There is no Mt. Berkeley in the Collegiate Peaks. That, of course, would have been my first 14er. Since I have no real relationship to any of the other colleges commemorated in this set of 14ers, I went by recommendation. I was told of a breathtaking single track lined with wildflowers. I would not be disappointed.
I got to the main trailhead a bit later than usual just after 7 a.m. Naturally, the parking lot was already packed. The trails up the mountain are, as usual, very well marked and I enjoyed the beautiful forest. Apparently, snow covers up this part of the trail until late spring/early summer. I saw some patches here and there, but not much.
Once you get to timberline, the trail enters a short single track section that is flattish and absolutely stunning. Beautiful mountain vistas all around. I LOVED this part of the trail. Then the steep stuff starts. People really seemed to struggle here. Mountains have a way of being steeper the higher you go, don’t they?
I got to the ridge in 2:09 without every really pushing too hard. Crossing the ridge, I lost the cairns several times and took another 17 minutes to the summit, which was pretty slow. (Hint: the easiest way is staying slightly to the right/southside of the ridge. Do that and you’ll get there in no time).
The descent was uneventful except for some weather that seemed to be moving in. I was surprised by some hikers lack of concern (respect?) for the elements. But everyone makes their own decisions, I suppose.
Overall, I really enjoyed Mt. Yale. It is a pretty straightforward climb that is doable for a beginner but will be sure to keep the blood of even an experienced climber flowing.
Date climbed: 6/25/10
Time: 2:09 up (Ridge)/2:26 (summit)/ 1:53 down