Peak(s):  Mt. Princeton  -  14,197 feet
Date Posted:  08/07/2008
Modified:  08/09/2008
Date Climbed:   06/30/2008
Author:  New hiker

 Grueling hike up Mt. Princeton (almost)  

My husband and live in NY and made our first trip to CO this past June. Our main objective for the 5 day vacation was to summit 2 14ers. Our first goal was Mt. Princeton (which we didn't realize at the time would be our only goal!) Image

We landed in Denver on 6/29 from sea level and drove to 8500' where we slept. The next morning we just couldn't stick to our plan of acclimatizing one full day, and so we set out at around 7am on a beautiful morning for the summit of Mt. Princeton. We started at the main trailhead parking lot because we didnt want to chance driving up one of those crazy, windy mountain roads that we had become all too familiar with in our short time in CO! So with a 13 mile round trip ahead of us, we set out, ambitious and excited.

Much of the hike was along a sort of dirt road, but it was steadily vertical the entire time, so it was definitely a workout. We kept stopping to take in all of the breathtaking views around us, as the town we had come from grew smaller with each step. Image Image
As we approached each bend and switchback we anticipated what would await us. For the most part, it ended up being another stretch of dirt road though (and of course more stunning views and nature!) Image

One of the scariest parts of the hike (or any hike I have ever done for that matter) was when a huge patch of snow ran across the dirt road. We had to cross this snow to keep going, and of course it was at a very exposed section of the mountain. Image
Because the sun was so strong, it was very slushy and slippery. Using 2 rocks as ice axes, I slowly and carefully made my way across this rough patch. Relieved, a bit shook up, and not looking forward to crossing back over that snow, we went on.

Finally we got past the dirt road and walked along the ridge which lead up to the next change in terrain - and let the scrambling begin! "Rocky Mountains" holds an entirely new meaning to us after this!
Image Image
We continued up and as we reached the top of each new "mountain" of rocks, we would see yet another beyond. It seemed each time like we Image

But I must say, after getting over one of the first flase summits, we were rewarded with the most spectacular view I have ever had the privilege of seeing in my life. A wall of massive snow capped 14ers, and they seemed close enough to touch. Image Image

This was basically the going for the remainder of the hike, until finally, at 12,700', exhausted, beat up and majorly feeling the altitude (I was dizzy, winded, heart pounding out of chest and a bit discombobulated - yet miraculously my husband was just a bit out of breath), we sat for a few minutes and then headed down.

After about 7 hours of hiking and reaching the highest point I have ever reached in my life (X's 3!), I felt accomplished, invigorated and so lucky. Although we didn't reach the true summit of Princeton, we reached our summit and we loved every step of it! Image

We got back to the car just in time because the rain clouds became very dark and it poured shortly thereafter. Image

In case you were wondering, we were too sore the next couple of days to attempt another 14er, and by that point we were just really enjoying the area before we had to go home, so we just viewed the mountains from a distance! Cant wait to go back to CO and hike some more 14ers (and hopefully summit them!).

Thumbnails for uploaded photos (click to open slideshow):

 Comments or Questions

Good Job...
08/08/2008 04:29
considering your true starting point. Your trip report is honest and has some great pictures. Congrats to making it this far from sea level. Remember you did this as a 12K+ gain while many of us are lookin at less that 7K just to this point. You did well.

By the way...that picture of your husband and you will make a great xmas card to represent the year.


08/09/2008 02:30
Great effort, you both should be proud.

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