Peak(s):  Mt. Yale  -  14,196 feet
"Mascot Pk"  -  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

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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.

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Route

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.

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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.

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Saddle and summit
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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.

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

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

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This is the last point on the upper ridge
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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.

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

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

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Yale from "Mascot" summit
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Beginning my descent of "Mascot"
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Another shot of Yale on descent to saddle
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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.

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Looking back at "Mascot" as I cross under Yale
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Gully crossing
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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
Tornadoman

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!


CaptainSuburbia

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.


Mtnman200

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.


CaptainSuburbia

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



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