August 3, 2002
The Saturday morning ritual is becoming all to routine these days. Up at 4 a.m. and out the door by 4:30 a.m. since I was meeting Jim and company at the Mt. Princeton Hot Springs at 7 a.m. I arrived a little early so I wandered the Mt. Princeton Lodge for awhile and Jim and some friends soon arrived. The photo below is Mt. Princeton just off county road 162.
We parked his truck at the trailhead figuring my surburban being shorter than his Ford F-250 would be more manuverable on the road ahead. The road to 11,000 feet was very pleasant compared to the road on Mt. Antero and we negotiated all the curves without trouble. We arrived at the radio towers at 11,000 feet and parked right there for our 3,000 feet of elevation.
From here it is about 1 mile up the Mt. Princeton Road until the trail leaves the road and turns right skirting the north side of Point 13,300. The trail remains good for another .5 miles or so and then the boulder hopping begins. The photo below shows Jim heading up the trail and the red line shows the route to gain the ridge.
The trail stays pleasant until around the 12,900 foot mark, from here you leave the trail that is going to a mineshaft, and proceed straight uphill to gain the ridge. The photo below shows the scramble up to the ridge.
The summit was hidden in the clouds most of the morning and as we gained the ridge we were hiking in the clouds and the temperature dropped quite a bit. It was a short distance along the ridge to the summit, we were delighted to discover there wasn't any real false summits. I arrived on the summit right about 10 a.m. just under 2 hours from when we left the car. Below is Jim making his way up to the summit.
Laneya, Steve and Becky were soon to arrive and it was time to prop the cameras up on some rocks to get a group photo since we were the first ones on the summit. From left to right it's Steve, Laneya, Becky, Jim and myself.
The clouds broke for a little while allowing us to take in the views in all directions. The summit of Antero to the south was still in the clouds since it's a little taller than Princeton. We signed the register and sat down to have something to eat. Laneya made the mistake of leaving her apple unattended and a very friendly pika was quick to take advantage of the situation.
Staying on the summit about 1/2 hour another couple from Longmont showed up as we began to leave. We took a more direct descent back to the trail and a couple of us slipped on the loose rock and dirt. The photo below shows the descent and the trail back to the road.
Once we were through with all the boulder-hopping it was an easy stroll back to the road and then down the road to the car. We arrived back to the car around 12 p.m. bringing our hiking time to a little under 4 hours roundtrip.
It was off to the Cowboy Catina for some mexican food for lunch. After lunch Jim and the gang headed back to Mueller State Park where they were camping and since I was going to sleep in the suburban and tackle Mt. Yale the following day, I had some time to waste. I drove around and took some photos of the mountains from different angles. Below is a photo of Mt. Princeton from the north.
After that I took a ride over Independence Pass and into Aspen to kill a couple of hours. It was a very scenic drive and dodging the road-bikers turned out to be quite an endeavor. It was then off to the Denny Creek Trailhead for Mt. Yale, but that's another website.