Yale, Mount

elevation: 4,330 m.  height gain: 1,310 m.
area: Buena Vista,Colorado,USA
map USGS 1:24,000 Mount Yale, CO

Ref: 14ers.com

The Denny Creek trailhead as seen upon my return.
THE CLIMB  -South-west slopes  class 2

Scramble: RT 8.5; 4.0 up. After spending the last couple of days acclimatizing and hiking 14ers, I rolled in to Buena Vista for my 6th 14er in three days! I was feeling a little bit tired but much stronger than on my first trip. I had just hiked the Decalibron 4-peak circuit and left Alma early this afternoon. I stopped at Subway for lunch and to spend some time on my laptop with WIFI; I posted pictures, checked the forecast and my route up Mount Yale. Once replenished and caught up with the world, I hopped in the truck and drove to the Denny Creek trailhead. The trailhead was easy to find, I located the start of the trail and hung out writing poems as I love to do at times. I managed to fall asleep at a reasonable time with my alarm clock set for 4AM. At 3AM, a car drove in the parking lot and parked close to me; that woke me up. I watched the two hikers stumble around looking for the trail by headlight, they veered in the right direction and got on their way. I prepared to follow suit and left the truck half an hour later. The trail was easy to follow but unlike my previous hikes, this approach was in forested terrain; I decided to bring my bear spray. I hiked in the dark for quite some time before I started hearing the voices of the hikers ahead of me, then I saw their headlight. Once I met up with them, we had a break and chatted. The two ladies were happy to see me, I joked that the mountain belonged to women on this day! I carried on to treeline and beyond as the break of dawn replaced total darkness. I travelled the featureless grassy terrain towards the steep slope that leads to the saddle and summit ridge. I realized that I wouldn't be able to see the beautiful sunrise from this location, I was slightly disappointed after witnessing an awesome sunrise on both previous hikes. I walked steady in the shade of the mountain, the air was crisp. After a decent grunt, I reached the saddle and enjoyed the view towards Mounts Columbia and Harvard. I took a quick break before continuing on the summit ridge. The trail was shaded by the ridge crest and the rocks were very frosty, care was needed to prevent slipping. Unlike the other hikes I had experienced, the summit ridge trail section offered some easy scrambling; I was thrilled to use my hands to steady myself here and there!! After a short distance, I gained the ridge proper and walked to the summit cairn. Once again, I had the lofty viewpoint to myself; I took many pictures and sat down to enjoy this windless summit. I stayed for quite some time before considering my return, I watched the frost on the rocks slowly melt from the sun rays as I ate my breakfast. Once satisfied with my lengthy stay, I backtracked along the summit ridge. Near the saddle, I met the two ladies from this morning; I warned them about the slippery frosty rocks as the trail was still shaded. After wishing them well I carried on. On the way down from the saddle, I started meeting more hikers; all of them women, I told them the mountain belonged to women today. It was kinda funny, I repeated saying that right until a couple came up the mountain; I told the man he hadn't gotten the memo about ladies only!!! ...he didn't understand, I had to explain. I continued along the broad trail mindlessly, lost in my thoughts. I did stop to spy on marmots basking in the sun, they were numerous in the boulder fields. As I neared treeline, I noticed clouds moving in at a pretty fast pace, I was glad to be descending. I passed numerous hikers on their way up, they seemed undeterred by the deteriorating weather... Back at the truck, the sky had covered up and thunderstorms seemed eminent; I was really glad I had left early. Now I was off to Leadville for a rest day, yeah!!!!!!!

yale's saddle

The sun rises beyond the frosty ground of Yale's saddle.

trail on the side of the ridge crest

The trail skirts the south-west side of the ridge crest.

looking back

Looking back at the saddle.

some easy scrambling

The ridge offers a bit of easy scrambling.

topping out on mount yale

Topping out on Mount Yale.

cairn on the summit

This very official piece of paper on the cairn indicates the summit.

mounts harvard and columbia

Mounts Harvard and Columbia to the north.

frost on the rocks

The heat of the sun is melting the frost on the rocks.

mount princeton

Mount Princeton to the south-east.

taylor reservoir

Taylor Reservoir behind Turner Peak to the west.

enjoying the lofty viewpoint

I enjoy having the lofty viewpoint to myself.

yale's east ridge

Looking down Yale's east ridge with Buena Vista in the valley; a sea of low cloud cover engulfs the mountains beyond.

view north-west

View north-west with Huron Peak in the far distance (left of center) and Missouri Mountain on the right.


Backtracking, the trail is still in the shade and the rocks are still frosty.

trail still in the shade

More of the same further down.

several 14ers in the background

Nearing the saddle with several 14ers visible in the background.

back at the saddle

Back at the saddle, it's sunny and warm now.

grassy south-west slopes

Looking back at the featureless grassy south-west slopes.

mindless trekking

Mindless trekking on the broad trail.

storm clouds form quickly

Storm clouds form quickly.

small boulder field

A small boulder field before treeline is home of numerous marmots.

marmots bask in the sun

Three marmots bask in the sun.

log bridges

Log bridges on the trail.
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