Mt. Yale, A Perfect 14er

3:45 am: We wake up (and wish Mary a happy birthday). We have personal Bible time, prayer, and eat a quick breakfast. We packed our CamelBaks the night before, so that part is set.

5:14: We reach the trailhead. Piling out of the van, we don our CamelBaks. Those who have headlamps put them on, and others use flashlights. The moon is gorgeous, but it won’t give us enough light on the tree-shrouded trail. We fall into a line and begin up the trail. We can hear the steady crunch of our hiking shoes making contact with the ground. There were other vehicles at the trailhead, but we don’t see anyone for over two hours. (BTW–we stayed on Central Time, so it was actually an hour earlier Mountain time).



7:00: Headlamps and flashlights are no longer needed.


7:50: The summit of Mt. Yale is clearly visible. It is exciting after only 2 1/2 hours to see the summit so clearly. We trek along the trail. Sometimes it’s steep, and we take breaks to catch our breath. Occasionally a reminder is passed along to drink water. Those Camelbaks are so handy!



Distances are very deceiving. The summit in the above picture is over a mile away. At this distance, you can not discern someone on the top.


8:22: We take breaks as needed to catch our breath and grab drinks from our Camelbaks. It’s very important to stay well-hydrated on such an intense climb.


It is about this point that John tells us this is the tough part. We climb steadily, taking breaks as needed and enjoy the views.


9:02: We’re getting close to the saddle, our final ascent to the top. The path is great to follow. Yes, it is still chilly at this point since the sun is on the other side of the mountain.


Walking sticks are a huge help to me. 😉


9:02: John, who has led our trek so far, is the first to reach the saddle.


9:05: It’s gorgeous on the saddle. We take a break, and then we split into three groups. Jesse and John take the lead, with Joseph, Mary, and Anna next, and Dad, Mom, and I taking up the rear.


9:23: Jesse is the first person of the day to summit Mt. Yale (out of probably 23-25 people)! Congratulations, Jesse!

IMG_10749:28: Dad, Mom, and I work our way along the boulders. Mom is a great trooper! One thing I like about this 14er are the solid rocks! Sometimes rocks can be loose, and you have to carefully make sure it’s solid before trusting it. With Mt. Yale, this is generally not the case.


9:42: Still working along the boulders.


9:45: I’m really enjoying this climb!

10:00: We have all summited. Praise Jesus! The view is gorgeous, stunning, and amazing. We spend the next hour on the summit enjoying the views, eating lunch, taking pictures, and exclaiming about the incredible weather.




The birthday girl!






We are grateful for some fellow hikers taking our family picture.


IMG_1146 11:00: The descent begins!



As Joseph, Anna, Mary, and I climb over some boulders, we meet another group of hikers. One of the guys comments to us, “I’ve never seen someone mountaineer in a skirt! That’s cool!” Another of his buddies adds, “I like your mountain skirt.”



11:34:  At the saddle, we meet two ladies. One has summited almost all of the 14ers, except for one, and she is bringing her friend on her first. When we comment that it is Mary’s birthday, we find out her friend’s birthday is the next day! We grab a picture of the birthday girls.


We really enjoy talking to hikers as we go along.




12:26 p.m.: My awesome younger brothers and sisters.





12:53: These badger-type little guys are so cute. Talk about a view!


1:07: We arrive back in the treeline. Now we start seeing scenery we had missed in the dark.




2:06: About a half hour ago, we heard our first rumble of thunder. It’s important to summit a 14er as soon as possible due to afternoon thunderstorms. We are glad we are off the summit. It sprinkles a bit, but never pours.

3:00: All the Maxwells have finished the hike. Our Mt. Yale adventure is almost 10 hours (including our time on the summit).

“Thy righteousness is like the great mountains;
thy judgments are a great deep:
O LORD, thou preservest man and beast.
How excellent is thy lovingkindness, O God!
therefore the children of men put their trust under the shadow of thy wings”
Psalms 36:6-7

18 thoughts on “Mt. Yale, A Perfect 14er”

  1. Awesome job Maxwells!!! Wonderful pictures also! How does everyone stay in shape to be able to accomplish such a feat? Do you have a specific exercise regimen you follow?
    Thirty minutes, six days a week is all. What we do varies for the girls, guys, and Dad and Mom.

  2. I’m exhausted just seeing your photos, but thank you for sharing! I know photos can’t possibly give justice to the beauty or topography of that climb, so congrats to you for all making the summit! I’ll bet there will be some good rest had tonight!

  3. Hello Sarah! I really enjoyed seeing this pics, makes me want to go hiking. 🙂 but what is a camelback? And where do u get those poles your holding? I love to just walk for exercise and could use some. Are you all holding the Inspire conferences or is this just family vacation? I live 3 hours from St. Louis and hope to come meet y’all in September . I just love your family! So inspiring! Tell ms Mary happy birthday wishes as well.
    CamelBak is a backpack that holds water in addition to gear. It has a long flexible straw that enables you to drink while walking. This is a vacation and we will see you in St. Louis. Please say hi!

  4. What a wonderful family hike. So beautiful! Where did you find those “Mountain Skirts” by the way? I have been looking for some like those for my daughters and I for camping/hiking!

  5. Happy Birthday to Mary but also to the other Maxwells who had celebrations recently. What a truly amazing way to spend the day and I agree with you on the attitude towards the scenery. Wondrous. I loved the photo of the little animals nonchalantly sunning themselves on the rocks amongst such splendour!

    I hope you come home refreshed and relaxed. Enjoy.

    Cate N.
    Thank you.

  6. It is awesome that your family is able to do this. You get some really beautiful scenery from up high. We love hiking but couldn’t do this yet. Thanks for sharing the trip with those of us watching. Just wondering Sara, how you documented the trip as you went? We’re you recording or writing?
    Thanks for sharing,
    Some notes were taken on her phone and she also used timestamps on the photos.

  7. Such beauty! Thank you for sharing; I feel very inspired to climb a mountain! Too bad we don’t have any here in Illinois. 🙂

  8. Looks wonderful!

    We have given a conference flyer to our church and hope they will host a conference.
    Please pray that The Lord will open the door.
    Thank you and we will pray.

  9. That looks like tons of fun, however, i’m terrified of heights =). The pictures were just beautiful! I’m so glad everything went well. Safe travels =). God Bless

  10. You all are AMAZING!! 🙂 What a wonderful family activity–giving you not only rigorous exercise and fresh air, but also an opportunity to view the Lord’s beautiful creation.
    I am so happy for you all being able to do this.
    Continued prayers for the Maxwells as you enjoy this vacation.
    Love, Mrs. Patti 🙂

  11. Beautiful pictures! The critters you saw on the trail are called whistle-pigs or marmots (ground hogs). When I was little we lived in Grand Lake, CO. My dad worked at the Granby power plant and we would go there just to feed the whistle-pigs. They love Cracker Jacks!

  12. Wow! Great post! Thanks for sharing all that; I really felt like jumping into the pictures! We love you Maxwell family:) Praying for safe travels and a refreshing time for you all.
    Thank you.

  13. Beautiful pictures! We were hiking this summer – in Minnesota, so not as intense — and I was seriously thinking about getting some of those walking poles. Glad to hear you like them, I think I’ll invest in some next summer!

  14. Wow! That looks like fun! We love the mountains! We are hoping to make a trip to the Smoky Mountains in the fall, but from your pictures maybe we will have to think about Colorado! 🙂

    Wow! That’s a lot of hiking! I think my daddy would like to do that! I think it looks like fun too, but it does look hard to climb.

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