Peak(s):  Mt. Princeton  -  14,197 feet
Date Posted:  08/03/2006
Date Climbed:   08/03/2006
Author:  chrisrh57
 Mt. Princeton - MT. Princeton Road TH  

Yesterday I hiked Mt. Antero and did the 13.5 mile hike as I only had 2WD. I noticed the 4WD road was in good enough condition for a reasonable clearance 2WD.

So last night I asked several of the folks coming off the 4WD road at the Mt. Princeton TH about the road condition, and we all came to the conclusion that I should have no problem driving my rental mini-van up to the radio towers - thus reducing the hike from 13 miles to 6.25 miles (which I desired as I was doing back to back climbs). The mini-van made it up to the radio towers - no problem. I went slightly beyond the towers and found an excellent place to set up camp, so I was very happy.

This morning was very overcast, but I started out around 7:00am. By the time I got to the Princeton Trail cutoff from the road - visibility was no more than 50‘. The trail up to the ridge was obvious, but some care needed to be taken crossing the rocks, and looking for the trail segments. The cutoff I choose to head up to the ridge between Unnamed 13,273‘ and Princeton probably was not the best one - but given the poor visibility, no other hikers nearby, and the multitude of options to hike up to the ridge - it was a bit of a gamble no matter what. Anyway - finally made it to the saddle, and was able to find trail segments for the most part all the way to the summit. Also conversed with a few descenders who had advice.

When I finally summited after 3.5 hours, the visibility was still less than 50‘ - with only occasional breaks where one could see 200-300‘ momentarily. Getting back down with this poor visibility was equally challenging. I almost went too low coming off the saddle, but then the sky cleared momentarily and I was able to get a good bearing on the rest of the trail. Descent in about 2.25 hours (to radio towers). I have never done a 14er in the fog - and in some ways it was quite interesting, but I did miss the views from the summit!

I decided to hit the Mt. Princeton Hot Springs after the climb - which I must admit I wasn‘t too impressed with. $10, and the bathrooms, changing room, etc. were very dirty, and the pools were just OK. Time for Quincy‘s in BY I think! (Oh yeah - the BV public library has 6 computers for public internet use).

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