Peak(s):  Mt. Yale  -  14,196 feet
Date Posted:  10/17/2008
Modified:  08/20/2009
Date Climbed:   10/17/2008
Author:  dcbates80911
 An OFF day on Yale  

Hiking Partner - Solo
Distance - 9.2 miles RT (based on my GPS)
Trailhead - Denny Creek
Height - 14,196 Feet (4327 Meters)

I originally planned to take Friday off and do Pikes Peak via Barr Trail, but I wasn't too keen on the 26 mile round trip. I scheduled the day off and at the last minute decided to try something different. Yale had been on my summer list, but never got around to doing it. Why not today???

Since I had already planned a very early start (4:00am), I just decided to drive to Buena Vista first thing in the morning. Made great time, reaching the TH at 6:15am. Still a little too dark, so I slowly prepared my gear and put on sunscreen. About 6:45, I left and started under the light of my headlamp.

Still Dark - First stream Crossing

First view of my goal

The Aspen are now Bare - Fall is here

View towards Cottonwood Pass

The first part of the trail rises at a very slow pace. Unfortunately, that left more climb over fewer miles. The last mile turned out to be brutal. After passing tree-line, I began to encounter snow fields making it hard to find the trail. Most of the snow was hard crusted or not too deep. However, there were a couple places where I sunk about 8-9 inches. Also, the wind picked up to about 15-20 MPH. Not too bad, but did make things a little chilly until I put on my soft shell.

I am getting closer, but struggling

Looking down the ridge from where I came

Summit on the right, goal was the saddle on the left, but had to make the steep climb (pictures just don't do this part justice)

I finally reached the saddle with my GPS showing roughly 300 more vertical feet left. This last part involved some rock scrambling and took some time as I searched for cairns indicating the "easy" route (snow made it hard to find an actual trail).

L - R La Plata, Missouri, Elbert, Belford, Oxford, Harvard...All 14ers

Summit is in view

There it is!!!

Summit views were gorgeous. There was some wind, but not too bad. The clear skies allowed me to see all the ranges. Uncompahgre was visible to the south-west, most of the Elks could be seen, and of course my original goal (Pikes) was there to the east. Overall, it was not a bad time and awesome to have it all to myself for 30 minutes.

This is what happens when you think the camera is on "timer" - my only decent summit shot, I guess


Buena Vista

Cottonwood Pass - Trail starts on the road

Elk Range - Snowmass is easily identified in the center and Capiltal to the right

Three Apostles

Stream on the way down - Ice showing winter is on the way

I was just up there!!!

I have heard other climbers talk about days where they struggled and I experienced one such day earlier this year causing us to turn around. Today was another one of those days. For some reason, I just didn't feel 100% and contemplated turning around a few times, but didn't. Perseverance got me to the summit, although a little later than planned. Having the summit to myself was awesome and I only saw 5 other people the entire day. It turned into a great day.

 Comments or Questions

Yea Yale
10/18/2008 22:31
Looks like you had a fantastic day Dave. How was the wind? I climbed today up near Torreys (Grizzly) and the wind was pretty hard. I did Yale last year and it is my Fav of the surrounding peaks. The last little sramble to the top was fun and the steap area you talk about is pretty darn steep. Congrats!


10/19/2008 07:01
Nice TR as usually, buddy! I‘d really like to get another climb in before the snow really starts accumulating, although I‘m sure you‘ll talk me into a couple winter climbs this year, too... Great pics!


Nice Trip Report
10/19/2008 13:30
Great photos/good route description. I may make Yale my first Collegiate Peak ascent next year. Thanks.


Thanks Guys
10/19/2008 14:10
EatinHardtack - Wind was about what we dealt with on Sherman. Actually, the summit wasn‘t too windy. The strongest wind was on the southwest ridge just before the steep part. On the steep part, the wind just died completely. It was a fun and beautiful day, just a tough one. Haven‘t felt that goofy for a long time. Like to get together and do something with you again.

COmedic - Yes, we need to get out again. I am hoping to get out one more time before the major snow. Was planning to do a Horseshoe - Sherman loop later this week, but don‘t think that will happen (work as you regularly experience). Harvard looked interesting, but may have to wait until next summer. I am interested in snowshoeing to Grizzly via Loveland pass this winter if you are interested.

AFGeezer - Thanks for the comments. I saw your completed list and you will probably enjoy this area. To date, I think my favorite over here was La Plata, but we took the southwest approach. Where are you located? Always looking for winter partners if interested (both EatinHardtack and COmedic04) are among that group.


Excellent report
12/13/2008 14:54
I‘m a little late in responding, but I just read your report and I thoroughly enjoyed it. Your videos helped me relive that experience. I tried Yale in Aug 08 but had to turn back just short of the saddle, right where you did your second video. I‘ll try it again in July 09 and this time I don‘t plan to turn back until I‘m standing on the top. I live in Illinois and I get only 1 shot a year at this. I can‘t wait!

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