Start Elevation: 9,900 ft.
Summit Elevation: 14,196 ft.
Total Elevation Gain: 4,296 ft.
Round-trip Mileage: 8.75 mi (books)
TRIP REPORT:We took this hike about 36 hours after finishing our backpacking trek in the wilderness of Holy Cross. For us this meant we were greatly acclimated to the altitude and our legs were really in shape. We've read that for many Yale can be one of the more challenging Sawatch because of the abrupt altitude gain. For us, because of the circumstances in which we hit Yale, it was by far one of the easiest for us.
This hike began at the Denny Gulch Trailhead. From there it is a great trail through the forest. It was easy to follow in the woods and we made good time on the ascent. It isn't until about 12000 that the trail finally leaves the woods in a clearing. At this point you are ascending north and prepping to make a traverse across the southwest slope to the western ridge of Yale. We were feeling so good from about 13,000 on up the steep slope we were cruising on this trail. We hit the summit ridge at around 13,900. It is a brief stroll amongst the rocks on the summit ridge until you are completely on top. From there we had great views of the Sawatch, Harvard and Columbia in particular.
We cruised on the descent. This may well have been one of our quickest 14er descents. We jogged off and on at most parts above treeline. And in the trees we jogged a good portion of it feeling great and cruising to the bottom. For all the distance and altitude, we will always remember Yale as one breeze of a climb.