Mount Yale

 Southwest Slopes
Difficulty Class 2 
Risk FactorsExposure: Moderate
Rockfall Potential: Moderate  
Route-Finding: Low  
Commitment: Moderate  
TrailheadDenny Creek
Start9,900 feet
Summit14,200 feet
Total Gain4,300 feet
RT Length9.50 miles
Last UpdatedOct 2022
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From U.S. 24 in the center of Buena Vista, take the County 306 road towards Cottonwood Pass. Drive 12 miles on this road to reach the Denny Creek Trailhead and paved parking area on the right.


Taken from just up the Cottonwood Pass (306) road, 1 shows the upper route. From the parking area, follow the broad trail north into the forest. After 1 mile, cross the Denny Creek stream on a log bridge. Near 1.3 miles, reach the Hartenstein Lake/Mt. Yale trail junction and turn right - 2. Yale. Weave through the forest and eventually parallel the stream in Delaney Gulch.

Near 11,200', cross the Delaney Gulch stream on a log bridge - 3. Shortly after some small meadows, the trail climbs north then east up a steep hillside - 4 and 5. Above 12,100', leave the trees and continue up through rocks as you approach a shoulder - 6 and 7. Once on the shoulder, head northeast toward Yale's upper west slopes - 8, 9 and 10. Near 13,200' the upper slope steepens - 11. Grind out 750 feet of elevation gain to reach 13,950', at a saddle on Yale's northwest ridge.

Turn right and walk over to the base of the rugged summit ridge - 12. Follow a cairned, Class 2, boulder-hopping route along the west (right) side of the ridge crest or scramble along the ridge crest to increase the difficulty to Easy Class 3 - 13 and 14. Continue to the spacious summit - 15, 16 and 17.


Yale has a trail to 13,900'. IMPORTANT: This route enters the Collegiate Peaks Wilderness area. Wilderness areas have special regulations and restrictions for party size, dispersed camping, campfires, etc. Also, dog owners should read the wilderness information carefully because some wilderness areas prohibit dogs to be off-leash and/or limit how close dogs can be to lakes and streams. If you have questions about the wilderness area, please contact a U.S. Forest Service office for the National Forest(s) listed above.
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Caution: The information contained in this route description may not be accurate and should not be the only resource used in preparation for your climb. Failure to have the necessary experience, physical conditioning, supplies or equipment can result in injury or death. and the author(s) of this route description provide no warranties, either express or implied, that the information provided is accurate or reliable. By using the information provided, you agree to indemnify and hold harmless and the route description author(s) with respect to any claims and demands against them, including any attorney fees and expenses. Please read the Safety and Disclaimer pages for more information.

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