Our Hike of Mt. Princeton - Elevation 14,197 Feet

Photos and Video of Our Ascent Via The Standard Route; 5-Month-Old Baby Zach's First 14er - August 29, 2009

Mount Princeton Colorado Considering I have a web site dedicated to photographing this mountain daily, www.mtprinceton.org, another climb was probably in order after ascending this mountain five years ago. (Update: I would also hike this mountain a third time two years later.

The big deal about today's climb was this was Baby Zach's first Colorado 14er. My friends Derek and Anna carried their 5-month-old, 17-pound baby in a backpack. What a feat to carry all that weight on a rigorous 14er like Mt. Princeton! The entire middle section includes various photos of the proud parents with Zach, along with Grandpa Harvey, Chief the dog and yours truly. :)

Basic Information / Directions: Visit 14ers.com for specific directions & trail information. We hiked the standard route to reach Mt. Princeton. We drove past the radio towers on Mt. Princeton Road in a 4-wheel-drive high clearance vehicle and parked 0.5 miles up the road and past the meeting point of the trail and road. Be advised that there are not many places past the radio towers to do a 3-point turn for turning around. You may have to drive all the way to the end of the road to make a safe turn around in the area, sometimes referred to as Bristlecone Park. Again, Harvey parked and was able to do a five-point turn approximately 0.5 miles uproad from the trailhead.

Thanks for checking out my photos and video below. Happy trails!

All the best, Steve

Contact:
Twitter: @stevegarufi
Facebook Fan Page: /coloradoguycom


Mt. Princeton Road
The Hike Along The Way

The view of the narrow road at the trailhead.

Baby Zach Baby Zach Before the hike began, I captured numerous photos of cute baby Zach! :)
Mt. Princeton, CO

Mt. Princeton, CO

Mt. Princeton

At the beginning of our ascent, I continued to capture photos of Mt. Princeton as we walked ever so slowly toward the summit. You gotta love the views!

Notice the colorful foliage in the middle picture. The colors are definitely changing in earnest at altitudes over 12,000 feet.

Do you see the hikers in the bottom photo on the left?

Mt. Princeton Trail Mt. Princeton Trail Once on the trail, the stunning view of the upper Arkansas River Valley, including Buena Vista, Johnson Village and Nathrop, are always just a turn back away.

The gentleman in red was a friendly man we met who lives in the Netherlands.

Now doesn't it look like Dad was struggling with carrying his son in the right photo? Well ...

Baby Zach ... Mom took over lugging their 17-pound baby for awhile. Very nice photo!
Mt. Princeton, CO

Mt. Antero

We traveled up to the ridge and rested. From there, we had nice views of Chalk Creek Canyon and all the mountains to the south. Mt. Antero is the largest and pointed peak on the right.
Baby Zach Again Derek took over the job of carrying Zach. Now let me tell you, I have a lot of respect for Derek and Anna. Zach weighs 17 pounds and the backpack was 3.7 pounds. That means Derek and Anna had an extra 20+ POUNDS on their back as they ascended this huge mountain! On our way down and near the bottom, I carried Zach and was shocked at how heavy he was - my back slumped for that half mile. There is no way I could have carried him all the way to the summit!

I say all this to say... Yes, Derek looks very tired and exasperated in the adjacent photo, but cut this man some slack! :p)

Mt. Princeton, CO

Mt. Princeton, CO

Mt. Princeton, CO

Three photos of Mt. Princeton as we walked slowly toward the summit.

