Peak(s):  Mt. Princeton  -  14,197 feet
Date Posted:  04/30/2006
Modified:  12/03/2009
Date Climbed:   04/29/2006
Author:  doumall
 Princeton - Summit Ski Descent   


Mt. Princeton Road:
On to Princeton! Up at 4:30 and on the road at 5:10 from Boulder. Several inches of snow coated the Tenmile and Sawach range, making the views slightly more interesting than usual. We drove up the Mt. Princeton road to around 10,400', where 6'' of snow stopped our try for the Radio Towers. To do make it as high as we did, we had to make our way through a few obstacles on the snow covered road in our Toyota Corolla. One such obstacle caused a guy with a Jeep Wrangler to stop and camp. My first attempt to pass the deeply rutted and steep switchback left the car high centered. We got out by pivoting the back tires of the car on rock wedges and spinning 180 degrees. The second attempt had us past it, with the Wrangler in our dust.

Starting the Hike:
The hike up the road to treeline on the road seemed much longer than the first time I hiked this mountain. Really, the whole trip couldn't have been different. We happily followed the one other group of hikers boot trail from earlier in the morning.

Debbie below treeline looking up at the whispy summit:

The route takes you briefly up Tigger's east ridge, then cuts below Tigger into the large amphitheater below Princeton. You have to cross several 30 degree snowfields through this section. Here are some route pics...

Debbie crossing a slide zone:

Looking up at the saddle:

Looking up the summit ridge:

Looking down on the route from near the summit:

To the Summit:
We passed the group of three hikers and made our way up to a low point in Princeton's southeast running summit ridge. From here to the summit involved hiking over deep fresh snowdrifts, talus and brief sections of dirt. Took us 5 hours and 20 mins to summit, which is long for this route. In my opinion, large talus which is freshly coated in 6 to 10 inches of snow is one of the toughest hiking conditions, especially in ski boots. You have to constantly maintain focus on your feet, and you are almost constantly probing the soft snow for solid footholds. Lots of slipping and post holing to deep cracks between talus. Mentally and physically draining. The group of three, who seemed to be well prepared, gave up about halfway across the traverse to the summit ridge.

The Ski and Glissade Down:
From the summit, Debbie donned snowshoes and I stepped into my skis. We headed down the east ridge, which was very skiable, until we were above the second gully running into the large amphitheater east of Priceton.

Looking down the very skiable east ridge:

After skiing down the ridge and making a few few turns down the mountain, we entered the top of the shallow ski route couloir where Debbie took out her axe and began her glissade. The upper 1000' of the couloir averaged 37 degrees and maxed out near a rock band at 45 degrees. The snow was awesome, too good for late April. I did hunt for the softer stuff on the cooler side of the gully lower on the run, but other than that it was a great 2600' line. Thanks to Debbie, I got some good action pics too, thanks hun!

Enjoying Good Snow On Princetons East Slopes:

Descent Route:


From the bottom, we hiked up talus and grass 400' to meet the trail on Tigger's east ridge. Back to the car and out with a round trip of 9hrs, 20 mins. This couldn't have been any different than my first climb on Princeton.

Thumbnails for uploaded photos (click to open slideshow):

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