Peak(s):  Mt. Princeton  -  14,197 feet
Date Posted:  08/16/2011
Date Climbed:   08/16/2011
Author:  johnt
 Mt. Princeton - Radio Towers  

I did Mt. Princeton this second time for two reasons: 1) I now live in Buena Vista and look at it every day; and 2) I wanted to see if it was as bad as my memory told me it was.

From the radio towers, it was up the road about 30 minutes and 1.3 miles to the trail turnoff. Not bad walking, and it got my motor running for what lay ahead. Very quickly I hit the boulders. That was what I hated last time. It seemed as if I spent hours picking my way on boulders, most of which were loose. I’m happy to report that the trail seems to be better than it was years ago. Crossing several gullies, it’s easy to lose the trail, but I didn’t try to go too high yet. Soon after crossing the last gully, onto the true face, I found the “new trail.” You should take it. Look at the picture and commit it to memory. It truly is the best way to get up. From the wall that blocks the old trail you quickly go up to the ridge. Lots of scree, but it actually goes way faster than you’d think. Make note of where you hit the ridge, and on the way back go all the way to there before heading down to the old trail. Now comes the fun stuff. Listen to me right now! Stay close to the ridge – not more than 30 feet or so off of it. There will be many trails and many cairns tempting you to go a bit lower. Don’t fall for any of them. The best trail, and more importantly, the best rock is close to the ridge. Follow this advice all the way to the summit! There will be small boulder bands that you’ll be tempted to go down around, but all of them are short and the best trail picks up again just past them. Do the same on the way down.

OK, back to my report: I still don’t like Mt. Princeton. There are just a lot of loose boulders! I know that because I’m blind in one eye I’m super-sensitive about footing, but, man, these boulders go on and on. It is better than the trail in my memory, though. Kudos to the trail builders – I can’t imagine what it’s like moving rock at 13,000+ feet.

It was fun to see a couple of students and mothers from my school make the summit. I spent the day in solitude, but I was able to celebrate their accomplishment with them. Very nice.

I also met a nice couple who has hiked in England, as have my wife and I. We’ll share stories, I’m sure.

The details: up in 2:50, down in 2:00. Next week school starts, so no more weekday jaunts. Bummer.

No pics, as I chose to experience today without it.

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