Peak(s):  Mt. Yale  -  14,196 feet
Date Posted:  09/09/2007
Date Climbed:   09/09/2007
Author:  gatorchick

 Mt. Yale (from Denny Creek TH) - first class 2  

After last weekend's hike up Mt. Elbert we were ready for a new challenge. Thanks to the suggestions of some folks here on we chose to climb Mt. Yale on Saturday and planned on tackling Belford and Oxford on Sunday.

We set up camp Friday night at the Collegiate Peaks campground, which was outside Buena Vista and about a mile from the Denny Creek TH. We got there late, set up camp in the dark, cooked some brats on the fire and passed out. The alarm was set for 4 a.m.

After five fabulous hours of sleep the alarm went off and we stumbled out of the tent to fire up the Jet Boil, which I had just purchased with a birthday gift card from REI the day before. Oh how I LOVE the Jet Boil!!! I LOVE my coffee and the iced coffee we had been drinking in the morning when camping just wasn't cutting it. Within five minutes I had a steaming cup of liquid sunshine. There is nothing better than hotcoffee when its near freezing at 4:30 in the morning!

We were on the trail by 5:20 or so. I really enjoyed the fact that this trail was pretty gentle for the first few miles - gave the legs a chance to warm up before the real work began. This was the first time we put booties on Maddie's feet and they worked great! This was just a cheap pair which were pretty much shredded by the end of the trip - but now that we know she will wear them, we will invest in a better pair. Someone on the mountain suggested - we will be ordering some from them this week! Here I am adjusting one of her booties!


The sun was mostly up by the time we broke treeline and started the steep climb.


After the sun came up, but while we were still in the shade of the mountain, the temperature dropped into the 20s and the dog started to shiver. She gets cold very easily (she's a skinny girl with a short coat - not much insulation there) so we put her fleece on and she looked much happier.


Maddie just below the saddle:


When we got up onto the saddle and I finally got a close up look at the rocky approach to the summit I got a little nervous. I have a slight fear of heights and claustrophobia (which manifests itself when I feel 'stuck') and I was afraid I would freak out on the rocks. Here I am still smilin' ... hoping that smile wouldn't fade!


We checked out both sides of the ridge and decided the left (east) side was the way to go - which was the WRONG decision. We somehow ended up way below the ridge on lots of loose rocks. I was surprisingly mentally ok but I worried a lot about Maddie and was starting to regret taking her up there. We safely made our way to the summit tho - and the view was AWESOME!!! Here's a bunch of summit pics ...

Me on the summit

jasper9890 and Maddie on the summit - their second 14ers! I LOVE this pic of them!!


and the whole famn damily ... under a BEAUTIFUL Colorado blue sky!


We hung out on the summit for a half hour or so. Josh put a few of his extra layers on the rocks at the summit and the dog curled up and took a nap. She LOVES laying in sunny spots and this was the ultimate sunny spot! After the rough trip up I was a little worried about the trip back down the rocks. Someone on the summit suggested staying on the left (west) on the way back down and that was ten times easier! Josh guided Maddie back down the rocks (it was adorable to watch), picking her up a few times to get over some of the trickier parts.



The rest of the trip down was uneventful, but slow going. I need to learn to walk downhill better. When we got back to treeline we took off Maddie's pack and booties (which were pretty much completely shredded by this point) which seemed to put some pep back in her step. She was surprisingly exhausted after this one so we decided to bail on our planned day 2 (Belford/Oxford). The booties did a good job of protecting her feet - we will definitely be investing in more!

I was pretty grumpy on the trip down - I think in part out of my frustration at having to go soooo sloooow (I'm working on my descending tho ... really!) and I think in part because I forgot to eat anything after lunch on the summit. I know from my triathlon days that low blood sugar leads to a grumpy gatorchick! I was VERY happy tho that this time I had NO problem with the altitude. I've never gotten altitude sickness too bad - but I usually get headaches. Not this time!

The hike back to the TH once you got below treeline was BEAUTIFUL and very enjoyable. The aspens were just starting to change color and the rushing stream was just gorgeous!

So, 14er #3 is in the books. I'm especially happy about this one because I was expecting to be scared of the scambling and I wasn't - I LOOOOVED it! It was like a puzzle that you had to figure out. There will be no more 14ers for the next couple weeks due to other commitments, and by then I'm expecting the weather to have turned in the mountains. But I'm REALLY excited to get out and do some winter 14ers (and we've saved some of the "easiest" 14ers for worse weather - we still haven't done Bierstadt, Quandary, or Grays and Torreys) .... !

All in all this was a great trip and probably my favorite 14er to date! Thanks for reading!

Thumbnails for uploaded photos (click to open slideshow):

 Comments or Questions

11/30/2010 17:20
maddie just told me she thinks you're going to love rock climbing if you ever actually try it out for the same reasons you like scrambling. i think she might be right.


09/10/2007 06:42
Thanks! She is a very special girl ... even when all she is doing is snoring on the couch, like she is right now.


09/10/2007 07:28
on Yale! The more you do, the more addicting it becomes! And Maddie is too cute!


Fun report!
07/14/2008 00:51
Agreed! The puzzle-solving aspect of the rocks is SO MUCH FUN!!! Gotta love it!

We‘re looking at doing a blitz-week in the sweet by and by that will include Yale: your report is helpful. Thanks!

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