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#295 / 13,435' UN 13435 Mascot Peak

Range › Sawatch Range
Quadrangle › Mount Yale
Summit Location › N 38° 50' 00.23", W 106° 18' 27.13" (Not Field Checked)

Peak Summary

A basic Class 2+ type of ascent that utilizes the Mt. Yale trail for much of the access. Easily accessible by passenger car. Mascot Peak has no easily accessible 13er neighbors but could be easily combined with Mt. Yale

Mt. Yale Trail access Route

Class 2+
Medium Day // Take a Lunch
RT From Denny Creek/Mt. Yale: 8 mi / 3,515'
  • Trailhead
    • Denny Creek/Mt. Yale Trailhead

      From HWY 24 at a stoplight in the middle of Buena Vista: head west on the paved CR306 for 11 miles to the Collegiate Peaks Campground and continue for one more mile past there to a parking area on the north side of the paved road. This parking area is not very large and could become full on weekends, since it serves not only as the trailhead for Mt. Yale, but the popular Hartenstein Lake as well. Be careful to not confuse Denny Creek with Denny Gulch. The Gulch is located across from the campground and used to be the way many would climb Yale, but use of that route has been discouraged because of environmental impacts. If the parking for Denny Creek is full, you can drive another .8 mile west and find two parking lots on either side of the road. We're not sure why these are here, but you could possibly ditch a vehicle here and walk or hitchhike back to the TH.

      If coming from Cottonwood Pass/Taylor Park Reservoir: Drive east on the well-graded and maintained, passenger car accessible Gunnison CR209 for over 10 miles to the summit of Cottonwood Pass. Continue east heading downhill on now paved road to the Denny Creek Trailhead parking described above about 6 miles down from the pass. Note that if you're using the San Isabel NF map or the old Mt. Yale USGS quad, there is not a switchback in the highway just west of Denny Creek any longer. Also, do not be confused by the two parking lots on either side of the road near the "Holywater Mine" and beaver ponds. From those parking lots, you still need to drive another .8 mile east to the Denny Creek TH.


      Camping

      Some at large campsites can be found along CR306 on the drive in from Buena Vista or you can use the Collegiate Peaks CG one mile east of the TH. The campground is a National Forest fee site and has a good number of campsites, but can typically fill up on summer weekends.
    Peak Icon Route Map Photos

    Route Info Mt. Yale Trail access

    Route Description

    Year Climbed: 1998

    From the Denny Creek trailhead, walk north following the Mt. Yale/Hartenstein Lake trail on the west side of Denny Ck.  It initially switchbacks steeply up the mountainside for the first half mile, following an old, rocky roadbed. After about one mile and/or 30 minutes of hiking, you'll come to the Mt. Yale turnoff. This is at least a quarter mile or more after crossing Denny Creek to the north/east side and is an easy to identify intersection.

    Once on the Mt. Yale trail, follow it NE to where it crosses Delaney Creek and then begins a steep ascent up the open west side of Yale's SW shoulder. Follow the well-established trail to where things flatten out on the ridge at 12,200 ft. Continue north on the trail and ascend to about 12,600 - 12,800 feet. Depart the trail here and begin a long contour east toward the saddle between Mt. Yale and Mascot Peak. On this traverse across the south face of Yale, you'll cross several gullies, some of which will require a little extra attention to find a way across. Overall, the terrain will be a mix of tundra and broken rock of various types & sizes. Expect some boulder talus at times that will slow progress & require some rock-hopping. Don't be surprised if you flush out a group of Bighorn sheep that like to hang around here, away from the 14er-bagging hordes.

    At the saddle, turn south and simply follow the sometimes rocky ridge to the summit, about another 20 minutes away. We did this climb on a late August, full moon night and arrived at the saddle right at sunrise and the summit shortly after. With a 3:00 AM start, it was easy to follow the Mt. Yale trail in the moonlight. By the time we were making the traverse across the south face of Yale, there was enough morning light to see what we were doing without breaking a leg.

    For the return hike, simply retrace your route back to the Mt. Yale trail and follow it back to the Denny Creek TH, offering a friendly greeting to the numerous 14er-baggers you'll see along the way. Or, for extra credit, join the 14er crowd by hiking north from Mascot peak to the summit of Mt. Yale on the Yale south ridge. Much of that ridge is somewhat arduous with a mix of tundra and large boulders along the way and increasing rock as you approach the summit. Then, follow the Mt. Yale trail all the way down.

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