Peak(s):  Mt. Princeton  -  14,197 feet
Date Posted:  06/16/2019
Date Climbed:   06/09/2019
Author:  redheadontherocks
 Mt Princeton & it finally feels like summer out here!   

Another solid 14er summit! Mt. Princeton (14,197 ft), 7 miles, in 4h20min. Getting to 4-wheel up to 11k felt like cheating so I bagged Mt Tigger (13,300ft) as the bonus peak on the way to Princeton. I saw some of the most epic clouds from the summit. Picture perfect day.

My adventure started Saturday evening when I pulled up to the lower trailhead. Last year I brought my 2WD Toyota Matrix hatchback and wanted to "see how far I could get." Obviously it was not far. Hahaha. I said, "Screw hiking 7 extra miles on a dirt road. I'll come back with a truck." And then I drove to Yale and camped at the trailhead there instead.
Fast forward. I got my DREAM car this winter...a Toyota FJ Cruiser....omg...she is everything I ever wanted and more in a truck. I've taken her 4-wheelin, camping, made a comfty sleepng situation in the back. (Even though you have to sleep diagonal. FYI: if you are looking for a truck to really camp and live out of, go for a Tacoma or 4-runner. Wheel base and design of FJ make it optimal for off-roading, but not as spacious.)


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SO. I HAD A BLAST. Kicked her into 4-high, and just rolled over everything. It was just technical enough to made it a fun moderate 4-wheelin trail. The sun was setting over BV and I got to the radio towers just in time to watch it set. Yup, this was already shaping up to be an awesome summit.
I was also totally flabergasted that there was NO ONE there! I thought for sure it would be a popular one this weekend. Oh well, more mountain for me.


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Oh, and I forgot my sleeling bag...Doh....i realized that on my way there so I went to Trailheads in BV to see if they had a demo, rental bag or if anyone had some dirty blankets in their car that I could borrow. Lol. I said I had a blanket, and sheet and was sleeping in my car. Paul said it had been warm in the evenings and I should be fine. SO, this is when I was a good example of when the "emergency blanket" became my primary blanket! Wore base layers, puffy jacket ans hat and didnt get to chilly at 11,000 ft.
In the morning as I started hiking around 5:25am, and there were half a dozen trucks parked and camped a little higher on the trail. Much more level areas for camping. Make the hard left at the tower and keep driving another .25miles if you want to camp.


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My layer and COLOR game was totally LIT! I will now be going by the hiking call sign of "Skittles." hahaha! : )

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Caption HereHello sunrise over BV!


The first mile mile was SOOO annoying! I would get to a snowy patch and put on my microspikes...then would get to a rocky patch...take them off...get to a snowy part and think "OK, NOW its microspike time."....I think I took them on and off four times! Lol.


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BRAND NEW boots and microspikes were awesome though. Big fan of both.


When you round the third switchback you are supposed to leave the road and head north on a small easy to miss trail on the right. I kinda hiked right past it because I was fixated on these footprints that just went STRAIGHT UP the mountain face. I thought that looked interesting and I remembered that one of the guys at Trailhead said to bag Tigger Peak as well and that it was really good right now. I checked my maps and thought, "Yup' straight up is the way to go!"


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View from above of the steep snow slope hike up to Tigger



And DAUM, it's straight up. I was totally loving my new micro spikes and the snow was still pretty hard and icy. There were tracks from people who must have glicaded down the day before and it was like an ice luge.


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TARGET AQUIRED


I reached the top of Tigger Peak (13, 300ft) in about an hour and a half, and 2.4 miles.


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From there is was a pretty rocky ridge line all the way up to Princeton. I took my micro spikes off and just stayed high on the rocks the whole way.


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See the clouds coming!?!?!


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Was at about 3 miles at the saddle and kept on going up to summit Princeton in 2h39min and ~3.6 miles.


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It was June 9th..not June 8th or June 98th....


It was pretty uneventful scrambling except that there were these MASSIVE clouds approaching. At first it made me super weary and I was booking it fast to the top. But, I also didnt see any rain or storms in the forecast and they were big white fluffy clouds. From the top I could see that it was this huge inversion. It felt like being in an ocean of clouds at 14, 197 ft. Just WOW.... it was truly stunning. This is why we summit, for these surreal moments that you cant get any where else.


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OH MY GOSH! IS THIS REAL LIFE?!!?!

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And then with the quickness I descended like a billy goat on crack! Hiking on rocks when I could, and did a few fun glissades down some snow fields. The clouds were still dense and was like descending into fog.


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It was here where I joined the trail that I had bypassed by hiking Tigger Peak on my way out. I didnt even put on my microspikes. There were enough kicked out feet for traction. I


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was getting hot at this point and I was stripped down to my oh so fashionable vest. Then all of a sudden the rocks and snow ended and opened up to a meadow and it was a proper dirt trail. This is my fav part of the day when I cinch down my backpack straps and start running! After a day of trudging up and down steep slopes I love running the last few miles of a 14er to open up the legs and just get done quicker.


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Lookin' hella fly...


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Total mileage was just under 7 miles. It only took me 1h39min to get down. That was awesome. About 4h15min round trip.

And it wasnt even 10am when I got back to my truck. I took off boots, stripped out my my pants (soooo hot!), and layers and put on shorts and a tank top. Felt like a perfect summer day at this point.


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14er NUMBER 21!!!!!!!!

My suggestions about route:
1. YES. At this time of year and if there is the snow pack hike straight up to Tigger Peak. Without snow I imagine the straight up route is a steep talus field. I actually think you have to go a different and longer way around and up.
2. I carried snowshoez (again) and again didnt use them. Dont bother. Microspikes were great when i needed them, but the snow will melt quickly on Princeton.
3. If you dont have a 4WD to get to the radio tower trailhead then find a friend with one....or buy one. Lol.


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Adventure safely my 14er friends! ....but make sure you have fun too : )




Thumbnails for uploaded photos (click to open slideshow):
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Comments or Questions
Nscheetz
Nice!
06/17/2019 09:02
Looks like a solid hike. I hope to bag this one this summer.

Thanks foe the trip report!


Conor
User
Lucky....
06/17/2019 18:19
....to be above the clouds. It's only happened to me once, in 2008.

Just fyi, it's highly unlikely that was an inversion. It certainly didnt look like it from the pics.


gtjayhawk93
Nice hike!
06/18/2019 16:17
Thanks for the post! I have been wondering what it is like on Mt. Princeton. Planning to hike it July 22. Going with some that will be their first 14er! Hoping not to need microspikes. Based on your post it looks like we should be ok!


KGuff
Question
06/19/2019 19:55
Thank you for your post! Great pics! We are planning a climb over the week of July 2-6. From your experience, will special snow gear still be needed? We are a bunch of flatlanders from Kansas and for most it will be their first one. We are trying to find a mountain that isn't too crowded and doesn't require snow gear, if possible... I know that may be very difficult. Any advice would be appreciated!



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