Peak(s):  Mt. Princeton  -  14,197 feet
Date Posted:  06/21/2011
Modified:  06/22/2011
Date Climbed:   06/18/2011
Author:  KTags
 Easy day on princeton  

After Deciding against a hike up little browns creek to Mt. Antero due to the length, weather forecast, and the short amount of time since my last climb (6/16- shavano/tabegauche), I decided to give Mt. Princeton a shot.

I drove up in the sub. forester at about 1900 the evening before, and camped at ~11,000' shortly past the radio towers. I don't know that I would attempt the road in a vehicle with much if any less clearance, however if you can swing it, it takes off 6 miles RT of monotonous road walking. The road is not particularly rocky, however there are numerous high dirt ribs across the narrow road, and passing a vehicle going in the opposite direction could get interesting. There are also (of course) lots of narrow, hairpin switchbacks, though none required a 2/3pt turn.

I woke up at 0330, and was on the trail by 0400. The full moon was excellent, and following the road up the remaining switchbacks was simple. At 0445, I was at treeline, and the arrow of sticks and rocks that a previous climber had placed to point to the correct route. from here, take a right (north), and hike up the hill to the ridge. the trail is now apparent for some distance.

Picture # 1

Continue along the trail, which turns to rock and may require some minor route finding, across several quickly melting snow gullies, to a point where the trail is blocked off by a low improvised stone wall. (continuing on the old mine path beyond will likely lead to incurring some unneeded pain when you start climbing up the steeper (and much looser) scree towards the summit. Ask me how I know ) Head up towards the saddle (or ridge, depending how far you continued on the trail) and continue along the the ridge to the final pitch. I continued past the wall a ways, and ended up climbing a snow field to the ridge. I was just below the ridge as the sun came up.

Pic # 2

if there is still snow in the last gully before the wall, and you are equipped with proper snow tools ( i just had an axe on the field i took up, and kicked steps), it could very well prove to be a far less painful climb to the ridge than the occasional loose scree.

Pic # 3

the route from the ridge is straight forward; just stick to the right side, and follow it up. There was quite a bit of route finding when the pitch angle increased to avoid the loose stuff, but i really don't think you can go wrong here. I usually enjoy a bit of rock hopping to scree, so I opted for some of the slightly larger boulders for some added fun. IIRC, The West face is quite steep and loose, so unless that's what you are looking for, stay east on the ridge.

Summit at ~0700

To get down, i actually opted for the loose scree and descended via standing glissade, where possible, down to the old intermittent mining trail. on the way back I was post holing, even with the snow icy solid shortly before. stick to someone's pre-packed footprints or avoid the snow where possible.

Car at 0900

Happy climbing! Hope to see some of you out in the high country!

Kurt / sherpa/ mtn goat/ whatever my next trail name is haha

Thumbnails for uploaded photos (click to open slideshow):

 Comments or Questions

Not Always Easy
06/22/2011 04:00
Time travel is not always easy. Be careful climbing too far out into the future. Going ahead a month or two is ok, but I think I remember reading that it is easier to get AMS after too much time travel.


06/22/2011 07:38
Now how did I go and lose a month?! haha fixed


Thanks for the TR!
06/23/2011 15:10
Thinking about heading up Princeton on Friday with my brother from MI. Looks like it can be done without snowshoes? Have ice axe and microspikes or crampons if needed. Any thoughts? Thank you. Dr. Dave


Snow tools
06/23/2011 16:16
No snowshoes needed. Most of the snow can be avoided, and it is packed down by previous hikers where it must be crossed. I brought my spikes and axe, but then again I always bring them. The axe did come in handy, but it could easily be done without IMO.

Have a fun trip!

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