Peak(s):  Mt. Princeton  -  14,200 feet
Date Posted:  06/13/2007
Date Climbed:   06/13/2007
Author:  roozers42
 Princeton - mist, snow, rain   

Melissa (Meli) and I had talked a while ago about hiking this summer. I wanted to hike Mt. Princeton solo on 6/12 and was happy to see her post about being in the sawatch that week. We were able to get in touch and decided to meet up in Buena Vista Monday night. We met at the park in BV (next to K's), talked for quite a while, and then drove to the Princeton TH to sleep in our vehicles. It rained all night and when the alarms went off at 5am, it was still pouring. We opened our windows and I suggested that we sleep another hour to see what the weather did. It wasn't just a selfish idea! By 6am it had stopped raining so we got up, got our gear together, and hopped into Mel's truck to drive up the road.

We pulled off and parked around 11,000 feet and while taking our packs out of the truck, I heard something. "Hey, Mel...what's that hissing sound? It sounds like it coming from the rear tire...." Sure enough, the tire was leaking and Mel proceeded to find lots of nails on the ground. Okay, we're at 11K on the Mt. Princeton road with a tire that's going to be flat soon. Mel checks the spare and see's that it's low (she proceedes to kick herself for not checking it before her trip.) Okay...we can deal with it now and drive down, or we can do the short hike and deal with it when we get back. We choose option number two and start hiking up the road at 7:30. Thanks to Mel for making the decision to wear rain gear from the very start of the day!

I'll be honest - I haven't been looking forward to this 14er. I was actually kind of psyched to be climbing it surrounded in fog with completely wet rocks the entire way. It added a bit of excitement to the hike that I didn't think would be there. Mel and I followed the good trail to about 12,700 where we angled up to gain the ridge.


Mel on the trail

To this point, there was very minimal snow to cross - as other TRs have indicated, snowshoes and crampons are not necessary although I found my poles helpful. We hit the ridge at 13,000 and saw a few blue patches in the sky (they only lasted for a few minutes.)


Princeton's ridge

At around 13,400 it started snowing and we were hiking on snow-covered dirt/rock to the summit. Maybe the moisture made the slope easier than normal, but I didn't think it was a bad pitch at all and it was quite stable. We topped out around 10am, took some photos, signed the register, and headed down.


Me on the summit

We'd had low visibility during the hike but were always able to see the route in front of us for at least 20 feet. Once we were off the ridge, large flakes started to fall and we were able to see the valley below - it was beautiful! Soon after, the rain started to fall; by the time we reached the road we were both drowned rats.



At this point, we started to think about the tire. Worst case scenario was that we rolled the spare down the hill, right? That'll make for some good pictures! We reached the truck at 12:30 to find the tire in no worse condition than before. We drive carefully down the road and although it was painfully low, it made it to town. We had lunch at Pizza Works and then I left to drive back to Boulder. Mel had plans of drying out her gear and hiking some other southern Sawatch peaks in the next few days - good luck, Mel!

That's a long TR for a quick hike of Princeton!

Summary - I thought the talus and summit pitch were much more stable than I had anticipated. Snow crossings are minimal and although I brought my axe and crampons, I didn't need them at all.

Thumbnails for uploaded photos (click to open slideshow):
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Comments or Questions
Nice Report
06/14/2007 17:56
Very nice trip report The spare tire is full now.......

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