Peak(s):  PT 13,626  -  13,626 feet
Mt. Princeton  -  14,197 feet
Date Posted:  05/28/2020
Date Climbed:   05/23/2020
Author:  Mtnman200
Additional Members:   RandyMack
 Whole Lotta Nothin'   

Friday, May 22, 2020. In 1997, I climbed Unnamed (UN) 13626 from west of Cottonwood Lake by taking a trail across private property to US Forest Service land and then up a jeep road to a mine at 10,500'. From there, I took a sometimes obscure trail to an open ridge at 11,300' and then followed the ridge to the summit of UN 13626.

In the interest of doing something different in 2020, Randy and I reviewed the topo map and realized it would be possible to take the ridge from Mt. Princeton to UN 13626. No previous trip reports on include this particular peak combination, but much of the fun of climbing 13ers is figuring out your own route and determining how it works.

Feeling a sense of adventure, Randy and I left home mid-afternoon and drove up the Mt. Princeton road, setting up camp about 1/4 mile past the radio towers. We were happy to have no trouble getting a campsite on a holiday weekend.

Saturday, May 23, 2020. We hiked up the road past snow that blocked vehicles at about 11,500' and continued to the upper 4WD trailhead. From here, a nice trail leaves the road at about 11,800', heading north and then west toward Mt. Princeton.

Looking south from about 11,900' on the Mt. Princeton trail, with Tigger Peak partially visible to the right

Looking west toward Tigger Peak (left) and Mt. Princeton (center) from about 11,900' on the Mt. Princeton trail

The trail goes to the Tigger - Princeton saddle (left) and then heads WNW up the ridge to the summit of Mt. Princeton (center)

The miles went by quickly, with surprisingly little snow on the trail, and soon we found ourselves on the summit of Mt. Princeton (14,197'). We took a few minutes to enjoy the view and contemplate the length of the ridge to UN 13626. Somehow, everything looks closer on the topo map than in person, but we couldn't see any obstacles that would keep us from our goal, so off we went.

From Mt. Princeton's summit, Point 13,971' (left of center) and UN 13626 (the snowy mountain right of center) seem far away

The ridge from Mt. Princeton toward Point 13,971' was straightforward, but below Point 13,971' we had to traverse a fairly steep snowfield and were glad we were properly equipped for it.

We stayed on the ridge proper as much as possible because the east side of the ridge was a snowfield that dropped down quite a ways and the west side, although not snowy, simply dropped steeply. The safest way along the ridge was on the top but not too close to the occasional cornice.

UN 13626 from the Point 13,971' - UN 13626 ridge

Looking back at Point 13,971', with Mt. Princeton out of sight at far left (Taken from the same location as the previous photo)

As we got closer to UN 13626, we dropped below the ridge on its south side to bypass some rough sections. Once past the final rough section, we regained the ridge and followed it to the summit of UN 13626. We could see some climbers on the summit, but they would be gone by the time we got there.

Looking west at UN 13626 from its east ridge; we followed the ridge and were able to avoid most of the snow seen here

From UN 13626's east ridge, this is looking ESE toward Mt. Princeton (center) and Point 13,971' (right) (Taken from the same location as the previous photo)

Surprisingly, the 1992 summit register (that I'd signed in 1997) was still on UN 13626's summit. I recognized one of the signatures from earlier today as that of member supranihilest (Ben). Because the register was nearly full, we retrieved it and mailed it to the CMC once we returned home.

Mt. Princeton (center) and Point 13,971' (right) from the summit of UN 13626

Mt. Antero (center) from the summit of UN 13626

Looking west from the summit of UN 13626

Looking NE toward Buffalo Peaks (in the far distance) from the summit of UN 13626

The Mt. Princeton - UN 13626 combo would have worked nicely with a car shuttle, but unfortunately we hadn't thought to ask Furthermore's wife for a ride back to our campsite near the Mt. Princeton radio towers. That left us no alternative but to hike all the way back to Mt. Princeton.

Clouds rolled in as we headed back to Mt. Princeton, and we were glad to have decent weather with essentially no chance of rain (though it was quite windy).

UN 13626 from the ridge north of Point 13,971'

Mt. Princeton and Point 13,971' from the ridge north of Point 13,971' (Taken from the same location as the previous photo)

The traverses across the snow were uneventful, and now we were on the home stretch to Mt. Princeton. From there, it would be all downhill, and we would be able to relax.

From just north of Point 13,971', UN 13626 is the snowy summit directly behind me.

Mt. Princeton from the same location as the previous photo. Once we climbed back to the Princeton - 13,971' ridge, it was only 1/2 mile to Mt. Princeton's summit

We were not the last climbers to descend from Mt. Princeton's summit today. One of the groups was moving very slowly and had a 50- or 60-pound dog with them. It looked like the dog had either run out of gas or its paws were hurting from all the rock. Neither Randy nor I had the energy to carry a dog that heavy, and we hope it and its owners got off the mountain before dark. We never heard about a search & rescue event om Mt. Princeton, so everyone must have gotten down safely.

Photo credit: Randy Mack (all but two photos)

Thumbnails for uploaded photos (click to open slideshow):
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Comments or Questions
05/28/2020 07:52
Eddie, too bad we missed you and Randy up there. It's such a big area I'm not sure I would have seen you unless you guys were close by! I've never heard of the CMC registers being returned to them. Do you know what they do with them? This one was ancient - 1992 - and I'm surprised it wasn't soaked given its age. I doubt we were the first to ascend 13,626 this year but we were the first to sign the register. Here's the register in question, along with some other big names on it including Brad McQueen, Doggler, Alex Henes, and Garrett Mitchell (who came up Hope Gulch solo and then traversed to Point 13,037 with us).

I like this one.
05/28/2020 09:18
Nice job, Eddie!

Helpful beta
05/28/2020 11:07
Thanks, Eddie! Planning on doing 13,626 this weekend via Grouse Canyon, looks like we should be able to avoid most of the snow, maybe have to cross a few patches.

Nice work!
05/29/2020 19:00
Been looking into tackling Princeton, and I love a little extra credit, so this is inspiring for sure. Do you think a dog could handle the traverse? She loves big days and is really good on talus and class 2+, haven't gotten her on any class 3 yet, but I think we could handle it with a little practice. Thank you

06/01/2020 11:03
Ben: CMC archives the registers. I think they've been scanning them lately to take up less room. BTW, I scanned the entire 13626 register before I sent it to CMC. I also have scanned copies of the original Thunder Pyramid and Dallas Peak registers. The oldest register I've seen was the original 1956 register on Potosi that was still there in 1988.
Jay: Thanks as always.
Troy: How was your climb of 13626?
Vera: Great username! Definitely no problems for a dog between Princeton and 13971, but it might be difficult for your dog on the portion of the ridge about halfway between 13971 and 13626 where we had to drop below the ridge and bypass some rougher sections.

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