Brian met me at the Meyer Ranch car park just after 4am and we were off on the road to
Buena Vista. It seemed like a fast drive over early in the morning. I love it because we were basically the only ones driving West so there was no traffic to speak of. A little before 6am we were driving through Buena Vista heading up the road to the Mount Princeton TH. The sun was starting to rise over the valley and the view was amazing. Still a blue cloudless sky we headed up the 4WD road to Princeton’s upper TH.
About a 3 mile drive up a dusty, mildly rutted road will get you to the radio towers where most people park for the upper TH. The road is narrow, but I actually thought it was going to be worse than it was. There were about five cars parked in the vicinity of the radio towers where there are a few campsites available to those that are interested. We found a spot big enough for the Blazer and parked since we weren’t sure there would be anywhere to park further up the road.
|TH from the road|
We found the trail and headed up and over the quick section of dirt and grass before the route turned to a Class 2 rock fest. Once on top of this small rib you can see most of the route heading all the way to the summit. As we were making our way up the first half mile of rock we noticed another climber heading down to our trail from high on the ridge, he must have missed the TH too. So, keep your eye out while walking the road it will save you a lot of boulder hopping. The grade was nice; you couldn’t even feel the elevation gain yet. And what I’ve always thought being nice with class 2 rock is you are constantly concentrating on your foot placement you forget for a minute that you’re breathing hard. So either I enjoy this type of climbing more and find a way to place a mental block on my fatigue or I’m getting better adapted to climbing 14ers. Who knows, I just know these routes beat the hell out of a dirt trail to the summit.
There was a blockade of the old trail that keeps traversing directly towards
Princeton and the trail started switch-backing towards the ridge line. The trail here had a really nice grade making its way up tight switch-backs making the elevation gain add up rapidly. I think this was a route cut in by the Colorado Fourteener Initiative (CFI) like most of these 14er trails, hard work for them but I do appreciate it. It didn’t seem like we were hiking too long at all before we reached the ridge line. The views of Mount Antero were amazing, the sky was still clear and we were still on our climbing schedule; all was good with the world.
From the ridge on it was a solid class 2 climb to the summit. There were multiple routes with
all over the place. I found the best option was to stay up high on the ridge where it seemed to be a well used route. We had just over 1,000ft left to go, and with the summit looming over you it gives you more motivation to keep climbing without resting. Once we started climbing Brian got out in front of me by about 100yds as I tend to slow my rate of ascent as I get higher on the mountains. A few people were on their way down by now, and it really didn’t seem long till I was near the summit. About 100ft below the summit was a metal plaque bolted onto a rock. A lady in the 90’s lost her life at this point due to a lightning strike. That immediately made me look to the weather. Still looks good, so on I went. cairns
From here on out it was a typical uneventful descent. The weather around us was clear and the only dread we had was the drive down the narrow 4WD road to
Buena Vista. Now that Brian and I have been on two climbs together I think we have a good grasp on each others capabilities. He is the ascender and I am the descender. We work well together and plan to do many more mountains together in the future; hopefully Mount Massive next week. This is just another account of a trip that could have gone horribly wrong, but through experience, staying clam and working together we made it out injury free and I still put it up there as another great climb. Colorado
I’m really hoping to get all the
done by the end of the summer. I still have three colleges to go, which shouldn’t be a problem. But in a place where there are so many mountains to choose from it’s easy to move onto another goal before finishing the one you were working on. I love the diversity in the mountains and the ease to get to them here. I’m up to 25 this year so half way to my main goal of 50 summits in 2012. Colligate Peaks
Total Gained Elevation: 3,200ft