Length: 9.5 miles
Time: 7 hours
Weather: 40-70 degrees, sunny
I first attempted Mount Yale approximately 10 years ago, with our first dog Sarah Jane accompanying me. But, on that first attempt I didn’t start early enough and had to turn back due to incoming storm clouds. This time, I started before dawn with the hopes of beating the weather.
I left Colorado Springs at 2:00 AM, and reached the Denny Creek trailhead (9,900′ elevation) at about 4:00. I started hiking up at about 4:15 AM in the dark with a headlamp. Visibility improved enough, such that the headlamp was no longer needed, by about 5:10 AM. I reached treeline at about 6, and the summit (14,196′) at about 8:00 AM. I stayed at the summit for 1/2 hour, enjoying the super-calm weather and the quiet time to myself. Then, headed back down, returning to the trailhead at 11:15 AM.
On the way up, I met two guys from Illinois. Their “trail names” were Link and Doc Holliday. This was the first I had ever heard of adopting a trail name. So, I thought about it and decided on “Blueberry”. I wear a blue jacket and blue backpack, and I love to eat blueberries. Sounds good.
The trail was easy to follow, until the saddle. Then, the talus approaching the summit makes it easy to lose the route. There are some cairns marking the easiest route, along the west slope of the summit approach. It is recommended, for greater speed and safety, to watch for and follow the cairns rather than scramble along the ridge.
On the return hike, I counted about 65 people in groups of various sizes on their way up. The banner photo is a marmot seen along the trail on the way down. This was my 5th fourteener summit.
Chris on Mount Yale Summit, view North
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