Mount Yale (14,196′)

Adventures3 Comments

Distance 9.09 miles
Time 5 hr 19 min
Summit Elevation 14,196 feet
Elevation Gain 4,467 feet
Route Denny Creak Trailhead
GPS Export GPX
GPS Analysis Strava

After just completing the Blanca trip, Kim asked what I had planned for Natalee for the rest of our trip. I don’t know — another climb? Half-joking but not really. Well, after only a single day off she was game to hit the road again. Summer is almost over, why not?

So we planned to wake up at 5 AM and drive the 2.5 hours to Buena Vista to summit Mount Yale. Should be a straightforward climb but the best part was it was supposed to be clear skies all day. I missed my alarm clock and heard Natalee packing up around 5:30 AM so I got up, grabbed my light clothes and just a CamelBak and we were off. Howard was back from vacation so we had something new to listen to the whole drive out there. That was a life saver. So much driving in one weekend!

The skies were very foggy on the way out but was we approached the Collegiate Peaks area, the skies cleared! We were on the trail by 8:45. Probably my latest start ever but given the weather and the seemingly short hike, we should be good. The trail winds for about 3 miles through the woods to get to the west side of the peak for the ascent.

Mount Yale
Mount Yale

We made quick work of it but I was getting nervous. We started at 10,000 feet and had gotten into the 11s but we were running out of mileage for the remaining 2,000+ feet. Is this thing straight up? Once we left treeline, it was. Portions of the trail were so steep I was walking up them on my toes trying to get as much leverage as possible. I caught Natalee walking up the trail backwards at times because she said it helped her calves. At this point, you could see the summit. It was nice to be able to see the goal the whole time but I think Natalee didn’t want to look at it. Here is Natalee up the trail from me a bit with the summit in the background.

Mount Yale

After a mile of steady climbing straight up, we hit the ridge and then some fun class 2 rock climbing began. There was somewhat of a trail down a bit lower but we went right for the high ridgeline and played on the rocks. The rocks were like glue and there wasn’t a loose one in sight. Such a change from the day on Blanca. It was fun to be on rocks again. A couple dips and we were on the summit. There was a 74 year old gentleman named Bernie hanging out up there. Natalee and he got talking and it turned out they had both done only a few mountains and they were the exact same ones. I commented to Natalee on how you think you are awesome when you get to the top but then a guy like that is there and it sets a new bar. Can I do this in my 70s? Not sure on that one.

Mount Yale
Mount Yale

On the way down, I got Natalee to pick up the pace and we trail ran a good portion back down. I had my new camera with me so I shot video through the whole climb. YouTube limits to 10 minutes so I had to do it in two parts. Probably stuff I could have cut out but I figured I might as well post what I had.

Thanks for visiting, Sis! Come back again next year and we can do it all over again — on another peak!

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  • Jeff Valliere

    Brandon, sounds like a great time with your sis, wish I could coax my sister into the same adventures. We should get out for some peaks sometime. Jeff.

  • Natalee

    B, thanks for planning a great 2nd climb. That book said it was all legs and they weren’t lying!! The weather you ordered was perfect! Looking forward to next year already!

  • Ripley

    cool… i envy you guys… you have so many places and so many mountains to run… (and train)… 🙁