Support 14ers.com
Buying gear? Please use these links to help 14ers.com:

More info...

Other ways to help...
 Peak(s):  Mt. Princeton  -  14,197 feet
 Post Date:  03/01/2009
 Date Climbed:   02/28/2009
 Posted By:  Perea

 THE PRINCETON TEAM   

First of all I want to thank Britt for organizing this group. Sometimes it is hard to get everyone on the same page especially a group of 9. That was not the case this time. The first group arrived on Friday at the trailhead parking lot about 3:30pm and the second group arrived at about 4:00pm.
Image
We unloaded the heavy packs with all our winter camping gear and began up the long 3 mile road to the radio towers.
Image
The last half mile we had to use headlamps as the sun went down. We arrived at camp and the first group had already set up tents and looked nice and toasty in the 5 degree weather.
Image
It got to -5 overnight which doesn't make for a very good night‘s rest. A couple of the stoves were not working and some of our water bottles froze. The main lesson learned over the weekend at least for me is that H20 is pretty useless when frozen(I will be investing in something to prevent this from happening again).
We woke up and were all motivated to hit the trail. As I was getting my daypack ready I looked over and saw blood on John's face.
Image
Image
I thought maybe Dima had hit him for kicking him the night before as he kept sliding down the uneven slope the tent was on. Turns out he had went to drink from his cup and it stuck to his lip from the cold and when he pulled it off it started bleeding. I guess he is ready for Denali now.
We hit the trail and it quickly warmed up so we started shedding layers.
Image
We approached an area around one of the switchbacks on the road and our personal avalanche expert 14 year old Eric who has taken numerous courses measured the slope and recommended we not play Russian Roulette with mother nature. We agreed and instead of crossing it we headed straight up a steep slope and met the switchback on the road about 50 yards above. From there it was easy going as we reached tree line. Tiger Peak and Princeton came into focus. At this point there are two options the summer route or climb Tiger peak then cross the ridge to Princeton. We kind of split up here. Some went the summer route and some went straight up Tiger. I chose to stay off the summer route because there are several steep gulley's that must be crossed that I did not feel comfortable on. So I start the steep 1 hour climb up Tiger and am totally exhausted by the time I get to the top with little water. Decision time do I continue or turn back with the others who would stop here.
Image
Here is a nice pic of Antero it looks pretty mean from here.
Image
Image
I decided to continue on I had 2 frozen water bottles in my pack and in my jacket that I was desperately trying to thaw out. Every 20 minutes or so I would get a few drops but they never completely thawed enough to hydrate properly. The group that stayed on the summer route apparently came across one of those gulleys and decided to go straight up instead of cross it which made for some class 3 or 4 climbing to get to the ridge. John,Mike and I continued along the ridge toward Princeton. It seemed to take forever to cross.
Image
Image
Image
Image
Image
Finally we get the steep final push for the summit. By this time Mike and John were about 200 yards ahead of me and assuming we were going to be the only 3 to summit I look back and Ryan(BAUMGARA) who did not camp with us and left the parking lot at 7 am comes in like a bat out of hell and catches me. We chat for a while he shares some of his water which was a lifesaver and off he went. I stayed there for a few minutes to catch my breath and let my legs rest. I seriously considered turning back at this point but I was so close I was going to make it if I had to crawl to the top.
Next I heard a few unpleasant words from the guys ahead of me. They had reached the top of what we thought was the summit and realized we had another 500 ft to go. Everyone pushed on and finally we made it. l would have let out a victory scream if had the energy.
Image
Image
Image
The Sangres in the background
Image
We hung out for about 15 minutes took a couple pics and headed back down. Everyone was tired at this point it was decision time again go back over the ridge or go back down the summer route that we had avoided earlier in the day. Since I was a good distance behind the group I didn't have a say in it and saw them cut down toward the summer route. Uneasy about the decision I followed them instead of having to hike alone and take the longer route.
I didn't get any photos on the way down because I was too lazy to get out my camera but I can say this was the most unpleasant part of the hike. Even though the others broke trail for me I was still postholing and banging my shins twisting my ankles and trying to just stay on the boulders. When we came on the 3 or 4 dreaded gulleys we got the ice axes out and crossed one at a time. The snow seemed pretty stable but my heart was still racing. We made it across all of them without incident and continued on to camp then to the parking lot. It was a great day on the mountain and was good experience.

