Starting to sift through things and get them published after the craziness of the wedding and the honeymoon. Since I’ve climbed Princeton before and it was one of the most straight forward 14ers out there, this will be mostly a picture post.
The road does seem to be in better condition this year. There were not as many rough spots as 2013, but it is still narrow and steep in many parts!
We began our hike from just above the radio towers at 5:30 PM. This was a shorter 14er and the weather looked great for a sunset summit. The initial portion of the climb is on the 4WD road as it switchbacks up. It makes for quick and easy hiking.
With the strong winter we had, there was still a little bit of snow hanging on some of the protected spots, but it did not interfere with our hike. It did help to cool the dogs down though.
The turnoff to the trail was a little bit hidden due to a snowbank, but we were able to find it relatively easily. We started to work our way to the ridge. The level of green in Colorado this year has been amazing!
There were a couple spots where we had to cross snow, but never longer than 50 feet.
The sun was fading slowly. We had plenty of sunlight to work with since it was one of the longest days of the year.
I’m approaching the end of my time in the Sawatch. I only have Columbia left and am saving Elbert as my finisher. I will miss the view of looking down towards Buena Vista, Leadville, and Salida though. Always a stark beautiful contrast.
Last time I climbed Princeton, I ended up below the trail on the old trail which was a not so wonderful collection of loose scree. We made an effort to be more on trail this time, but still found ourself with a lot of rock and scree.
We reached the summit at 7:45 PM, about 2:15 after we started hiking. As we crested the top, we found an astonishing view and different experience than we had had on any other 14er.
We stayed on the summit for close to a half hour, drinking in the beautiful sunset. Knowing that we would like to be off the ridge by the time it got dark, we headed down. Unfortunately, the downhill was slow going as the dogs struggled a bit with some of the rock and we found ourselves in the dark above treeline. It wasn’t terrible, but it did slow us down a bit.
We got back to the car at 10 PM, 4.5 hours after we started. Not having to worry about climbing the next day, we got a fire going, and enjoyed a beer with some Caseydillas and BBQ.
Elevation Gain: 3,243 feet
Mileage: 6.9 miles
Total Time: 4:29:51