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|Conditions Information||Posted By||Posted On|
|2015-04-06||Route: East Slopes
Info: Parked in the TH parking area. Was able to wear trail runners past the radio tower. A Ford SUV made it to 10,400‘. No flotation or spikes needed until you leave the trail at 11,800‘. The stairs indicating the start of the trail are covered and not visible. The summer trail still has plenty of snow. There are three steep snow fields that must be crossed. Spikes and an arrest tool are highly suggested. As the snow warms it gets very loose. At 12,500‘ I turned and headed down. The last steep snow field was very loose and I chose not to continue. Sorry no pics, my phone died.
|2015-03-21||Route: East Slopes
Info: We parked at the Mt Princeton Road 2WD trail head, and starting at 7am we hiked up just enough snow pack to the end of the 4WD road with just our boots on- no flotation needed. At this time we put on micro spikes to help our ascent up Tigger. There was one other climber on the mountain who decided to take the East face of Tigger, and we then decided to take the North face of Tigger to get to the ridge line. We stashed our snowshoes at this time as we realized we would not need them at all this trip- lots of snow has melted. There is not enough snow to warrant taking the switch backs west to the normal winter Trigger trail. Even still, climbing Tigger on the ascent to Princeton, and then climbing it again, and then going back down it during the descent- were the hardest parts of the route. Within another couple weeks, without another big snow, this mountain will be even more bare and ready for summer.
|2015-03-15||Route: East Slopes
Info: Hiked up from the winter trailhead. The first 3 miles to the summer TH were packed snow and really easy to get up with just my trailrunners. At the top of the road and the summer TH, snoweshoes were pretty much mandatory. I skipped tigger and hiked around, but I think it may have been safe from avalanche danger either way. There‘s not all that much snow cover up there. Check the recent snowfall and princeton is a good one to knock out in the winter, just make sure you‘re prepared for a good long trek. Started from the bottom of princeton road at ~8:30, and returned to my car just before 2:30 pm (had some fun running down in the snow).
Info: Lower TH to upper TH was not so bad. Microspikes were not really necessary although I went ahead and used them. From upper TH, we used snowshoes and switched back to microspikes before we started scrambling up Tigger and all the way to the summit of Mt.Princeton. There wasn‘t very much snow even on the summit and coming back down Tigger a lot of it had melted. Long, strenuous day but a huge accomplishment for us. Weather could not have been any better. It was a blue bird day!
|2015-03-06||Route: East Slopes
Info: Wheeled vehicles park in the lot at the base of the road. I followed the road to the beginning of the summer trail with one exception; I shortcut the final switchback, climbing the edge of an older field of avalanche debris (photo 1). The one other avalanche concern was a large, unavoidable snow field between the road and the base of the east ridge. It was stable for me (photo 2). Once on the east ridge, both the climb over Tigger (photo 3) and the ridge to the summit (photo 4) can be done while avoiding avalanche danger. The road had about 2-6 inches of fresh snow that largely filled existing trench (snowmobile to the radio towers, foot travel beyond that). I found snowshoes to be useful on the upper part of the road and on the climb to the base of the east ridge. Once on the ridge this is a talus climb intermixed with bits of snow; no winter tools beyond gaiters were needed. There is surprisingly little snow on the mountain at the moment. Photo 5 shows the summer route covered by snow fields in places and clearly visible in others.
|2015-02-15||Route: East Slopes
Info: There was enough snow to cover most of the trail, but not enough for much avy concern. We were able to stay on the standard summer route without going over "Tigger." It was close, though. After this recent storm I‘d assume Princeton is now in full winter condition with a traverse of "Tigger" being prudent. No snowshoes required on our climb, but again, that‘s likely changed. Slightly under 11 hours RT from the 2WD TH. link Blog post/trip report with additional information.
|2015-01-26||Route: East Slopes
Info: No avy danger on the standard summer route as of this climb. 4WD road has a boot/snowshoe track all the way to where the Mt. Princeton trail cuts off at 11,800‘. The Princeton trail is buried only for a short distance (maybe 50 vertical ft) heading up to the shoulder. The portions of the traverse trail that sees no sun (most of it) is covered with slick compacted snow/ice. Microspikes pretty much a must all the way to where you leave the traverse trail (about 12,800‘) in order to mount the high ridge. Talus climb to ridge mostly on rocks. Ridge climb to summit mostly blown to exposed ground. Snowshoes not needed at all on this trip.
|2015-01-23||Route: East Slopes
Info: I tried Princeton today. New snow at the trailhead was about 3" and increased to 6 to 8" above the towers. When I got to just before the turn off, there were several big drifts across the road (11,650). They were, however, more than drifts. They were like pillows with a fair amount of snow running 100-200 vertical feet above them. I did a quick hand pit on the first one and found it to be an eight inch soft slab on top of at least that much soft, unconsolidated snow. This was obviously created in the recent storm and wind event. I would have only had to go 50 ft to get past the first one but this was not what I was looking for at this stage of the climb. I cannot tell what was beyond this but if there is this kind of loading at this stage in the climb I can imagine there is more as you get higher. The Avy report yesterday mentioned that there was considerable wind in the recent storm in the Sawatch. I agree. I will try to get pictures up asap but this is not easy on my motel wi fi.
|2015-01-18||Route: East Slopes
Info: The road to the communication towers is snow covered with ATV and snow mobile tracks. There are icy patches and sections that are completely bare. The camp locations were pretty much bare. If you plan to camp, the third spot about 500 yards past the towers on your left is the best IMO. Once past the towers, there is quite a bit of drifting across the road. Most of the time the edge of the road was clean or the snow was hard enough to walk on top. Micro spikes were absolutely perfect for the conditions. The start of the Princeton trail at about 11,800‘ is not easy to see but getting to the ridge is not too difficult even if you are off trail. Once on the ridge, you should have no problem picking up the trail. The East Slope traverse was packed snow and bare. Once again, Micro spikes were very helpful. The avy danger was pretty much nill as shown in the photos.
|2015-01-16||Route: East Slopes
Info: Recommended gear: microspikes, poles, face coverage! Unless you are on an ATV, I wouldn‘t attempt to drive up the road from the lower trailhead. I got all of 0.2 miles in my 4WD Tacoma and it was obvious it wasn‘t a good idea. You‘ll find the road to the antennas with either a good packed track (from the ATVs, and even a SnowCat, I think) or, on the south-facing slopes, a dirt track. From the antennas to the trail turnoff, there is enough of a packed track to not need snowshoes, although you‘ll have to negotiate a few sections of drifting snow. The trail turnoff is not obvious (buried by a drift). I passed it up and made my own way up toward the lower shoulder of Tigger. Maybe 50 feet above the road I immediately saw the summer trail off to my right and just walked over to it. The traverse below Tigger is OK, on boulders or packed snow. The three gullies had drifting snow but no serious avy danger (IMHO). Another big dump could change that, though. The climb up to the ridge from where the traverse sort of fades out was kinda miserable as was the boulder/snow climb to the summit (I was trying to stay out of the wind so probably didn‘t take the best route, which is mostly on the ridge itself.) So, for now, I think the Princeton trail looks good. It‘s a long hump, though, from that lower parking area all the way up and back--it tuckered me out!
|2015-01-11||Route: East Slopes
Info: The road up to the radio towers does not have deep snow on it, and in places there is no snow. However with the recent dips in temperature you need chains and a decent 4x4 vehicle. The snow is not deep in most places, but it is the consistency that makes it hard to drive up. We walked most of the way from the first trailhead. The trail itself was mostly clear of snow, there is no avy danger at the this time. Much of the route is iced over, but still passable with care. Beautiful day, not too cold. The wind on the ridge is a little brutal if you are without a balaclava. All around good day though!
|2015-01-08||Route: East Slopes
Info: Solid trench from Lower TH to the Towers, then some sections of dry road and post holing to the ridge. Some hard pack snow on Summer route, mostly dry over Tigger Peak.
|2015-01-03||Route: East Slopes
Info: Was at the hot springs this past weekend so my wife and I snowshoed up to the signal tower. Had to break trail the last mile. Looks like it got deeper past there. Summit looked bare though.
|2014-12-27||Route: East Slopes
Info: Road is no longer passable by vehicle. Started from the bottom lot this morning. The road up is ok and I just had my microspikes on. Borderline in need of snowshoes once past the towers(personal preference call). With all the new snow I knew conditions to be not so good the day after the storm. My plans were to gain the northeast ridge of Tigger and go up and over and back using the ridge lines staying away from dangerous slopes. I got to the 11,500 mark where you leave to gain the ridge. The slope above the road to gain the ridge made me pause. It was heavily snow and wind loaded. I tried to skirt around to the right up a ankle breaking talus minefield that caused me to abort that tactic. So I dug a snow pit to see how conditions looked on the slope. On top was 12-14" of new powder on top of a hard 4" thick slab,and underneath that slab was 12" of Colorado sugar whore. Bonding between the slab and hoar was very poor. It took very little pressure for the slab underneath to let loose. Well..that‘s all I needed to know on what to do next...go back down. Gorgeous bluebird day with a fresh blanket of snow covering everything. Still a great day out.
|2014-12-13||Route: East Slopes
Info: Perfect day on the mountain. Conditions were amazing. There is some snow on the road above the radio towers, but it can easily be skirted. Once you leave the road the trail is easy to follow. Eastern and southern facing slopes are bare of snow. The trail eventually becomes a hard snow sidewalk all the way to the saddle. Micro spikes are not required, but are highly encouraged. Especially for the descent. Above the saddle on the summit push you will have to pick your own route. Even if the mountain gets 3-4" of snow tonight, the route should still be fine.
|2014-12-11||Route: East Slopes
Info: June-like conditions on Princeton. Road has patches of snow/ice above lower th at 8900ft, some areas with significant drifts that I don‘t know how anyone would drive past, but I did see an AT&T truck going up at some point during descent. The small cairn and the steps marking where the Mt. Princeton trail starts from the road are easy to miss (especially at night) and partially buried, but the trail is clear beyond that until reaching the long ascent along the slope of Tigger Peak, which is then hard-packed, icy snow until beyond the shadow of Tigger. The trail here seemed to disappear on me, and I went farther than I should have, I think the best route would be to go straight up to the ridge at its lowest point between Tigger and Princeton. There is no real packed trail here and everyone seems to be making their own. Patches of sugar snow cover loose talus, making for a slow and sometimes painful ascent/descent, as legs sink hip deep through snow and holes in the talus, for a foot wedging, shin-banging good time. On the ridge, between 13,800 and the summit, it is mostly dry, a couple of patches of icy snow to watch out of for, but otherwise, it‘s somewhat summery in the southern Sawatch. Also - to the lady who lost her hat, I put it on a stick in the middle of the road, I hope you found it and the AT&T man didn‘t run it over. *Microspikes and trekking poles SUPER useful.
|2014-11-23||Route: East Slopes
Info: Came back to settle last weekend‘s unfinished business. It seems every time I attempt Princeton a storm blows in the night before. Drove to about 10400‘. 8.35 miles and 6 hours later, I found myself back where I started, but this time with a W.
|2014-11-16||Route: East Slopes
Info: Turned back at 12700‘ because partner experienced onset of altitude sickness. Other than harsh wind starting at 12300‘, a very enjoyable hike. Summit definitely attainable under current conditions. Snowshoes a must.
|2014-10-29||Route: Southwest Ridge
Info: Climbed Princeton solo via the standard route Wednesday (second ascent, first was in summer conditions). No one else up there. Was alone all day. From the steps off the road, the trail climbs to a switchback. After the switchback, the trail tops a rise, and much of the route is visible. Shortly past the rise, the trail becomes snowpacked and icy. You can avoid the ice for maybe a hundred yards by walking alongside the trail. Instead, I put on traction right there (Polar Trax), and kept it on for the whole ascent/descent until I was back to the rise. I don‘t think I could have completed the climb without traction. Best advice: follow footsteps. On trail, in the footsteps, the snow is consolidated and held my weight. Off-trail and out of the steps, I broke through a thin crust into powder. Faster to stay on top with traction. Snow is drifted knee-deep in places. I wore regular gaiters, and needed them. The "wall" that diverts climbers to the new ridge route and off the old one, is buried in snow but you can still see a few exposed rocks. The new route is completely covered, and you can‘t see where it goes. Shortly after the wall, footsteps of most climbers headed to the ridgeline by guess and by golly. I made the mistake of following the old route, and the footsteps gradually thinned out until only one other climber had gone before me. I followed his footprints up to the ridgeline through the talus. Broke through the crust quite often. Didn‘t bring an ice axe, but carried a trekking pole and was glad I had it. It helped me keep my balance on the break-throughs. The ridgeline is the best path of travel because right now anyway it has been blasted by the wind mostly snow-free. Wind was not bad until the final summit push up the pyramid. There, it was bad. Once on the summit, I took off my gloves to snap some photos, and my hands immediately began to numb. Couldn‘t hear the camera shutter or the film advance, and with my cold hands I inadvertently snapped off 5 or 6 frames unintentionally. Didn‘t linger. Headed down. Once I had dropped off the ridgeline and was sheltered from the wind, found a sunny snow-free spot to eat, drink, and replenish sunscreen. Hike out was a repeat of the hike in. A satisfying day and climb despite that awful wind up high!
|2014-10-25||Route: East Slopes
Info: Trail is snow free until ~12,050. Started using microspikes from ~12,200 to the ridge.