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Mt. Yale  
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Route  Conditions Information  Posted By   Posted On    Photos  Comments Likes Dislikes    
2013-11-07  Southwest Slopes  Trail is in good shape and easily followable up to ~11,600‘. From there the trail gets confusing and hard to find. About ~100‘ after the fallen tree (easily recognizable) look for steps that are coming down from the mountain on the right side of the trail. We went straight (like everyone else) and lost the trail. We came down the mountain on the trail, hence the down mountain foot prints showing you the real trail. We just went straight up until we hit the trail using GPS. Above 11,600‘ you will want micro spikes. The snow is not deep, but it is slippery. Most of the snow was melting today. Once above 12,000‘, the trail is easily discernible. Snow shoes not required. mrschaible   2013-11-07  0  1    Edit Delete 
2013-10-26  Southwest Slopes  Nearly summer conditions with a dusting of snow. A bit of fresh snow on summit slopes and ridge, but it is tracked and packed. Doable in trail runners and short gaiters. Microspikes nice near treeline and summit ridge. Fast flowing, steripen‘able water 2.5 miles in from TH... could go really light. GeorgeB   2013-10-26 1     Edit Delete 
2013-10-24  Southwest Slopes  11,500 to tree line the melting snow was slick. Maybe a 1/4 to 1/2 mile in length requires traction. BostonBD   2013-10-24  0  2    Edit Delete 
2013-10-13  Southwest Slopes  The trail was excellent and easy to follow for the first two miles, with little to no snow until after the stream crossings. There was snow covering the trail at a crucial juncture between 11,200 -11,300. For someone not familiar with this trail, this could be problematic. The route description states: "Shortly after some small meadows, the trail climbs steeply up a hillside. From 11,300‘ to 11,900‘, hike north and east through the forest on a great trail." At this point, the trail disappeared into snow. When you are in the clearing, with a wide gully in front of you, and woods behind and to your right, the trail dips down to your right to cross the gully at its narrowest section, before the gully heads out of the trees. If there is snow covering, take great care here - do not, as we and several other groups did - continue up the gully and/or the rock field. The route description fails to mention that the trail turns sharply right and briefly downhill to cross the gully before it starts to climb steeply up the hillside. At this point, the trees are still thick and snow is likely to stick around. Once you start the steep climb the trail is very good and easy to follow, even with the snow. Ianfinity   2013-10-15  0     Edit Delete 
2013-10-05  East Ridge  First time summiting Yale from this TH! There was a very light dusting of snow on the CO trail from Avalanche TH up to 11,900 feet (opening in the trail where you turn left and start to head up the ridge to Mt. Yale). The snow got a bit deeper at the split but we were able to follow footprints from other hikers towards the ridge. Not too much snow on the first part of the ridge but as we got farther along the ridge the snow got deeper. It was pretty difficult to follow the correct/safest route to the summit due to the snow covered cairns. After a decent amount of time spent route finding and figuring out which boulders and rocks would not slide out from beneath us, we made it to the top! We descended via Denny Creek trail since we felt it unsafe to descend on such loose terrain, and we hitched a ride back to Avalanche TH. Not much snow on the Denny Creek side, at least not enough to loose the trail or need traction of any kind. I think that if the temperatures remain warm and it doesn‘t snow again any time soon the snow on each side would be non-existent. As for the snow on the East Ridge, I‘m not too sure...Great and exciting day on the east ridge! LizWeiss   2013-10-07  0     Edit Delete 
2013-09-29  Southwest Slopes  Climbed the standard route today from Denny Creek. The snow is mostly all gone, there are a few patches around 13,000 ft. but the trail is in great shape! Looks like a lot of the surrounding peaks have more snow than Yale. Very windy up there today, probably gusting to 40 or 45 mph. lajohn   2013-09-29 2     Edit Delete 
2013-07-03  Southwest Slopes  Clear sky, no snow and water flowing down the creek... It was a great day! Corn   2013-07-03 3     Edit Delete 
2013-06-18  Southwest Slopes  Trail is dry all the way up the Southwest Slopes route! The very little snow we did find was easy to go around, and we never needed our spikes. Watch your decent though, lots of loose gravel below treeline makes it easy to slip. Stage3413   2013-06-19  0     Edit Delete 
2013-06-12  East Ridge  We did the east ridge route. No snow most of the way. There was little snow at the "flat spot" at 13,500 but easily crossed. Pay attention to follow the carins, we got off route when we tried second guess them. desertdog   2013-06-14  0     Edit Delete 
