| Mt. Princeton - Injured hiker
The drive up to the campsite was fun. I just bought my truck last summer and enjoyed using it. However, the bumps are quite large and even my truck hit bottom several times, mostly on the way down. It made me want to go redneck and raise my truck up. However, I did have to make the drive twice, because after we set up camp and ate, I had to go back down to pick up the last person in our group around 10 PM. As a warning, I would not recommend the 4x4 road unless you have high clearence. We told that to a guy driving a Prius up. He decided he would take a look and see if he could make it. I would be surprised if he did. During the weekend there are enough people going up, you may be able to find a ride up higher if you wait at the bottom long enough. At any rate we camped out and set out at 7 AM the next morning.
On the road up to camp.
Knowing it was a shorter route (since we drove to 11k) we figured this would give us plenty of time. Make sure you are looking for the rock steps on the right side of the road. A group of ladies passed us (yeah we were passed by girls), but missed the turn off the road and onto the trail. They were only a few feet ahead of us still so we yelled at them and steered them in the right direction. Pay attention! I was worried I would miss it so I was looking hard for the turn off. I can see how easily it can be passed, though.
Group photo at the start of the hike.
The route up is a good trail as this is a well traveled 14er. Even when the trail becomes talus it is good trail.
Good talus trail
Once on the saddle we were graced with a beautiful view of Mt. Antero. From here it was about 2 more hours to the top. At this point our group had spread thin. With 7 people that is bound to happen. We brought walkies and kept in contact.
The trail behind us.
Once at the top we took some nice summit shots. When the last person of our group made it to the top I was suddenly worried. Dan and I summitted first around 10:45. Our group slowly trickled in and the last two people made it up at 11:45.
This beer was just sitting here.
Mickey Mouse Clouds
Pants down summit shot
Earth is very heavy
I was suddenly worried because one of our members was limping. I figured it was taking so long because he was out of shape, winded, tired, sore, etc. I had no idea he was injured. It was his knee. Even worse. I had an injured knee on a 14er once. Luckily it was Mt. Evans. I hiked back down to Summit Lake and had to hitch a ride back down, or I don't think I would have made it. Going down is a lot worse on the knee than going up. Since hitching a ride down wasn't an option a couple on top make shifted an IT band from a towel he had and a rock. He said it took the pain from an 8 to a 5. Oh boy. We began hiking down. On the way up I did not feel the need to stay with the group. I figured everyone can go their own pace. We all end up in the same place anyways. However, I was worried. I decided it was best to stick with our injured man to ensure he gets off the mountain. This took a long time. We left the summit around 12:15 PM. Knowing it was after noon, the risk of weather was prominent. Although when we left the summit, the clouds still appeared to be holding off. Around 1:30 it began to rain and grapel on us. Now our injured man who didn't have any stability had to walk on wet, slippery rock. At one point when I looked back he was on his back like a turtle stuck upside down. I asked him how much he weighed. I was fully prepared to carry him. I figured with me and 5 other guys we could get him down. He did not want to be carried. He was going to make it on is own.
Clouds getting darker
Around 2:30 the rain finally subsided and two guys from our group came back to the injured hiker and I. We decided from there they would stay with him and I would retrieve the truck, drive to the rock turn off, and pick them up. This would save them about 1 mile. I agreed and hustled back down to camp. I got back to camp around 3:30 PM. A 5 hour hike had turned into an 8 1/2 hour hike. An hour later They were back at the rock steps on the road where I picked them up. 9 1/2 hours. Whew!
Finally Greg made it down safely
It turned into a really long day, but everyone made it. We drove back to camp, tore it down and drove home.
We stopped at the Princeton hot springs. It was overpriced and started to thunder and lightning after being there for 5 minutes, so we got a raincheck. Now we have to go back. Oh well, it was nice for the five minutes to soak. I fugured that was my shower and didn't shower when I got home. Sounds gross, but how many of you would do the same?
The drive home was amazing. It remained sunny behind us and rained off and on. This made for beautiful rainbows. We basically followed a rainbow for 2 hours back into Dnever. Even in Denver we saw our rainbow as part of the sunset. There were red clouds from the sunset and a rainbow going through it. I have never seen anything like this before. It was gorgeous!
On the drive home.
An uneventful hike had turned into so much more.
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