Peak(s):  Mt. Yale  -  14,196 feet
Date Posted:  07/21/2012
Modified:  07/30/2013
Date Climbed:   07/21/2012
Author:  buckeyejes
 Mt. Yale - Southwest Slope   

Start time: 6:15am
Up: 4.25 hr
Down: 2.5 hr
Total: 6.75 hr
Weather: Beautiful!

The drive to the trailhead was super easy. The road is really pretty, and the trailhead is off a paved road, so there were no issues getting there. There are restrooms at the trailhead.

My husband and I left a little after 6am on the trail.

We were spoiled yesterday on Harvard with so few people hiking, that we were actually disappointed to see so many cars and people at the trailhead. The trail starts out with a bit of loose rock, and a lot of horse doo-doo. Once we got past those initial switchbacks, the trail was very nice and well defined. The hike was very pretty along the stream and through the trees. The first stream crossing may be the most deceiving as the logs move just a little more than expected. All the other stream crossings were easy.
Log bridge stream crossing early on

We saw a lot more wildlife on this hike than the day before on Harvard. In the beginning, the trail does go up and down quite a bit, but overall you can feel yourself gaining elevation pretty quickly.
more stream crossing, look for the logs to the left

It was steep in most areas, even before treeline.
well defined, but steep

Once you are out of the treeline, the trail goes up around some rolling "hills", but the trail is easy to follow the whole way up to the ridge.
another example of how nicely the trail was constructed

Once you get to the ridge (about 13,900), the trail is much more difficult to find, and it becomes a choose your own adventure over the ridge. You can't see the summit once you get up to the ridge. In the route information, it says that this part is 1.5 miles from the summit, but we didn't think it was this far, although it is slow-going, and it is important to take your time. It seems easier to the right (rather than heading toward the left), but it is whatever you feel comfortable with....just keep going toward the summit!
finally to the the fun part! once you get to the second hump, stay to the right

not exactly an easy to follow trail, but look at the adorable marmot!

choose your own adventure!

The summit was so spacious, and nice to spend some time on. The views were gorgeous. From the top, we had a new appreciation for how long the trip to Mt. Harvard was yesterday!
Mt. Harvard and Mt. Columbia from the summit

There was a laminated sign at the top, which made it nice for our summit picture.
We made it!

We made great time on the way down once we got down the ridge. It was difficult to walk, and were almost jogging for most of it because of how steep the trail was. Overall, this was a great hike with a very nice trail, and we had a lot of fun. I highly recommend this 14er if you haven't done it yet!

Thumbnails for uploaded photos (click to open slideshow):
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Comments or Questions

good work
07/22/2012 17:44
great summit shot!

Harvard or Yale?
07/25/2012 00:32
My daughter and I are planning a trip in a couple weeks. Here are comments I posted to a Harvard trip report for comment.
We're trying to set up a reasonable trip. Neither of us are regular hikers but in good shape. Notes I've seen say there is good camping in Fork Horn Basin 3.5 miles in from trail head. If my math is right that would leave about 3 more miles to the summit. Does that sound right? It also soundslike there are creeks at Fork Horne for water. We hope to summit early the next day and then head all the way down. Your thoughts?
Since you did bioth which would you recommend? CXoming from South Carolina so I want to make it a good trip!

Compare Harvard and Yale
07/25/2012 00:39
I saw your report on Harvard and posted a couple of questions about camping and a 2 day hike. Which would you recommend for our trip Harvard or Yale?


It is hard to choose...
07/25/2012 03:19
If you are looking to camp, I would recommend Harvard. There is quite a bit of camping there at Horn Fork Basin. That is about 3.5 miles as you said....there were quite a few campsites set up when we passed that area. A little further out of treeline (about 5 miles), there is Bear Lake. We did see some people going over there to camp too, if you wanted to be closer.

Mt. Yale is shorter and a beautiful hike as well though....if you are in town long enough, you should consider doing both! Good luck!!

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