Day 21 – Attempting Mt. Yale

Today we attempted the side quest from the Colorado Trail to the top of Mt. Yale.

Waking Up & Heading Out

Climbing a fourteener requires an early start to the day. Whether it’s to avoid crowds or the afternoon storms, many head out on the dark. While we knew we needed time to try for Mt. Yale (this is the harder alternate route), we also knew it would be hard to find the way in the dark- so a lazy 4 am wake up it was. Again the hard part- putting on freezing cold wet socks and shoes. But this time there was a view of millions of stars to distract me.

As we were bear bagging all the gear we weren’t going to carry up, the sky started to brighten.

Do You See the Trail?

Finding our way proved to be more difficult then anticipated. The trail seemed to split and disappear at each rocky section.

Where’s the trail??

Because we were headed straight uphill at high elevation- there were also plenty of breaks to breathe.

And to take photos.

Just Follow the Ridge Line

So the ridge line is basically the trail. It looks way easier on the map and from down below.

Looking back at where we started

The route finding was much more difficult going up then coming down. But we were making forward progress until we hit the rock scramble.

I sat down to eat Combo’s like any smart hiker and John dropped his pack to find a way up.

John is that tiny person on top.

Making The Call

I was not feeling a full on rock scramble. We also made the hiker mistake of not having downloaded more information about the trail. We were so used the Colorado Trail and well marked side trails, we didn’t think to check for details. It turns out the trail skirts that nasty rock scramble. So we called it at 13308 feet. With smaller packs, stowable poles and info about the trail around the rock scramble I think we would have made it.

Heading Down

An alien looking thistle anyone??

Looking up from our starting point- we got to the middle of the first peak (the one with the 3 bumps).

Then like good hiker trash, we took advantage of the 30 minutes of sun to dry out everything we owned.

Maybe next time Mt. Yale. Now I’m ready for a nap.

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