Peak(s):  Mt. Yale  -  14,196 feet
"Mascot Pk"  -  13,435 feet
PT 13605
PT 13420
PT 12505
Date Posted:  07/06/2014
Modified:  07/07/2014
Date Climbed:   07/05/2014
Author:  goingup
 Tour de Yale (East Ridge Route)   

16.4 miles
7,100 feet of gain
7.25 hours
Solo


I dropped Gerry Roach's 14ers book on the floor and it opened to Mount Yale. Curiously I picked it up and was inspired to do all the mountains he marks on the map by going up the Colorado Trail via the Avalanche Gulch trail head and down the standard Denny Creek trail, running the remaining three mile road that connects the two back to my car. The vert monster was hungry and it was feeding time.

I don't believe any of these peaks are ranked (accept for Yale) but I make it a special point not to care at all. That is the beauty about abandoning lists, I truly, madly, passionately, simply put, love to run/climb to the top of things. Every summit needs love even the unranked ones...the vert monster is comin' for you.

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The Route...This is a step up from me drawing on non-digital maps and taking a picture of it.


The green way point on the right bottom is Avalanche Gulch TH, left bottom Denny Creek TH. The blue way point on the right is the saddle between Yale and PT 12,505 (at 11,900), the black way point is PT 12,505. The three orange way points are PT 13,420, Mascot Peak, and PT 13,605. The blue way point on left marks the standard trail at about 13,900'. The red way point is Mount Yale (14,196').


A little tendon issue in my left foot pushed my trip a few days out to the dreaded Fourth of July weekend but my plan to leave 8:30 a.m. on the fourth panned out as there was minimal traffic on 285. I found a really cute camp spot directly across the street from the Avalanche Gulch TH. My initial plan was to sleep at the trailhead but it is an ugly oblong oval of cement with a bathroom at center stage that smells like a dead body is rotting away inside, there is no escaping this smell. The camp spot across the street was free and near a spectacular alpine stream. There were other people but they were set farther down creek. People really do-up camping, I saw one guy drive in with an island sized grill in the back of his pickup and another family had a movie screen outside their RV. Commitment. I on the other hand had rigged up the back of my two door Honda Civic so that I could sleep in the trunk. My luxuries included a children's size camping chair, a small camping stove, and a yoga mat.

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Lola...the rolling taco coffin.


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ColoRADo


I had all day to relax, so I walked down the road (306 for about .8 miles), and then tumbled down a steep embankment ending up at Rainbow Lake where I spent some time reading. Some guys started chopping down aspen trees behind me so I went back to my camp spot and ate lunch. Afterwards, I found a nice spot by the stream and soaked my feet while reading some more. Hours passed and I really connected with the beauty of this place. I felt the duty to pick up trash so I spent some time doing just that, especially down by the stream. Next I did some stream side yoga. I really liked this stream. It started to rain so I got in my trunk and read some more. I cannot really explain how peaceful and cozy the back of my car is in a thunder storm but I was happy. It stopped raining and I made some dinner. After dinner, a cup of chamomile tea, and I went for a short walk. Finally bed.

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Rainbow Lake, kind of reminded me of a place Jason Voorhees would hang out.


I woke up at 5 a.m. with my Nathan's vapor pack ready to go and my clothes laid out but managed to procrastinate just long enough to hit the trail around 6:15 a.m (at 9,370 feet). I began running up the Colorado trail for about two miles when my tendon started bothering me. The last 1.25 miles to the saddle of 12,505 and Yale was a combination of jogging/power hiking. I used a free app called elevation on my iphone to confirm I was indeed at 11,900 feet and the proper place to turn off (right or east) to snag my first summit of the day PT 12,505. This was the end of a well established trail. It was an easy go with a little wind to summit number one and I was greeted with spectacular views of Princeton, Yale, and the east ridge route. I returned to the saddle inhaled a gel and a peanut butter cup (it IS acceptable to eat chocolate at 7 a.m.), gulped down some water and made a left (or west) to take on Yale's East Ridge. The turn off is pretty obvious.

