, but it isn‘t ever more than an inch deep and can be avoided by walking over rocks poking out where the water runs. No problem. Find pics at the link below: 
2015-06-27  Route: Southwest Slopes
Posted On: 2015-06-28, By: WarriorCat
Info: Starting at Denny Creek TH; trail was dry aside from a few creek crossings until treeline, some with log bridges, other with rocks. Can keep your feet dry. Once above treeline, the trail crosses a few snowy patches, easy to cross without spikes; maybe a pole required; has foot step stairs up the snowfields.. Saddle is dry, and the ridge has avoidable to no snow depending on the route. Summit has some snow, but also has plenty of dry area. On the way down at about 10:15 to 11:00 in between the saddle and treeline, the snow starts to get slick, and the trail is muddy. Boots not required, just have some traction for the ridge. 

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