Peak(s):  Mt. Yale  -  14,196 feet
Date Posted:  03/01/2016
Date Climbed:   02/27/2016
Author:  Somewhat of a Prick
Additional Members:   falcon568
 Winter Slog Up Mt. Yale   

Chad and I were feeling a tad lazy for not getting out yet this winter so we decided to slog up a Sawatch 14er and grab a snowflake. We camped at the trailhead and had boots on the ground at around 4:45am, headed up the Southwest Slopes route.

Shot from the parking lot at night

There was a nicely packed trench through most of the lower trail below treeline. We did not need spikes or snowshoes for this section, we only postholed a couple of times. We were making good time, we caught sunrise near the edge of treeline.

Near the edge of treeline is where the snow turned to crap. It was several inches of crust on top of several feet of pure sugar. We put on snowshoes but it was still slow going. We'd punch through the crust and wallow in the sugar underneath it. We tried to stick to rocks as much as possible, but there were large sections of this awful snow that we had to grind out. Due to this bad snow, we decided to take an alternate Class 3 route to the summit ridge in order to avoid the massive slope of it. Route to the top here:

Maybe it was just because we are bigger guys that we had problems with the snow conditions, who knows. Once on the summit ridge, we were greeted with the winds:

Summit shots:

On the descent we made the mistake to head all the way down to the saddle of the ridge instead of following the way we came. This was a mistake, the snow was bad... which is why we avoided it in the first place. Not sure what we were thinking there, haha. It took us almost as much time to get to treeline as it did to get to the summit from treeline. It was definitely a relief to be back down on a packed stable trail and be rid of the snowshoes for the day.

I'm not sure about our final time, but it wasn't pretty. Probably averaged a tad faster than a mile an hour. We got the summit though, so it was a successful day.

Comments or Questions
03/02/2016 16:26
Brought back horrific memories, I made that same mistake in March of 2014 on descent!

Fantastic day in the mountains, capped off with amazing photos.

Somewhat of a Prick
03/02/2016 18:29
So you understand the suffering! haha

Been wondering
03/03/2016 10:36
where you've been because I've missed your starry sky pictures. Wow!

Somewhat of a Prick
Starry sky...
03/03/2016 11:36
I actually screwed this one up, I didn't have my focus set to infinity

Thanks though Grats on Pyramid, great trip report

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