After getting to the bottom we headed to Coyote Cantina where Shogun set the Grande Burrito eating contest in a Buena Vista record 2 minutes 24 seconds.

Good times! I hope to hike with you all again soon!



Thumbnails for uploaded photos (click to open slideshow):
 


  • Comments or Questions (8)
d_baker


H2O problem     2011-02-04 17:22:15
Keep your nalgene/water bottle in your bag with you at night, and that should keep it from freezing. And if you can, heat up your water before sleeping with the bottle.
On a hike, keep a bottle inside your jacket, close to your body for heat, and that should help keep it from freezing as well.
I use the nalgene insulators and they work well if it‘s not too cold out. But I also put the bottle upside down so the bottom freezes before it will around the (wide) mouth piece.

Other than that, congratulations on your summit! And good for you for sticking with the climb.


susanjoypaul


Agree - sleeping with water     2010-11-30 10:28:46
When it's that cold, everything goes into the sleeping bag - even the boots! I throw all my Nalgenes into a garbage bag and tuck them into the bottom of the sleeping bag - boots go in another bag, etc. But you probably figured that out :-) That's my argument for owning a larger bag - you will need all that space in *real* winter camping (sub-zero temps), and when you don't you just tuck the extra bag underneath your body. As for the stoves, if you let your fuel get cold, it will take forever to burn (hours) so before you give up on them test them with warm (room temperature) fuel - yup, that goes inside too... lessons learned - the hard way.

Thanks for the report - glad to see you made it up. That is a long, talusy, slippery haul under snow - don't know if I could do it!


Johnson


Congrats!     2011-06-02 08:57:39
Congratulations and thanks for the report and the pictures.


sgladbach


Good Work!     2009-03-02 11:11:43
Way to keep at it. It‘s 90% perserverance, eh? Way to push through the adversity!

You illuminate a good question: ”When is it essier to cut off three miles on summit day and when is it easier to get a good night‘s (warm) sleep and an alpine start to push through in a day?” Of course the answer is individualized. In this case you can‘t compare apples and oranges since the camping group broke trail for the other group. But for me, it‘s easier NOT to camp when I can avoid it. Darin and Susan gave the right advice re: Frozen water.

Again, good job overcoming all to get a long winter 14er!

Steve


Perea


When to camp     2014-04-18 13:27:32
I agree I would have been much stronger getting a good nights rest and a good breakfast but it was fun camping regardless.


Shogun


And I higly recommend...     2009-03-02 11:59:55
...the queso cheese on the burrito!

Thanks for writing up the report Paul. Antero is next?!?!


Weegie5


road conditions     2009-03-08 21:48:47
Nice report! I‘m planning on attempting Princeton this Saturday. To that end, I have one question:
You all parked at the main (2WD) trailhead and hiked the 3 miles to the radio towers. I see at least two SUVs in the picture at the TH. Was the road drivable and you opted to hike instead, or it was impassable and driving wasn‘t option?

Thanks,
James


Perea


Road Conditions     2014-04-18 13:27:32
You may be able to drive up a short distance but you would soon hit areas that are impassable. So I would reccomend starting from the parking lot.



   Using your forum id/password. Not registered? Click Here


Caution: The information contained in this report may not be accurate and should not be the only resource used in preparation for your climb. Failure to have the necessary experience, physical conditioning, supplies or equipment can result in injury or death. 14ers.com and the author(s) of this report provide no warranties, either express or implied, that the information provided is accurate or reliable. By using the information provided, you agree to indemnify and hold harmless 14ers.com and the report author(s) with respect to any claims and demands against them, including any attorney fees and expenses. Please read the 14ers.com Safety and Disclaimer pages for more information.

© 2014 14ers.com®, 14ers Inc.