Monday, July 25, 2011

Mt. Yale


Date: July 24, 2011
Elevation: 14, 196' (Mt. Belford
Range: Sawatch Range
Location: 10 miles West of Buena Vista
Climbed With: Damon (friend)
Conditions: Mostly sunny, warm
Trailhead: Denny Creek
Route: Southwest Slopes (Class 2)
Round Trip: 9.5 miles
Elevation Gain: 4300'

Timeline: Trailhead: 6:50 AM
                Summit: 9:50 AM
                Start Descent: 10:20 AM
                Trailhead: 12:30 PM

So today I fell off the side of Mt. Yale. Details to follow.

The day started with a 4 AM when we set off from Denver. As is becoming customary, I stopped to get gas, coffee and a snack. The ride to the TH was dark and uneventful. Soundtrack: Aer + Atmosphere. We stopped once more to use the restroom in Buena Vista at All Goods Quick Stop. After making good time we were at the (busy) TH at 6:45. The road is paved to Denny Creek. I packed up, laced my New Balance boots, and we took off on the trail.

We reached the first stream crossing in 25 minutes and continued a steady pace, gaining elevation out through the valley. 

As many would agree, the new trail is excellent. Thank you CFI for taking names and kicking ass for the last 17 years. 

New Trail

While gaining the ridge on the great trail we stopped around 9:00 for a short 5 minute break and then pushed up towards the summit. Once on the ridge, the trail runs out, but the remaining route is well cairned and the summit is not far off. With some occasional hand placements and easy boulder-hopping we ascended the final pitch to the summit.

On the Ridge

Final Pitch

The wind was calm on top as it had been all day. Mostly sunny skies with great views of Princeton to the south and Harvard/Columbia to the north. On this note, I have never been good at identifying other peaks from the top of 14ers. I think this skill is called orientography? Anyway, I can't ID a peak to save my life. We summited at 9:50 and started to descend at 10:20 after lunch.




Numero one nine

For being a Sunday, I thought the traffic levels were not all that bad.

About a mile into the hike from the TH there are a bunch of 1" diameter holes in the rocks in and around the trail. We couldn't quite put a finger on what they were. We settled on alien landing spots (because if you think about the percentage of living organisms on earth being really small, one could argue that it would be more likely for ET to be smaller than us right? But we figured it wouldn't matter because they'd be like ants and be able to lift a million times their body weight and take us over anyway...). We continued down towards the trailhead. Made the stream crossings again and finally out of the woods and down the short slope into the parking lot. Overall it was a great hike with great weather, awesome columbines, and nice views. But wait didn't I fall off of Mt. Yale today? We see the parking lot, we are going down a managable slope into the TH, the car is right there. We made it right? Haha I would soon be rolling on the floor laughing (the "on the floor" being involuntary). 15 steps from the parking lot I ate it and slid down the slope into the parking lot. I sat there in the trail laughing and dusting off my hands and knees while pondering the irony of my "New Balance" shoes. What a capper to the day.

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