Peak(s):  Mt. Princeton  -  14,197 feet
Date Posted:  08/22/2013
Date Climbed:   08/21/2013
Author:  tdanderson2
 Hiking the Prince  

I had read the trip reports for Mt. Princeton so I felt that I had a pretty good idea what to expect. While it is only my 2nd 14er I have done alot of hiking this year. I was driving a Ford Explorer so I didn't have any trouble with clearance. However, there was one particular place in the road where it was a sharp left turn with a steep uphill. The ground was loose and I was spinning out. There was a backup spot right there so I backed up, put it in 4wd and headed up the road. There are several big dips and some rocks have fallen on the road. We parked at the camping spots above the radio towers. There was no mention of other parking is any of the trip reports. However, as we walked up the road, there are a few wide spots. There were cars parked in some of these spots. Those parked told me they got to those spots at 5:30 in the morning. It took us 30 minutes to drive from the start of the Mt. Princeton road to reach the camping spots.

We started hiking at 6:34 and it was beautiful. Not a cloud in the sky and 54 degrees. We reached the stairs and there is a stick in the ground with a hat and bandana marking the spot. The first part of the trail is fairly easy. Once you reach the boulder field, it is rocky the rest of the way to the top of Mt. Princeton. I misunderstood one of the reports and thought it was rocky the last 2,000' of hiking. But it is rocky for 2,000' of elevation gain. While the trail is easy to see from a distance, it is much harder when you're on it. The trail on the unnamed mountain is marked well with cairns. Once we reached the ridge, the trail became much harder to follow. As you begin hiking up, there are numerous cairns and several trails. It was quite steep and the rock is very loose as you ascend the peak.

We reached the summit at 11:07. This took us about an hour more than I expected. The clouds were starting to build and we began descending at 11:18. The clouds continued to build as we descended and it was starting to thunder while we were still on the ridge. It held off raining until we were about 500' from tundra. It only sprinkled, but the boulders became extremely slick with just a little water.

There were a total of 21 people hiking yesterday. One woman fell particularly hard in the boulder field, but was lucky not to hurt herself. We spoke with people from several groups who had trouble with the descent and were slipping and falling. One woman complained that she had blisters from the rocks.

There were a couple of groups who started before us and a couple after us. However, I would have started earlier if I had known how much time the hike was going to take, both up and down. We reached the car at 2:44.

I'm glad I did it, but it's not my favorite hike.

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