TR: Mt. Yale, Colorado - My 1st 14'er

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jwalliser
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TR: Mt. Yale, Colorado - My 1st 14'er

Post by jwalliser » Mon Jan 16, 2017 1:44 pm

I'm new to the forum and thought I would contribute a few TRs from some of my past experiences. This TR for Mt. Yale comes from when I lived in Colorado and just managed to find the time to hike a 14'er before moving to DC in the summer of 2014. Mt Yale is the one of the Collegiate Peaks and the 21st tallest peak in Colorado (14,200ft). Looking back, I can't really remember why we chose Mt. Yale from all the many 14'ers but I'm pretty sure we liked that the TH was easy to reach by car from Colorado Springs and there were campsites near the trailhead. The National Forest Service runs the Collegiate Peaks Campground that is just a few hundred feet down the road from the Denny Creek TH, which is the most popular approach to summit Mt. Yale. We stayed there and appreciated the numerous trees Cottonwood Creek which ran the length of the campground and contained probably the smallest brown trout I have caught.

One important precaution when hiking in Colorado is to avoid exposed areas in the afternoon. You can almost set your watch by the thunderstorms that seem to hit every afternoon in Colorado, so it is best to summit before noon so you can get down before the weather gets bad. We departed shortly after sunrise from the Denny Creek TH. It begins at 9,900', which means an ascent of 4,300'. The round trip was 9.6 miles (4.8 mi each way). It had rained the day before, but the trail was in good condition. The bottom half paralleled Denny Creek on your right hand side. This portion of the trail is through forest and is maintains a fairly gentle slope. At around 11,200 ft we crossed the creek over a log bridge and not too long after, smaller Delaney Creek before beginning to climb more steeply leaving the gulch behind. The trail winds through the last of the trees until about 12,000' when we emerged over a shoulder and the remainder of the hike was revealed.

The route climbed steadily for the next 1,000 ft of altitude through a large field of yellow wildflowers before the most strenuous portion of the hike which is an ascent from about 13,200' to 13,900'. This portion of the trail is visible from the moment you break through he tree line and as we began to feel the effects of the altitude and contemplate the awaiting challenge it was quite intimidating. My friend is 6'7" and was really feeling some dread about the remaining climb. We passed a group of tourists from Kansas that seemed to have run out of gas at this point and didn't see them on the way back. But we pressed on and reached the saddle, which only left less than 300' of scrambling through boulders to the summit. There were probably 20 people on the summit which was a big frustrating since they seemed to be oblivious to the fact that others wanted a turn for photos at the very top.

We didn't stay long because the weather seemed to be turning. The return trip was not nearly as exciting since we just wanted to get back to the car, give our legs a break, and get a hot meal in nearby Buena Vista. The highlight of our descent was a guy we crossed paths with around 13,000', he was practically running up while carrying a 40 pound kid strapped to his back. It certainly brought home the message that we should have spent a little more time physically training before the hike! We swore never to hike another 14'er but I'm certain I will be ready to do it again when I move back to Colorado in another 4 years.

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Taking a break at the top.

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My 6'7" friend, happy to have made it through the final challenge.

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A look down at where we started.

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Yellow wildflowers everywhere.

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Looking up at the summit and the remaining climb.

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Enjoying the hike.








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Vaca Russ
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Re: Mt. Yale, Colorado - My 1st 14'er

Post by Vaca Russ » Thu Jan 19, 2017 11:41 am

JWalliser,

Great report. I have done a bit of hiking / climbing in Colorado. It is almost as good as our Sierra. Unfortunately, it is "Beyond the Sierra" and this report will be moved to the "Beyond the Sierra" by our Mods.

Please keep posting legacy reports!

Thanks,

-Russ
"...Or have you only comfort, and the lust for comfort, that stealthy thing that enters the house a guest, and then becomes a host and then a master?"

Kahil Gibran.

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maverick
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Re: Mt. Yale, Colorado - My 1st 14'er

Post by maverick » Thu Jan 19, 2017 12:50 pm

Thank you for coming back and taking the time to write up this wonderful TR and pictures. Sounds like it was a fun and challenging trip, good for you and you 6'7" friend for making it all the way to the summit. :thumbsup:
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I don't give out specific route information, my belief is that it takes away from the whole adventure spirit of a trip, if you need every inch planned out, you'll have to get that from someone else.

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jwalliser
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Re: Mt. Yale, Colorado - My 1st 14'er

Post by jwalliser » Fri Jan 20, 2017 5:43 am

Vaca Russ wrote:JWalliser,

Great report. I have done a bit of hiking / climbing in Colorado. It is almost as good as our Sierra. Unfortunately, it is "Beyond the Sierra" and this report will be moved to the "Beyond the Sierra" by our Mods.

Please keep posting legacy reports!

Thanks,

-Russ

Thanks Russ! I guess I should have scrolled down and explored the forum a little more before posting!

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