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Rainbow lake from beginning section of the Colorado Trail. (que friday the thirteen music)


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Saddle at 11,900' (Right takes you to PT 12,505, left takes you to Mount Yale)


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Summer sun.


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Pano on the way to PT 12,505 (left to right: Princeton, Mascot, Yale)


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Mount Princeton


Yale's east ridge is fun. It is totally possible to keep it class 2. There is a faint trail that passes difficulties but I love difficulties so I stayed ridge proper hitting all the bumps along the way, the rock was surprisingly solid, and there were even a few slabs to climb. This provided some class three upclimbs and down climbs and avoided the "easier" loose dirt sections. Let me stop the trip report here and say I absolutely despise loose steep dirt gravel rock. I would do ANYTHING to avoid it, as you will see. I was moving quickly when I ran into two gentlemen who I stopped and talked with. Next I made the summit of PT 13,420 (aka a bump along the way). Continuing on I ran into a herd of sheep whom man handled the hell out of the ridge. I galloped along with them to a nice green grassy saddle where I watched them frolic and play. I love watching animals up in these mountains, it is so important we keep it wild for them. More scrambling, more talus hopping, and three mandatory snowfield crossings later (an iceaxe, microspikes, and rope was unnecessary, I ran across in my trail runners) I was at the summit of Mount Yale around 8:50 a.m. There were a few people and I took some pictures for them and visa versa.

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To Yale I go! (beginning of the east ridge)


Here is the terrain you have to look forward to:

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For the love of rocks.

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Foreground: PT 13,420 Background: Mount Yale


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Mascot Peak from PT 13,420


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Pano from PT 13,420 -left to right, Mascot Peak, Mount Yale, PT 13,605


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Because who doesn't love a goat ass.


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One of several snow crossings. After climbing Wilson Peak in calendar winter this seemed rather insignificant.


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Summit of Mount Yale


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Yale summit shots.


I forced down some more food and headed for Mascot Peak around 9 a.m. In retrospect I should have gone for Mascot Peak first but I wanted Yale in case for whatever reason (weather, too tired, foot hurt too much) I had to bail down Avalanche Gulch. I descended back down the east ridge of Yale to a place I had noted would be a good spot to drop in to the ridge between the two. Earlier I had noticed the connecting ridge from a far and my stomach growled as I knew this would be the kind of vert I was craving. In 0.4 miles I dropped from the summit of Yale (14,196') to the saddle between Mascot and Yale at 13,060', for those of you who don't like math that is 1,136 feet. Then I climbed 0.3 miles and 375 feet to the summit of Mascot. Back down the 375 feet and back up the 1,136 feet to re-summit Yale. So in 1.4 miles round trip I descended 1,511 feet and ascended 1,511 feet for a total of 3,022 feet. These are the kind of stats that fuel the vert monsters insatiable appetite. Also it was steep.

So the route. I did very minimal research on this entire day. The more experience I gain the less I need to know every turn I will make and every step I will take. I find it far more enjoyable to study a map, look at contour lines, have a general idea where I am going, and problem solve as issues arise. This is rewarding to me. At first I followed a very faint trail of loose steep dirt that zig-zagged down. As I fell on my ass and cut up my hands I decided to abandon this route and opted to stay ridge proper on rock. Ridge proper presents a large difficulty in the form of a wall o' cliffs. Going down, it is very hard to see what will happen but I rolled with it. I soon realized I could have gone around this to my right (loose dirt nightmare) or taken some steep grass-rock to the left but I was in the cliffs so carpe diem, seize the day. I had to turn into the mountain and down climb a questionable combination of moves where I did a reverse pull up and dropped my body in to some snow. I looked back up, laughed, and moved on. There were two more sections that as I approached it looked like I was going to fall off the face of the planet but nothing really exceeded difficult class 2 after my debauchery in the cliffs. From the saddle I climbed some talus to the top of Mascot.

