"I had forgotten how much I hate post-holing... I hate it more than terrorism." These were the words out of Joe's mouth right before the camera snapped our pic at the trailhead after we got back down.
Forgive the blurry pic; turns out i've self arrested on my camera a few too many times and the auto focus is broken.
Lots of this - he is actually standing up
On the way down we elected to try to follow the trail through some heavy drifts at tree line which resulted in about an hour of wading through snow that was soft enough to plunge 3 feet deep in but still hard enough to lock/twist/torque your leg when trying to pull your leg out. This led to Joe's closing remarks at the trailhead as he unlaced his boots and poured at the standing water in them.
This trip was birthed and came together in a short conversation at REI the night before. Joe (hatchmaster), Thom, and I were all working and when we realized we all had the day off we decided to get out and enjoy the spring weather on a 14er. We settled on Yale.
We met at 5am in the REI parking lot in Thom's beast of a vehicle. One member of our party who shall remain nameless (read the previous sentence and do the math) didn't wake up so we picked him up in Tiny Town on the way.
After an easy drive we donned our gear and were out on the trail by 8:10am.
I hadn't been out since the middle of march for a failed solo attempt on Blanca. After winter outings with -20 wind chill, 100mph winds, 12hr 18+ mile days, food and water that were constantly frozen, and all the chaos and madness that comes with climbing in the winter, spring conditions were sheer bliss.
We made our way up the trail and enjoyed the views of the valley. The first few hours of our hike it was hot. A little after we hit timberline the temp dropped and the wind picked up to around 10mph.
Image #5 (not yet uploaded)
Right after a stream crossing we lost the trail and followed tracks out of the trees to a short boulder field and scree field.
We proceeded straight up which is what I prefer and recommend (as opposed to fighting through the drifts on the trail). Joe and Thom didn't like it as much and later said they would have preferred the trail.
At this point the three of us began to separate a little. Joe began filling sick and had a headache so he was content to stop around 12,700ft and eat lunch as we summitted. The trail up Yale above timberline is excellent and makes it an easy hike up.
Thom and I both summitted and enjoyed lunch and the views. The weather was all around us not on us.
We made quick time on the way down (minus the post-holing around treeline) and were happy to have had a great spring day in the mountains.
Time to Summit: 11:57am (3hrs 48min)
Return to TH: 3:15pm
RT length: 8.5mi from Denny Creek