2013-06-02  East Ridge  Climbed Yale via the East Ridge, descended the SW ridge. Route up to the east ridge was entirely clear of snow, and though the ridge itself is still holding some snow, you can get around it by scrambling over some of the rocky points, rather than trying to skirt around them. Had to cross snow a handful of times, and it was generally solid enough to walk on. The summit is completely covered in snow. Encountered a lot more snow descending the SW ridge, particularly below treeline. It was pretty well boot-packed, but still soft enough by the afternoon that there was more postholing than we were hoping for a June hike. atilsley   2013-06-03  0     Edit Delete 
2013-05-31  Southwest Slopes  Was up on Yale today via SW ridge. Trail is clear through the trees up until around 10,800. Then sporadic snow across the trail in places, but its avoidable. Just below treeline the snow is much more considerable, and it‘s easy to lose the trail from that point on. Snow still present pretty much the whole way up to the ridge. The ridge up to the summit is also still pretty snowy and icy in places, and the summit still holding snow. Took snow shoes and microspikes, but the snow was crunchy enough to kick steps with just boots. Thought about the microspikes, but didn‘t use them. Image1 - from treeline to ridge conditions. Image 2 - ridge top toward summit. Image 3 - in the trees nearing treeline (I think that‘s the crossing at 11,200). activecolorado   2013-05-31 3  2    Edit Delete 
2013-05-25  East Ridge  Got Yale via the east ridge yesterday. We brought snow shoes but they weren‘t necessary, we never used them. Generally the snow was hard enough to walk on, or not too deep if you sunk ( although I did get turtled once) and could be avoided entirely if you so desired. All and all it was a beautiful day and the peak conditions were close to summer. dannyg23   2013-05-26 4  2 1  Edit Delete 
2013-05-04  Southwest Slopes  It looks like the area wasn‘t really affected by the snow last week. The trail from Denny Creek is pretty packed down and there isn‘t too much snow for the first 1.5 miles to the split for Brown‘s Pass. We ditched our snowshoes after the split, which wasn‘t the smartest decision as the snow was ALOT softer on the way down! We lost the actual trail at about 2 miles in (right after you hike through the meadowy areas), but followed the path from previous hikers last week (thank you very much!) We pretty much climbed straight up the side of the hill until we hit treeline. Microspikes were not really needed and the snow was hard enough for us not to posthole on the way up. The snow was pretty patchy after treeline, so we were actually able to follow the trail for awhile, but you could totally just hike through the snow. As we approached the ridge to the summit we ran into the only other hiker on the mountain all day, and he told us to stay to the right of the ridge, which was super helpful as this was our first time on Yale. There is a decent amount of snow on the final ridge, but we found our way through the rocks pretty easily and made it to the summit as it started snowing. The way down was a blast as we were able to butt-slide over the patches of snow we had hiked up, the sun came out and it warmed up alot! (typical Colorado high country weather) On the way down the snow was alot softer than it was a few hours ago, and we cursed ourselves for leaving our snowshoes so close to the trailhead as we were postholing in some hip deep snow. Overall it was a long and incredibly fun day on the mountain. I hope our tracks will help others out who decide to hike Yale in the upcoming week! Unless it snows again...... LizWeiss   2013-05-05 2     Edit Delete 
2013-04-27  Southwest Slopes  Today Stereo311, climbnowworklater, and I summited Mount Yale via the Southwest Slopes. It was a warm, clear, calm day. The trail is well packed and not very deep below tree line. Two of use used microspikes and one of us used crampons with no difficulty. climbnowworklater put on his snowshoes for a short length of the mostly flat section of the trek back to the trailhead as things were getting a bit slushy by that time, but I think we‘d all agree snow shoes weren‘t necessary to complete the hike, and neither I nor Stereo311 ever put ours on. The trench below tree line ascends a very steep slope just as you come out of the trees (see images) that would be an avy concern if the snowpack didn‘t look right, but things seemed safe today. None of us inspected the snowpack with a shovel or any special equipment/knowledge, but I can say that on the way up boot pack was about 8 inches deep and the pack felt crunchy and sturdy/stable. On the way down things started to get slushy in the bootpack, but for the most part the pack still seemed uniform and sturdy/stable, though softer. Postholed in a few spots, but nothing to really write home about. No issues with this steep slope up or down, though we carried our ice axes in that section. Above tree line was mostly snow covered though there were sections of bare rock. Our path above tree line today did switch across some steep snow covered sections below those you‘ll see shaded as avy risk in the attached image. It‘d be undesirable to fall and slide in these spots, but there didn‘t seem to be any avy risk, and the pack conditions seemed to mirror those below tree line, though with far less slush on the way down (almost none). There were at least 2 other parties on the route today and above tree line some different route decisions were made that resulted in a few different boot packs, but all will get you there. They follow the standard route in some areas, but not all. The route data I‘m attaching is from my GPS, but should more or less agree with the path taken by Stereo311 and climbnowworklater, though I was about 20-30 minutes behind them to the summit. My climb time was 7h52m. 4h53m up, 22m on the summit, 2h37m down, 8.6mi RT. 5:56am - 1:48pm. A great day to summit Yale. Image #1 is my route laid onto with slop angle shading. Image #2 is a look up towards the summit from about 13k. vdavidoff   2013-04-27 2     Edit Delete 
