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Mt. Yale
standard Southwest Slopes
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Difficulty:
 Class 2 
Risk Factors:Exposure: Moderate
Rockfall Potential: Moderate  
Route-Finding: Low  
Commitment: Moderate  
 
Trailhead:Denny Creek
Start:9,900 feet
Summit:14,196 feet
Total Gain:4,300 feet
RT Length:9.50 miles
Duration:User Climb Times
Author:BillMiddlebrook
Updated:7/2021
Weather:NOAA Forecast
Conditions:436 reports
Cell Signal:22 reports
Sheriff:Chaffee: 719-539-2596
Forest:San Isabel
Wilderness:Collegiate Peaks
Quad. Maps:Log In to View
Camping:On Google Maps
Eats:On Google Maps
Downloads:Log In to Download
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Trailhead

From U.S. 24 in the center of Buena Vista, take the County 306 road towards Cottonwood Pass. Drive 12 miles on this road to reach the Denny Creek Trailhead and paved parking area on the right.

Route

Taken from just up the Cottonwood Pass (306) road, 1 shows the upper route. From the parking area, follow the broad trail north into the forest. After 1 mile, cross the Denny Creek stream on a log bridge. Near 1.3 miles, reach the Hartenstein Lake/Mt. Yale trail junction and turn right - 2. Yale. Weave through the forest and eventually parallel the stream in Delaney Gulch.

Near 11,200', cross the Delaney Gulch stream on a log bridge - 3. Shortly after some small meadows, the trail climbs north then east up a steep hillside - 4 and 5. Above 12,100', leave the trees and continue up through rocks as you approach a shoulder - 6 and 7. Once on the shoulder, head northeast toward Yale's upper west slopes - 8, 9 and 10. Near 13,200' the upper slope steepens - 11. Grind out 750 feet of elevation gain to reach 13,950', at a saddle on Yale's northwest ridge.

Turn right and walk over to the base of the rugged summit ridge - 12. Follow a cairned, Class 2, boulder-hopping route along the west (right) side of the ridge crest or scramble along the ridge crest to increase the difficulty to Easy Class 3 - 13 and 14. Continue to the spacious summit - 15, 16 and 17.

Notes

Yale has a trail to 13,900'. IMPORTANT: This route enters the Collegiate Peaks Wilderness area. Wilderness areas have special regulations and restrictions for party size, dispersed camping, campfires, etc. Also, dog owners should read the wilderness information carefully because some wilderness areas prohibit dogs to be off-leash and/or limit how close dogs can be to lakes and streams. If you have questions about the wilderness area, please contact a U.S. Forest Service office for the National Forest(s) listed above.
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