| Princeton`s Tigger
Our original plan was to climb Princeton via the ridge (and Tigger), but after enduring a long slog up Shavano the previous day, we settled for just Tigger (centered in the following photo).
Thanks to dk0 rtsch's efforts in moving trees and branches off the Princeton road, coupled with some warmer temps, we were able to drive all the way to the switchback at the radio towers Sunday morning (5/16/10). Apparently, the recent snowfall didn't amount to much.
In shaded areas, a little snow remains on the road, but it's mostly tracked.
We parked at the big switchback at the radio towers:
Roughly a quarter-mile up the road, some drifts still remain:
At 7 a.m. we started up the snow-covered road. The snow was firm so snowshoes weren't necessary.
At the third switchback, where the road makes a hard left, we noticed tracks off to the right. The following photo shows those tracks and you can see a climber on the ridge, with Princeton in the background.
Instead of following those tracks, or the road, we decided to climb directly up the hump to the ridge. Here's a map showing just a portion of our route (the third switchback to the summit of Tigger) – ascent in blue and descent in red:
At first that hump wasn't so bad, but it steepened and the rocks were covered in ice, so it wasn't a total cakewalk either.
Once on the ridge proper, where the summer trail crosses over, we said hello to a couple climbers.
Tigger's ridge was a mixture of exposed rocks and short sections of snow.
Here's a look back on the Arkansas Valley:
Some sections of the ridge were rather steep, but hopping up the talus wasn't so bad, and it never exceeded Class 2.
Here's a pan with Tigger's first false summit on the left and Princeton in the distance on the right:
Across the way, I could see some recent slide activity, though most of it looked relatively tame. That said, with the recent snowfall and blazing sun, you wouldn't find me taking the standard trail on this day.
Even though I've been up in this area many times before, the views never cease to amaze me.
Having climbed Tigger before, we bypassed the true summit by about 50 feet and traversed to its north ridge. From there, we continued down to just above the Princeton-Tigger saddle.
Unfortunately, the snow was knee-deep in some spots, even on the ridge, so we had some bad flashbacks from our previous day.
Meanwhile, the weather was sunny and great. Probably too great, as it got kinda' hot out, and the sun was softening up the snow, making our climb even more laborious.
The thought of wallowing in snow all the way up the ridge to Princeton didn't appeal to us, so we decided to just hit Tigger and call it a day. It was 10 a.m.
Heading back up to Tigger from the Princeton-Tigger saddle:
We took a nice and long break on Tigger, soaking in the beautiful views and extremely pleasant weather. Just before leaving our 13,300-foot perch, we met a friendly guy from Indiana and had a nice chat with him on the ridge.
Here's a photo of the Hoosier on Tigger's true summit, with Princeton in the background and Antero on the left:
We took our time as we descended the ridge. We even stopped to build a sorry-looking snowman.
Instead of descending the way we came up, we decided to drop off to the right and take the road back.
At around 12:30 p.m. we made it back to the radio towers.
Overall, it was yet another great day to be alive and in the mountains.
Here's a parting shot of Tigger and Princeton from the Buena Vista area:
Thumbnails for uploaded photos (click to open slideshow):