2013-03-29  Avalanche  Road dry all the way to trailhead, parking lot plowed and dry. The initial switchbacks are dry. Once you get into the trees and start heading north, it‘s knee to belly deep snow all the way to treeline. On the first couple miles there is an old trench in place that has been packed down, blown/snowed over, packed down, snowed over, etc. If you stay in the 1 foot wide, slightly off colored snow path and are careful about boot placement, you can minimize post holing on this stretch. The trail ends abruptly approximately 1/2 to 3/4 miles from treeline with no boot prints or sign of travel to be found. I knew where I needed to go, so I pointed it toward the low point on the ridge to my north and post holed through knee to waist deep snow for a couple hours. Upon gaining the ridge I found it necessary to put on microspikes. At a bare minimum, I would advise that spikes are necessary to safely make the summit. I would have felt a LOT more comfortable had I brought my ice axe to cross a couple of the snow fields and for some of the steeper sections of the trail. There were a few spots where a slip might have sent you sliding down the snow off the ridgeline. I also stayed true to the ridgeline in several areas instead of following the trail over deep/sketchy snow. As I was climbing some of the loose-ish rock, I kept thinking to myself how dumb I was for not bringing my helmet. I had to back down and around certain areas because the rock looked rotten and I didn‘t want to send anything above down onto my head. In some areas the only feasible option (without an ice axe) was to climb the rock, however. Therefore I would also recommend a helmet and ice axe if you plan on hitting this route any time in the near future. There was a good mix of soft, deep snow, windblown crusty snow, and dry rock on the ridge to the summit. Ice wasn‘t really an issue. I encountered about every kind of weather you could expect on Friday - snow, sleet, sun, clouds, wind, wind blowing a ton of powder right in your face, and even a little stretch where it was downright warm. The only other living things I saw all day were a few birds down lower in the trees - I think I had the entire mountain to myself! Left the car at 700 AM, summit at 255, 3 minutes up top taking pictures, and back to the car at 715. I can tell this route would be a blast in the summer. However, with conditions the way they are right now, I would recommend waiting for things to clear up a little bit - unless you like self torture. Stretches of this hike (especially the post holing bushwacking) were absolutely miserable. But then again, that‘s what I get for not bringing snowshoes But all in all, a great hike, an awesome mountain, and another excellent outing in the Sawatch! Photo 1 - a look at most of the 2 mile hike along the ridgeline soon after exiting the trees Photo 2 - a closer look at some of the tricky terrain as one nears the summit Photo 3 - views from the top eskermo   2013-04-01 3  2      
2013-01-29  Southwest Slopes  Road slippery, but clear all the way to Denny Creek trailhead. Recommend 4WD. Broke trail to Hartenstein Lake/Yale fork in no more than 10 in of snow. After fork, we crossed two creeks and entered a clearing: in this clearing we were breaking through knee to thigh deep powder. We veered left up Delaney Gulch before beginning our ascent up the southwest slopes of Yale. At about 11,800‘ (still below treeline), we encountered two open areas with high avalanche risk. For the first, we hugged the trees and cautiously broke through thigh deep powder on a slope that probably maxed out at 40 degrees. The second slope turned us around. The snow was waist deep and the grade steepened. Due to the unstable base layer underneath the recent accumulation, we determined it was not worth the risk. If you see our trench, I would recommend looking for a route up to timberline to the south of ours. To the south, there was a bit of a gully with good tree coverage, so I think you might have more luck gaining treeline from there. (Note: image 1 is a picture of the clearing before Delaney Gulch. image 2 is a picture of the first sketch slope. images 3 and 4 are pictures of the second slope that turned us back. jakefox   2013-01-30 4  2  Edit Delete 
2013-01-26  Southwest Slopes  there was a nice trench that was easy to follow up just past treeline, though given the snow that started falling it might be gone. microspikes essential, and once you get past treeline, it is easy to lose the trail many times over - this leads to some pretty impressive postholing. so either bring your snowshoes with you or grin and bear it (as we did). with a combination of actually finding the trail, using gps, and the downloaded photos from, we were able to approximate a route close to the original one planned. road all the way up to denny creek trailhead was dry when we got there, had some snow as we left, but should still be no issue for anyone in 2wd. lafutura   2013-01-27  0  1    Edit Delete 