I took this photo of a goat from Yale's east ridge but it shows the decent off of Yale (true summit not in photo) heading southwest on the ridge towards Mascot. I circled the cliff band I got all gnarled up in. If you dislike scrambling and want Mascot avoid this to the right and have fun in a loose steep dirt gully.

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I like big cliffs and I cannot lie....


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A portion of what I down climbed.


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Mascot Peak from close to saddle.


At the summit of Mascot I forced down more food (it is so hard for me to eat at altitude and most of my day was spent above 13k). I admired Yale but mostly got really excited about the 1,136 feet I was about to re-gain in 0.4 miles. That is like really really yummy. I trotted down Mascot, back to the saddle, and began to gobble down vert. On the way back up I found a happier class 3 route up the cliff band once again avoiding a loose dirt gully of doom. I re-summited Yale around 11 ish maybe a little before. I ate more and chatted with three fellow runners and a guy backpacking the Colorado trail. Hoards of people came and went.

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Yale in foreground, more Collegiate Peaks behind, and the notorious Elks in the back ground.


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Solid shot of Yale's east ridge from Mascot Peak summit.


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Clouds were forming off in the distance but I felt safe to continue on to PT 13,605 which proved to be the most interesting part of the day. I made quick time off of Yale to a large saddle where I located the standard trail but continued northwest on the ridge to my last summit of the day. The ridge between Yale and this unranked 13er starts off as big blocky talus which requires hands but has zero exposure. Oddly enough I am finding this kind of terrain to be my specialty. I am nimble and able to move up and down it quickly. I am off the rock before it even has time to move. The low point between Mount Yale and PT 13,605 was at about 13,490' for a total descent of 706 feet. From the low point things got spicy. Again, I chose to stay ridge proper. The climbing was kept at a fun solid (class 3 max?) until I arrived at what I thought was the summit only to see the true summit off in the distance and myself once again staring down an abyss of cliffs. The down climbing was interesting but I managed. This summit was my favorite of the day.

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And off I go to my last summit of the day...


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More rock, how exciting!


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At the time this was intimidating to down climb, this picture makes it look like I could have jumped off.


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Mount Yale from summit of PT 13,605


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Oh look, it's the vert monster in her natural habitat.


On the way back I chose so stay on the right side of the cliffs and it was sideways loose. I should have climbed back up to ridge proper but the vert monster was tiring. I made my way back to 13,900 feet where I picked up the standard Denny Creek trail. It was like I-25, a heavy traffic flow. I began running down. The trail was AMAZING!!!! After being off trail most of the day rock steps and a nice carved out soft dirt path was a welcomed relief. Also it was a beautiful decent. As I ran out the winds picked up and there were several storms producing thunder hovering over nearby mountains. A few spatterings of hail shot out of the sky. I could tell by wind direction that these storms were not going to blow directly over me and there was no lightning. The way thunder sounds in the high country is absolutely brilliant.

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Back in the saddle around 13,900'. . . time to bomb down the standard trail.


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Storms a brewing.


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As I lost altitude I started to gain energy and I reached a nice cruising pace. About 0.5 miles from the Denny Creek trailhead I got a cramp and stopped to eat a clementine, pro-bar, and drink some water. I walked it out, did some deep breathing techniques, and the cramp went away just in time for me to run the most horrifying 3 miles of pavement back to my car.

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I am not a road runner. I find it to be a special form of torture. If I were to die and go to hell the devil would feed me peas and make me run on road for all of eternity, so you can imagine at the end of this very long adventure what 3 road miles tasted like...burned toast. The sun was beating down making the road temperature a balmy 350 degrees, I was appropriately dressed for 50 degree mountain temps. I sipped on my refreshing 80 degree water as I made note of just how annoying cars are. I picked up trash off the side of the road stuffing it into any available pocket. The road was not the downhill I had hoped, instead it was rolling. I was miserable until I made an active decision not to be. I started thinking about what I had just accomplished all by my lonesome and just how beautiful the Mount Yale massif is. I started thinking about how I saw Yale from every possible angle. I started thinking about how the past two days spent with myself was really nice. I started thinking about food and started running faster. I was still running and I ran every last step to the door of my car (1:30 p.m. finish).

