Peak(s):  Mt. Yale  -  14,196 feet
Date Posted:  12/02/2013
Date Climbed:   11/30/2013
Author:  DanielL
 Mt. Yale: East Ridge Perfection  

Peak: Mount Yale
Route: East Ridge
Difficulty: Class 3 (described as Class 2 on the route description, we were off a few times )
Roundtrip: 11.5 miles or so - again, we were off quite a bit
Elevation Gain: 5,300'

On Saturday, my sister and I tackled Mt. Yale's East Ridge. The weather was beautiful, staying around 20 degrees and hardly any wind all day. However, this climb proved to be quite a challenge!

Our first discovery was that the trail from Avalanche Gulch, also the Colorado Trail, was packed down for about 2 miles. However, we abruptly came to the end of the broken snow path. So, on went the snowshoes.

Breaking trail through the trees

As a result of not following our GPS, which shows the Colorado Trail, we ended up significantly off route and spent a bunch of extra time climbing over fallen trees, crossing steep gullies and eventually reaching treeline well above the start of the East Ridge, on the wrong side of the saddle at the base of the ridge. Whoops!

Somewhat off route...

We finally crested the ridge and caught our first glimpse of Yale's East Ridge.

Descending to the saddle with Yale's East Ridge in full view

We reached the saddle and off went the snowshoes. Despite the delays and extra effort to get back on track, the weather was great and we were both having fun!

Climbing the East Ridge

Some initial scrambling on the ridge



Interesting snow ripples on the ridge crest

At about 13,200'


We crested a rugged bump and saw the final summit stretch.

At 13,400', the summit finally appears

Getting around this bump looked easy, but it was actually quite tough. The rock was steep up high and the snow was deep and difficult to navigate lower. We stayed high for the ascent - believe me, it was a lot harder than it looks!


The final 700' of the route held some of the best terrain of the day! The first obstacle was a section of snow that looked straightforward but was actually quite steep. Slick rocks under the soft, deep snow made it more difficult as well.

Doesn't look too bad...

Yes, it is steeper than it looks!


We got over this steep section and were rewarded with a much closer view of the final challenges:

Above the steep snow, looking up at the next stretch

Getting closer...



Final summit ridge

Finally, at about 2:00 pm, we reached the hard-earned summit of Mt. Yale! We didn't stay for long, however, as we only had a few hours until darkness.

Back down...

Last sunlight on Harvard and Columbia

Fiery sunset on the east skyline

The last 3 miles were spent in the dark, using the GPS to find the Colorado Trail so we wouldn't get off track again. However, snowshoeing through a calm, cool night with fresh, sparkling snow reflecting headlamp light proved to be a fantastic way to end our day. Thanks for reading!

Thumbnails for uploaded photos (click to open slideshow):
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 Comments or Questions

12/02/2013 18:45
Tough route with some great pics. Sometimes getting off route can be fun. (at least that's what I tell myself....)


What a work out!
12/02/2013 19:19
If I take my two summer ascents of Yale along the mellow southwest slopes and put them back to back it might count for about a third of what you guys did. Nice job and wonderful pics to boot.


12/02/2013 22:46
Great job! I loved those pictures! My buddy and I did that route last winter and it was an amazing time! Glad that you had good weather and great job on that hike!

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