2013-01-12  Southwest Slopes  Cold, cold, cold! The trailhead temps said "-10" when I started at 5:45. I think it dropped considerably sometime around 7:30 because I went from warm and toasty in gloves and a softshell jacket to "holy crap, where‘s my hardshell and mittens??" The cold actually stopped me in my tracks, it was that big of a switch. It was a balmy -6 when I made it back around 5:30 that evening. Oh, and the trail is hardpacked snow along 90% of the below tree level portions of the trail. I followed the trench, but it deviated before making the jump to 12,000 feet and I ended up climbing a steep hillside to try to get some elevation and try to locate the trail again. Above 12,000 it‘s windblown, and still passable with spikes in most places. There are a few troughs in the terrain that have collected waist deep snow, but these can be avoided. Summit was mostly windblown or clear. No issues on the final scramble. Note - I‘m not sure where the trail disappeared off to around 12,000 feet. The route that I took coming back trying to follow the official route (and then failing at that, miserably) went through some heinously deep powder, and (since I‘m a dork) I hadn‘t adjusted my MSR snowshoe bindings to account for my Spantiks‘ increased size and I ended up sucking it up postholing, or "wading through snow" trying to find the trail coming back into the Denny‘s Creek valley. I would post pictures but it was so cold my camera didn‘t want to work properly. Spantiks worked beautifully. In my blood-sugar deprived mind, I came up with the word for them: "Span-tastic." :-p shearmodulus   2013-01-13  0  1    Edit Delete 
2013-01-06  Southwest Slopes  Attempted Yale standard route Sunday. Road to Denny Creek TH is plowed and any car can make it if you go slow enough. Left the car around 6:00. Excellent, wide, hard packed trail for the first 1.25 miles to the Mt. Yale trail junction. Then the trail is much more narrow but still a solid, packed, very easy to follow trail. Nearing treeline, the difficulties began. If you didnt walk in the existing bootprints you could potentially post hole up to your stomach or higher (I am 6‘ 1"). There are a few areas where foot placement is crucial or else you could plunge one leg down through thin snow cover into a deep rock trap (if its happened to you before, you know what I am talking about). At treeline the trail disappears. I just picked a line and started going up. Here conditions are variable. Some places have deep snow that is essentially just sugar, and other places its windblown and you can walk on it. At least until you start postholing. There were definitely some lines you could take to the summit that didnt have much snow cover, but the rock didnt look like fun in those areas. After snowboarding pretty hard the day before, my legs and body just werent up for the final push and dealing with the changing snow conditions. I turned around near or just below 13, 000‘. Brought microspikes but never used them. Several spots would have been much easier with them, however, so I would recommend them. Beautiful blue bird day with very low winds. Virtually no postholing below treeline, but I was back to the car just after noon. eskermo   2013-01-07 4  2    Edit Delete 
2012-12-29  East Ridge  My friend Matt and I attempted the E ridge Sunday the 30th, from a high camp we established the day before. Road to Avalanche Gulch was clear. We broke trail for 3 miles through sugar to our camp at 12,000 ft. We laid a good trench for the brethren, but be careful near 11,800, we went straight north instead of veering northwest, you‘ll know when you see our tracks and go WTF did they go up there?!?! Set up camp feeling pretty wasted. Guesstemating overnight low of around -5. Got a late start on Sunday , around 0730. Right off the bat, I began having issues with my right foot, namely I couldn‘t feel any of my toes on that foot. Hoping they would improve with movement, we headed up the East Ridge. For those who haven‘t been on it, the E Ridge is AMAZING! Lots of scrambling, killer views, it‘s got it all.... It is however, as Matt said, a no joke situation. A fall on the steeper class 3 sections would have serious consequences. The S side of the ridge was loaded, so we either passed any difficulties to the North, or went straight up on the crest of the ridge. We stopped at Pt. 13420 to rest, and my foot was worse, so we made the difficult decision to descend. I‘m beginning to think Yale simply does‘t want me to stand on top of her in winter....): We went down, packed up camp, slogged out to the car, and drove back to Albuquerque. And yes, that sucked. Gear notes: Nemo Moki Tent (BOMBER!) WM -10 degree down bag MSR XGK Snowshoes needed from top of switchbacks to base of ridge Brought crampons, didn‘t use them. Microspikes may help higher up on the ridge. Great experience, physically draining, disappointing ending.... Going to reeval my footwear system for sure. Thanks for reading, Happy New Years! Peace. Pictures: #1- Laying the trench #2- Yeah we‘re gonna go up th... Wait, what?! #3- Mattie styling #4- Yours truly, trying to find his way seano732   2012-12-31 4     Edit Delete 

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