Peak(s):  Mt. Yale  -  14,200 feet
"Mascot Peak"  -  13,435 feet
Date Posted:  02/17/2021
Modified:  02/18/2021
Date Climbed:   11/30/2020
Author:  CaptainSuburbia
 Yale and Mascot Loop   

Yale and Mascot


This climb was originally supposed to be to Little Bear Peak, and I was already parked at the trailhead when I got the bad news. Unfortunately, my partner had to cancel last minute which had me scrambling to figure out an alternative climb. Little Bear with snow was not a peak I was comfortable climbing solo, so I began researching my options. I quickly settled on a repeat of Yale because I knew it was trenched, and I'd been wanting to climb it in tandem with 13er "Mascot"Peak. A peak I assume got it's name from Yale being the first University to have a mascot for it's sports teams. That mascot was Handsome Dan the bulldog. Little Bear would have to wait and I headed north towards the Sawatch.

Day of Climb: November 29th, 2020

Trailhead: Denny Creek

Peaks: Mt Yale and "Mascot Peak"

Miles/Elevation Gain: 10.23 miles and 4544 feet gained.


I arrived at the Denny Creek trailhead after midnight and went to sleep, waking around 6. I was not concerned with an alpine start since this would not be a long day and the forecast was good. I was on the Mt Yale standard trail by 7 and cruised to treeline in no time following an incredible trench wearing spikes. Snowshoes were not needed.

Breaking treeline

Once above treeline and on the shoulder there was very little snow. I continued on in my microspikes even though they weren't really needed but the extra traction was nice. I moved quickly in a northeast direction and it didnt take long to reach the steep slopes below the saddle.

Saddle and summit
Getting closer

These steeper slopes leading to the saddle had more snow. I stuck mostly to the trail and followed where others had been with only the occasional posthole. It was pretty dry as I topped out on the saddle. The summit ridge was next and it had lots of snow covering the standard route, so I scrambled along the mostly windblown ridge crest to the summit. It was slippery in spots which made some of the easy class 3 moves a little more difficult, but I hit the summit before not too long for my 3rd time on Mt. Yale.

Final steep slope to saddle
Looking down summit ridge
Last few steps to the summit

I took in the views for a moment and kept moving. Summitting Yale again was great, but "Mascot" was my main objective for the day. I continued past the summit and started down Yales East Ridge. The connecting ridge to "Mascot" diverged southeast at about 14,000. Along the way there were a few spots that looked like they might go to "Mascot", but they didn't look like they'd go well so I kept hiking east.

Yales summit is long and kept going for a bit
And a bit more
First sighting of "Mascot" from ridge.
Better view of "Mascot". Not a good place to descend though
Heading down East Ridge now after long summit stroll. Point 13,420 can be seen in middle of pic way down ridge.
This couloir is an option for getting to "Mascot", but the snow didn't look supportive so I passed it by.
Still cruising along upper ridge.
Another couloir that would probably go.

At around 14,000 feet I hit the last major point on the upper ridge and turned south south-east towards "Mascot" Peak. The saddle was just under1,000 vertical feet below covering mostly class 2 terrain.

This is the last point on the upper ridge
I turned here and headed towards "Mascot"

The broad ridge to the "Mascot" saddle was mostly a mix of talus, scree and an occasional boulder field with many route options and very little snow. I followed the path of least resistance. There was a short cliff band dead center on the ridge about a quarter of the way down. It was easy to skirt around it to the left and then return to ridge center.

Going down ridge towards "Mascot"
Little further down
Looking back up at Yale and that first couloir I passed.
A short Boulder section.
Looking back up ridge
Almost to saddle and a good look at "Mascot"
Looking back at Yale
One last talus scramble before the saddle.
The large flat saddle between Yale and "Mascot"

After what seemed like endless talus and boulders I finally reached the large, mostly dry saddle. I immediately started climbing the roughly 400 vertical feet to "Mascot" up it's north slope. The slope was almost entirely made up of talus. I stuck close to the north ridge line where I occasionally found crusty snow to walk on which was preferably to the talus.

Looking back at the steep slopes of Yale.
This is not the summit. Just a point on the ridge.
Lots of talus hopping
Getting close to the summit
Last bit to the summit

"Mascot" took about 20 minutes to climb and was fun. I always enjoy a good talus hop! The views of Yale were beautiful with it's light layer of early season snow and made "Mascot" well worth the journey. Now I needed to decide how I was going to get back to the Denny Creek trailhead. I think many climbers descend off the southwest ridge and bushwack back to the road. This didn't sound fun plus I'd have to put in a trench. Instead, I decided to returned to the Yale saddle and look for a way back to the standard Yale route where I knew there was a nice trench.

Yale from "Mascot" summit
Beginning my descent of "Mascot"
Another shot of Yale on descent to saddle
Back at the Yale-"Mascot" saddle

Once at the saddle I went west and sidehilled under Yales summit. I roughly followed the 13,100 foot contour line back to the Southwest Slopes of Yale and the standard route. It was pretty manageable terrain over scree and one snow crossing of a gully. I was happy to be back on the standard route and descended to treeline. I quickly located the trenched expressway and cruised back to the trailhead ending another great day in the mountains.

Looking back at "Mascot" as I cross under Yale
Gully crossing
Safely back on Yales Southwest Slopes

My GPS Tracks on Google Maps (made from a .GPX file upload):

Thumbnails for uploaded photos (click to open slideshow):
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Comments or Questions
Nice report!
02/19/2021 09:48
I did Mascot from the Colorado Trail and then up the ESE ridge to its summit which went fine but was super steep; your option of combining it with Yale may be more pleasant. I enjoy the view of Yale from the top of Mascot, it is quite imposing from there!

ESE Ridge
02/21/2021 08:48
Tornado- Thanks! I heard from Supra that ridge is super steep. I almost went that way. I'm glad my descent route went. I was afraid I might end up in the drainage and have to trench down to the road.

Nice report & photos
02/28/2021 19:50
Looks like a great day in the mountains. Thanks for posting your report.

I combined Mascot and Yale but did them in the opposite direction. It was fun seeing the looks on people's faces when I climbed onto Yale's summit from an unexpected direction.

03/03/2021 00:04
Mtnman200 - It was a great day. Thanks! I bet not many summit Yale from Mascot.

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