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Yb:fiber lasers have shown excellent performance in 980- to 1100-nm wavelength range. Below 980 nm, the small ratio between emission and absorption cross sections hindered its development. To find out a feasible solution for short-wavelength Yb:fiber laser, the temperature-dependent emission and absorption cross sections, fiber length, pumping method, and suppression of high-gain wavelengths are analyzed and discussed. It is interesting to find that elevated temperature of the gain fiber is beneficial for short-wavelength Yb:fiber laser generation, which is opposite to general perception of quasi-three-level lasers. In this paper, a 960-nm Yb:fiber laser with 20.1% slope efficiency is successfully developed at 101°C, which is the shortest wavelength of Yb:fiber laser to our knowledge. And this 960-nm Yb:fiber laser can be applied in generating blue light for large-screen laser display.