Well the last hour was uneventful. It felt like crunch time, and this is where a bit of mental toughness comes in. This was not the world’s hardest mountain by any means. But looking up at the ridge made me think twice. OK, why am I doing this? How hard is this going to be? “Piece a cake” my buddy quipped, as if he were reading my mind 🙂
Here are a couple of photos from the 14er.com Mt Yale page that shows the last 30 minutes or so of work we had to do, and the route on the summit cone:
We reached the saddle, an unnamed peak at about 13, 605 and took off our packs to rest for a few minutes and take some photos of the stunning views from here.
Time to summit, and so we did. It’s basically a scramble, not too bad, but you had to pick your spots well, and there was some loose rock. Very happy that the weather was clear and with a light breeze. I would not want to be up here in a storm for sure. Anyway, we made it up, and what a neat feeling to be on the summit. We took four hours, not setting any speed records, but I wanted to be cautious, having come from sea level just a day before. I was actually a little surprised how good I felt. We lingered for 20 minutes, had a bagel, and the wind picked up a bit. Time to move off the summit. Going down was, in the end, the hard bit. About 2/3’s of the way down, and my legs felt a bit wobbly. Gerry Roach did say in his guidebook: “no matter how you tackle Yale, the peak will test your legs.” Uhhhh, yeah. Wow, the last mile or so, I was a hurting unit, mainly calves, although my knees certainly felt it. I did not use poles on the way down, since I felt often that I could not use them on the very rocky bits. I think I’ll use them next time. On a steep slope of scree, I slipped and scraped up my right leg and my arm, hitting a tree stump. Ouch. A nice souvenir of Yale. The last mile or so, I was spent. Wow, I said to myself. I am really pooped. Then my buddy, looking at poop right in the trail, exclaimed: “Bear poop!” Oooops. The motivator. And we made it back to the trail head, signed out in the log book, and hit the car. A real feeling of accomplishment sunk in, as my buddy drove home. I had driven in, but, with the lack of sleep, I thought better of driving. Feeling tired, it was an 8 hour day, but it felt really good to reflect on the day. I was a bit dehydrated. could have used a tad bit more water on the climb. We drove in Buena Vista for water, and awful sandwiches from a convenience store. They tasted like gourmet. There you have it. My first 14er, and I can’t wait to get back to Colorado. I learned a lot. It was a challenge, but I am liking how I can build on this for many other climbs. It was great to climb with a friend. Oh, I almost forgot, we looked in vain for the USGS Summit benchmark but could not find it! Anyone know where it is on Mt Yale? The Boulder map gallery sells the markers….but I did not get one. All day, we saw maybe 30 people. No where near as crowded as I thought it might be. I’ll have to go back to the map shop and pick up a benchmark to place on the top. I refuse to believe that Mt Yale is one foot shorter than Mt Princeton. No way! I might have to alter the benchmark height, or build up a bit of the mountain;-) But I suspect the people who have misplaced it…..
Here’s our summit pic: