I was shut out on Bierstadt the day before, but saw a stripe of snow on Princeton's ridge on the way home, and immediatly changed plans.
The road was still blocked by snow just above the corrals, but I knew this road would be mostly dry with the southern exposure. I pushed a bike to the next dry section, and then climbed along in granny. There was one other north facing section of snow to push through, but still a nice little trade off for later. I stashed the bike before reaching the switchback near the bottom of the Tigger run, and skinned up to the radio towers to nap for a few hours. I was lonely as hell on this trip. I'm mostly an autonomous individual, but I whined when Heidi called to check on me. She gave me her best pep talk, but when it was over it was still just me and the wind through the towers. At the first signs of daybreak I hauled my bivy and supplies to treeline, lightening the load before taking the trail out over the talus.
There were a few small snow slopes to cross, and they were not yet fully compacted by the wind or temps. The ridge was slow, as usual, but it was worth it when I saw the little strip of snow reaching up to the summit. Like most of the Southern Sawatch, Princeton is a dry mountain: difficult to catch from the summit. This was a good year though, so I felt compelled to try. And even though it was not a stellar day, I'm certainly not looking back and thinking "gee maybe I should've gone in to work since jury duty was postponed". The sky was mostly overcast with high clouds. I descended the ridge to the northeast, and found my way through to the smaller of the runs seen from the trail. It was still icy at the top, but that was fine since it kept me off the chicken heads in the entrance.
I descended to the basin, and made my way to the right side, stopping accross from the mine. From there I picked my way back up to the shoulder of 'Tigger' to retrieve my cache and do another run.
This run down the the prominant gully from 'Tigger' was perhaps the best part. I rode right back to the road, to my bike, and coasted down. For a longer section of snow around the north side of the ridge, I put skis on while pushing/dragging/carrying the bike.
walking the cow
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