mount yale - 14196' - east ridge class 2+
Matt and I went to do Mount Yale shortly after the new year since the weather was really nice. We went for the east ridge to minimize any avalanche dangers. We were easily able to drive my car all the way to the trailhead and the trail was nicely packed down by other hikers before us so we didn't even need snowshoes. The only plowing we had to do was through a short section near treeline just before cresting the long east ridge. Once we got to the ridge though, the views of Harvard and Columbia was fantastic. We took one look up the long east ridge and just agreed to both go at our own pace and grind it out and hopefully meet on the summit. I went on ahead and climbed an initial steep section just below an area of more rugged terrain. I made the climb slightly more fun by climbing as many of the third class sections as I could. Once higher up the ridge flattened out and a long horizontal traverse led right to the final climb to the summit where I was forced onto some snow to which I put the microspikes on and made the final ascent to the summit. Once at the summit I was lucky the winds were calm and views very clear. Most of the Sawatch 14ers were in view. I waited on the summit as long as I could before I simply got too cold so I started down. I figured I'd just pass by Matt on his way to the summit but we must have passed one another on opposing sides of the ridge at some point and I ended up making all the way back to treeline before I decided to wait for him. I was shocked when I waited over an hour and still didn't see him. I started down a ways then climbed back up to stay warm and just as I began climbing back up the ridge I saw him on his way down. Once we met up again I ran on ahead down the path to the car. I wanted to avoid hiking in the dark so once at the car I just warmed up and 10 minutes later we were off for dinner.