July 5, 2016

Mount Yale – 14,196′

14er rank:

# of climbs:
First climbed:
Last climbed:
Routes climbed:


1,896' (Mount Harvard - 5.6 mi N)
Chaffee County
9.1 mi W of Buena Vista
27.4 mi S of Leadville

Southwest Slopes (Class 2)

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This is the eighth 14er I've climbed, back in June 2013 with a couple friends. This peak the 21st tallest in Colorado and rises 6,200' above the town of Buena Vista, just 9 miles to the east. Despite being so close, Mount Yale not easy to spot from town or really anywhere else down in the Arkansas River Valley to the east, being tucked in behind a few tall sub-peaks and high ridgelines.    

We hiked the standard Southwest Slopes route, beginning at the Denny Creek trailhead right off of Colorado Rt. 306, at an elevation of 9,900'. This is a paved road that continues west up to Cottonwood Pass (12,126'), which sits on the Continental Divide deep within the Sawatch Range. The route is short but steep, rising 4,300' in 4.75 miles. It follows a well-trodden trail north through the woods and up a number of switchbacks until it emerges from the trees around 12,100'.

Soon after, the trail veers to the right (northeast) and heads directly toward Yale's southwest slopes. Follow the trail as it ascends steadily up to the base of the slopes and then up the slopes themselves, switching back multiple times along the way. It reaches the ridgeline just short of 14,000' and then turns right (southeast) toward the summit. The final 200' of ascent involve scrambling across a bunch of rocks along the ridge, guided by cairns and the summit itself. 


Trip Reports

Mount Yale (June 2013)