Peak(s):  Mt. Princeton  -  14,197 feet
"Tigger Pk"  -  13,300 feet
Date Posted:  03/09/2008
Date Climbed:   03/08/2008
Author:  heather14
 How Soon We Forget  

Participants: climbinfool (Matt), Mike and myself

A quick thanks to maverick_manley, PKR and shanahan96 for all of the different route info they shared!

February 23

I have hiked in windy conditions, but our attempt on Princeton had to be one of the windiest yet, and my cheeks showed it for a week and a half! HikeLikeaGirl called to see if we made it to the top, so I called her on the way home and told her we only made it to the top of Tigger due to the horrendous wind. She kindly offered to come with me in 2wks if I wanted to try again. I graciously declined saying something to the effect that I really didn't care to do the standard route again in the winter, I'll wait for summer and do it via Grouse Canyon.

How soon we forget......

March 8

Well, here it is 2wks later and I find myself hiking up the road to the radio towers for another attempt at Princeton! Unfortunately, it wasn't the well packed road from 2wks ago.


A nice sunrise over the Sangres


We made fairly decent time up to the radio towers. It was actually a bit breezy in the trees which brought back all of those forgotten memories of 2wks ago. I was hoping today would not be a repeat! In order to miss the avy prone areas and cut the switchbacks we started to cut up a slope through the trees. Surprisingly, the snow wasn't too deep. We popped out on to the first road and ran into Mike who was here from Kansas City heading for Princeton. We were headed back into the trees to cut up to the next section, but right off the snow was too soft and deep which wasn't very appealing. We decided to head down the road and cut up next to one of the avy areas where the snow was hopefully wind blown. And it was

We climbed up the section of rocks.


Again we were going to head into the trees to top out on the slope, but the snow was still too soft and deep, so we followed the road around. Once we made it onto the top of the slope we stashed our snowshoes under a piece of a dead tree. Believe it or not there was no wind and I was pretty warm.

First look at Princeton


At the start of the day we weren't sure if we wanted to go over Tigger and across the ridge or take a more direct route. Once we were up there we saw a few nice rock bans through the snowfields, so we decided to head for them and gain the ridge when we need to.

One of the rock bans


On the other side we ran into an avy chute so we started heading up to a flat looking area above where we skirted below and around a knob on the ridge. I think we all came away from the rocks battered and bruised as we all postholed between the rocks multiple times, and this was just the beginning of it.

Looking up towards the knob


Looking back at what we traversed


At this point it started to snow a little. And by the time we gained the ridge Princeton had disappeared.

Looking towards Princeton


Even though the rocks were getting a bit slippery with the fresh snow, we made decent time across the ridge and were headed up Princeton before we knew it. We could never actually see the summit once we gained the ridge, so we never really knew how close we were getting!

Matt & Mike making what we thought was the final push to the summit


But, of course it was a false summit and the true summit was the next one up. Unfortunately, there were no views from the top, but that didn't stop us from sitting there for 20 minutes. I couldn't believe how warm it was, not to mention there still wasn't any wind.

Looking back at the last part of the ascent


Mike giving the thumbs up once on top


We knew since the snow did not seem to be letting up, we needed to get going. All of the powder on the rocks made for a slippery descent. Once we were back on the lower ridge the snow was really falling and made for poor visibility. We had originally planned to head back down the way we came. The fresh snow would disguise the avy chutes, so we decided to stick to the ridge and descend Tigger.

Looking at the ridge where we needed to go


We made our way across the ridge and ascended what we thought was Tigger. I made a comment to the likes of, that wasn't as bad as I thought it was going to be. As we headed down the other side the falling snow slowed just long enough to see the real Tigger looming ahead. That took the wind out of my sails! It was beginning to get dark when we finally made it to the top of Tigger which made for a fun descent, but with Matt and Mike's excellent navigation skills and my brighter headlamp we eventually made it down, albeit in a roundabout way. ;) The whole mountain was blanketed in at least 8 inches of new snow, and it was still coming down. This made it pretty tricky considering the last time we saw Tigger earlier in the day it was mostly rocks. And believe it or not we even stumbled upon the dead tree that we stashed our snowshoes under. I really didn't care if we found them or not. I was exhausted and just wanted to get down, but it was a great feeling to know I wouldn't have to come back for them another day! However, we were lucky that we found them because we ended up breaking trail again all the way back to the TH! The road from the radio towers to the TH was never ending! We were like 3 zombies making our way down. Thanks to all of the snow and trail breaking, this turned into a very looong 18hr day!!

This is definitely one epic day that I will NOT soon forget!

Thumbnails for uploaded photos (click to open slideshow):

 Comments or Questions

11/30/2010 17:20
to all of you! A well earned winter summit for sure! I'm not looking forward to this one in winter. And I agree, post-holing through talus is the absolute worst! I finally brought chin guards on a couple of my climbs this fall (And, yes, I received plenty of harassment for it ) b/c of all the bruises I kept earning. Thanks for a great report.


03/10/2008 02:47
Very nice. That‘s a lot of hard work. Quite a bit of elevation gain on that beast. Could you drive up the road at all?


18 hours!
03/10/2008 16:57
That is a long day.
Did you throw away your snowshoes after that?
Is it spring ski season yet?


03/10/2008 23:18
jamie - Shin guards are an awesome idea! I‘m getting a pair for sure!

maverick - Don‘t think you‘ll be able to drive the road for a while, not even the lower section. There was probably about 6inches on the cars when we got back to the TH.

cheeseburglar - Had it not been for the new snow that was falling it would have been your typical long winter slog. I‘m definitely ready for some spring skiing!!! How was Mexico?!


If you can
03/16/2008 05:37
keep going 18 hours to your goal, there‘s tons of stuff you‘ll be able to look forward to tackling. Combine that with the smarts to turn back in the conditions of the first attempt, and you can go out in anything short of a blizzard or considerable avalanche conditions!

Good job guys.


03/17/2008 21:39
Thanks! I‘m definitely tossing a few ideas around!

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