Peak(s):  Ypsilon Mtn - 13,514 feet
Chiquita, Mt - 13,069 feet
Date Posted:  05/07/2012
Modified:  02/04/2015
Date Climbed:   05/05/2012
Author:  FireOnTheMountain
Additional Members:   Boggy B
 3 Blocks Down, Left on Yippy (Y Couloir)   

What can one muster to shed light on these spectacles of nature?

Mike and I have had Ypsilon's Y (affectionately referred to as Yippy's Y) on our mind ever since Kimo and company's masterful take on Hagues, Mummy and Fairchild. Thanks for the beta Kimo!
Our route as seen from Trail Ridge Road

With the day set, the mountain set, the only thing left to set was our alarms for a 2:30 am start from the Lawn Lake TH, but not before an orderly sojourn of Boulder's Wholefoods was made. (make out the endorsement checks to "Fireonthemountain", one word)

We made quick work of the approach in trail runners until we found ourselves off route and postholing, more of this to come.

Once the postholing mercifully ceased above Ypsilon Lake, we were ready to take on the gulley to Spectacle Lakes which entailed some fun scrambling, gambling and slab action.

Enter Yippy...
The clear line in the middle is the right branch, choke can be seen

Our original goal was to do the right branch but after performing a cursory investigation of the choke my findings were..."Uhhh, its a friggen vertical, chasmed wall of ice."

Luckily, Mike is not easily swayed and we agreed to check it out.
And we are off, stoke level is pretty high

What more can I say, the snow was A-M-A-Z-I-N-G. Perfect for climbing, way too hard for skiing. Lucky for us we forgot our skis/board at home but reluctantly brought the points.

Mike's making a worldly mountaineering trip soon so he cordially threw some ice climbing pointers my way and we had fun on some nice ice.
Mike goin to work with the Aces watching

Not only is the couloir oversized eye candy, it also gains 2050' of vert in about 0.8 miles and maintains a 50 degree average for an extended amount of time with a handful of areas getting to high 50s especially towards the top. Consistent cloud coverage also kept the snow from slushing. Life was just peachy.

The choke on the right branch

The choke may have been possible with proper tools and pro, but we would later find out that topping out the couloir would have been tricky. And by tricky I mean quite foreboding. Overhanging cornices would have required a traverse out to precipitous mixed terrain. Perhaps in a snowier year....



Me begining a traverse, I hear basket weaving is a delightful hobby these days...


The cornices up top were sizeable but no match for the Boggster.
Mike topping out

Mike really topping out

Here's the view we had as we enjoyed our figs and salmon sandwiches. Call it the Bear Grylls treatment minus the 5 star hotel.

A look down

Another option would be to exit left off the left branch and go up this. Looked quite fun actually and the top was a good 60 degrees. I actually think this might be a better ski descent.

After eating we grabbed Chiquita (banana), glissaded down to the lake that bears its name and then postholed a bunch. It was hard to hate life however after such an amazing climb.


Stats on the ride: 15.1 miles RT, ~6000' of vert, 14 hours (2-2.5 spent postholing about a mile long stretch around Ypsilon lake)

Here's a video Mike put together if you care to watch.

Tread lightly my friends.

Thumbnails for uploaded photos (click to open slideshow):
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 21 22

Comments or Questions
05/07/2012 17:26
Not sure which photo is my favorite, that looks like a fantastic line! Nice work you guys!

Boggy B
Basket weaving!
05/07/2012 18:18
I hear ya, there were a million things I'd rather have been doing. Nice write-up!

Cool Hand Luke
Salmon Sandwiches
05/07/2012 21:34
Not sure what I'm more impressed by: (1) the climb in general (2) Mike's cornice work (3) the fact that you had salmon sandwiches on the summit.

Awesome work and nice TR. You ready for some Sangres action?

Great job guys.
05/07/2012 21:50
Ypsilon Peak is on my list as well. Wish I would have been invited. Any high rez pics of the crux on the right branch? Maybe it would be do-able if you roll a little slower with some gear.

Brian C
05/07/2012 23:09
Holy cow! That looked exciting climbing through that thing. This is a climb I've wanted to do for years. Thanks for posting!

No words
05/07/2012 23:14
Just awesome.

05/07/2012 23:46
Not much to say other than that, amazing job you guys. Someday I hope to climb in the high 50's, you two make it look easy.

I hear the reed can really tear up your hands while making a basket, stick to what you're good at

05/07/2012 23:58
Excellent photos. Love the wide shot looking down on Spectacle Lakes.

Front Range Gem
05/08/2012 00:24
Nice report and thanks for the beta! should be at the top of most skiers lists on the front range.

05/08/2012 04:34
Great write up and pics; a friend of mine wants to do this climb this weekend and this is some great beta.

05/08/2012 15:20
Luke - Maybe you should save your Friday salmon for climbs. Ya i'm down for some sangre action.
Jason - I could send you some zoomed pics of the right branch choke but topping out the right branch is a whole other thing too. You would have to get out of the cooley because the cornice is near vert to overhanging. The mixed terrain at the top would be quite hairy.
Aaron - Thanks for the headups about the reed! Wouldn't want to injure my delicate fingers.
Chris - That shots from Mike's awesome GoPro. I love the fisheye on that thing

Life is peachy
05/08/2012 18:59
when spent in 50 degree couloirs in the park. This one looks like a classic. Nice work on a fine climb. Your pics do this a great justice.

Dave B
Can't believe I missed this TR when you wrote
06/22/2012 13:18
The Y is a major goal of mine for this summer, can't believe you got it so early. Great report and nice climb!

08/20/2013 18:07
I knew Michael had been up there but just saw this report. I hiked up and looked down this cooly and thought, ”Crap”! Nice work. And, I have taken up basket weaving.

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