Mount Princeton

Date to Climb: June 15, 2009

Date Climbed: June 14, 2009

Elevation: 14,197

Range: Sawatch

Latitude: 38.74920, Longitude: -106.24240

Route: East Slopes ll, Class 2

Round-Trip Mileage: 13 miles

Pre-Climb Comments

Our dog, Jake, had a hard time on Princeton last year. Snow covered the trail and we made a few navigational errors. The boulder hopping was easy for us but was tiring for Jake. We ended up pushing and pulling him up about five hundred feet elevation, and all because we lost the trail and turned up too late to join the ridge. We hope to stay on the trail this year and put Jake’s boots on early. We will park at the Young Life Camp and walk the road adding 7 miles roundtrip to the climb. This will be another opportunity to walk up the road and camp near the 4WD trailhead on the eve of the climb. If this seems like a trend, we think it is a good one. Of course that is talking from my office in Tennessee. Afternoon storms could deter us from the evening backpack.

Post-Climb Comments

Mount Princeton is a hard day when you start at the lower, two-wheel-drive trailhead. We were prepared for the pain.

Up at three and on the trail by four has become the norm for our mornings. Every night so far we have slept in the car. It sets up so nicely for sleeping that the Element makes a great faux RV. As soon as we awake we begin our duties: take down the tent enclosure, compress and store the bags and pads, repack all the gear, change clothes, and eat breakfast - no coffee, by the way. Then we drive to the trailhead and do last minute packing. All that takes about an hour.

The first five miles of the East Slopes route is walking up a road, or driving if you choose. The walking is relatively easy and you can maintain a good pace. Today was cool all day, so Jake had a good day.

After leaving the road the trail climbs to an easy shoulder on a well groomed path. It is not long before it is the end of groomed anything! The trail soon was rocks laid out to be a trai. Last year we missed the in-obvious turn to the ridge and got introduced to a boulder jumble which tripled the energy spent on the trail.

Once gaining the ridge, Jake lost a shoe somewhere along the ridge. Soon the whole mountain (all the hikers) were helping Jake find his shoe. It was a great experience. We continued across the ridge to the final slope leading to the summit. We still were not acclimated and had to stop regularly just to breathe.

Princeton summit

Mount Princeton Summit Gulpy

Everyone who passed us on the way up the mountain knew about the shoe and helped us search for it as they continued down the mountain. The ridge seemed quite long, but the guidebook claimed that the total distance from the road to the summit was only 1.5 miles, and the ridge is only a small portion of the total distance.

As we regained the ridge after summiting we began searching for the shoe. One person would think that they saw it but the next had not seen it. We looked everywhere. Finally toward the beginning of the ridge, there it was sitting in an obvious location on top of a flat rock. Jake was able to have all four paws shoed again. He was a happy dog and we were also happy hoping that he did not injure his paws any further.

We finally returned to the parking lot around two, almost ten hours exactly from the time we left that morning. It was a long day we were happy that Princeton was checked off as done.

Mount Princeton - June 14, 2009 summit check