I put on my bathing suit and returned to my favorite stream where I took a dip. This water is mind numbingly cold. Natures ice pack. After that I did some yoga and rolled out my legs and feet to help mitigate any further injury or damage. I lingered until about 4 p.m., eating, talking to other hikers, and relaxing. I called my father to let him know I was alive and began driving home. When I was coming in I drove right past a little place called The Cottonwood Inn and Hot Springs (on 306 about 7 minutes before the Avalanche TH). I have been wanting to go to the Princeton Hot Springs but I am not a resorty type person. I don't do fancy. I decided to go check out the Cottonwood Hot Springs and it was definitely backwoods enough for my taste. They discourage families with children under the age of thirteen, hell ya! This was the BEST $20 I have ever spent in my life. There were six different pools the hottest being 106 degrees and the coolest around 70 degrees. I went back and forth between hot and cold....heat, ice, heat, ice...I was feeling GLORIOUS. I met some interesting people and had some weird conversations. I highly recommend a stop here if ever in the area.

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Cottonwood Hot Springs


I soaked in the springs until about 6:30 p.m. Starving, I drove to Buena Vista and ate at the Asian Palate. Seasonal veggies with a side of ginger rice...mmm...hit the spot, I also highly recommend this restaurant (my dinner and a beer was $14 with tip). Outside there was some sort of party taking place and the Electric Slide was in full swing, naturally I joined in before heading home. John Denver's song, Rocky Mountain High appropriately came on as I drove 285 home to an incredible fiery Colorado sunset over the Mosquito Range. I had to ask myself, can life get better than this? This easily ranks as some of the best cashed in hours of my life

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And the Colorado Rocky Mountain high, I've seen it raining fire in the sky......



Thumbnails for uploaded photos (click to open slideshow):
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Comments or Questions
FireOnTheMountain
User
the rumblings
07/07/2014 03:42
of the vert monster coming to surface. Really diggin the route! Only an idiot trail runner with a few loose screws up top would venture around Yale as you did, and enjoy it!

Fun read. Not as half assed as you may think. Crop out the bottom icons on your map and its golden

PS Burnt toast not always that bad


goingup
User
Abe
07/07/2014 03:50
Only you would understand the need to summit unranked 13ers. You helped to create the vert monster....

That is part of the topos ap!!! I am so excited about my new technology!


FireOnTheMountain
User
technology
07/07/2014 04:08
I once opened the ”Ap Store”, it was a terrifying ordeal.


Dean82
nice route
07/07/2014 12:49
That's a pretty awesome loop. I did Yale on Thurs. from Avalanche. You are so right about the TH, those bathrooms stink so bad.


rajz06
User
Great...
07/07/2014 14:13
...write-up on an epic tour!


dillonsarnelli
User
nice loop!
07/07/2014 16:12
Kay, you're an animal! Happy 4th!


Jay521
User
Wow!
07/07/2014 17:57
You really ARE the vert monster, aren't you? As a person who also loves unranked 13ers (and 12ers, etc.), 13605 looks like a lot of fun. Guess I'll have to head back up that way.


goingup
User
Jay~~~
07/07/2014 18:09
Def. go back for it. Really really unique views and a fun one at that.


mathguy
User
Great effort and a terrific report.
07/07/2014 18:26
I really enjoy Yale too (the only one of my few 14ers that I've done twice), though my ”assaults” on Yale are considerably less ambitious than yours. Very much enjoyed the pics and commentary.


MtnHub
User
That's a fun loop...
07/08/2014 02:27
... and one of my favorites as well! Great job, Kay!

I also found the road back down to Avalanche a little boring, but then a BV local gave me a ride for the last 2 miles so I only ended up walking 1!


Alpineair
Sick!
07/08/2014 15:47
Great photos, goat porn, scrambling, massive vertical, your report has it all !
Except for the selfie in your bathing suit
Well done!!



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