Notice the people in each photo to help provide a scale of the size of this mountain. :)

Colorado Rocky Mountains Another photo looking on the other side of the ridge. Occasionally hikers foolishly opt to walk down into this gulch, intending to reach the base of Chalk Creek Canyon in the vicinity of Agnes Vaille Falls, the Mt. Princeton Campground and the Mt. Princeton Hot Springs. Don't do it! Most of the time hikers are unable to get down because of the intense steepness below and a search and rescue is called. In such cases, hikers, if they want to get out alive, will be required to hike all the way back up to this ridge and then descend via the Mt. Princeton Trail and Mt. Princeton Road. You've been warned!
Looking back at some of the trail. That tall peak is the "left hump" among the three humps of Mt. Princeton that's typically seen from Buena Vista and elsewhere. Some of my maps name that mountain "Tigger Peak" - elevation ~13,300 feet.
Mt. Princeton, CO The beautiful view to the east.
Mt. Princeton

Mt. Princeton

One final grunt to the top!

Lots of people on the mountain. Now I'm not against people in general, but if you are seeking peace and quiet, don't climb on a summer weekend. Instead, pick a 13er or 12er.

Mt. Princeton - Elevation 14,197 Feet

Anna was so happy to reach the summit. This was her first 14er! :)

Mt. Princeton, CO
A group photo of our entire group. Mt. Princeton
Baby Zach ... his first 14er! The mountain views are stunning, but it seems this cutie got more of the attention with our cameras! :) Baby Zach Baby Zach
I was so fired up that I held up cute little Zach as high as I could! This 5-month-old baby made it to Mount Princeton!!!

As I held him up, it reminded me of one of those dramatic scenes in the Lion King! :)

Baby Zach
The proud father and Zach. All three of these photos were so good. Mt. Princeton Baby Zach

Mt. Princeton

Baby Zach and Grandpa Harvey and on the right, three generations on the summit of Mt. Princeton. :) Baby Zach and Grandpa Harvey Mt. Princeton
Poor Chief! Ever since Zach was born, Chief hasn't received as much attention. Yet he still seems like a happy dog who enjoys a good life. Chief The Dog

Colorado Mountains
Scenery on Mt. Princeton's Summit

The view to the southwest. The rocky and gray peak on the right is Unnamed Point 13,451 feet. Beyond that peak is a gulch / watershed known as Grouse Canyon. Upon researching it, I've learned there is another reasonable way to ascend Mt. Princeton via this canyon. The climb begins somewhere at the base of Chalk Creek Canyon, above Cascade Falls and below Alpine, and travels up through Grouse Canyon. Once one reaches the ridge, it is a rocky but doable walk along the western ridge of Mt. Princeton as seen in this photo. One of these years, I may do this route.

Also... the St. Elmo Ghost Town can be seen in the canyon on the left.

Mt. Antero

Mt. Antero

Facing south.

TOP: The Mt. Princeton Campground, the dirt parking lot of Agnes Vaille Falls and the old railroad grade can be clearly seen way down below.

BOTTOM: This topic came up among climbers at the summit. Which mountain is which? I have the answers:
1) Mt. Ouray alt. 13,971'
2) Mt. Shavano alt. 14,229'
3) Mt. Antero alt. 14,269'
4) Tabeguache Peak alt. 14,155'

Colorado Mountains Facing southeast toward Salida, CO and the northern edge of the Sangre De Cristo Mountains.
Mt. Princeton, CO I love this shot! To the southeast-east, one can see much of the trail way down there!
Colorado Mountain View

Two photos looking east.

TOP: I zoomed-in as much as possible to capture Pikes Peak's western face. That's about 80 to 90 miles in distance.

BOTTOM: A close-up view of Johnson Village, Highways 24 & 285 leading to Trout Creek Pass and much of the topography of the South Park region of Park County.

Mt. Princeton

Mt. Princeton Summit

Facing northeast, the view of the town center of Buena Vista, CO is on the right in the top photo. The Buffalo Peaks are in center of each photo with other peaks comprising of the Mosquito Range beyond.

Below are some decent 14ers I've climbed recently:

  • South Elbert
  • Mt. Sneffels
  • La Plata Peak
  • Huron Peak
  • Colorado Rocky Mountains To the north, a plethora of peaks with Mt. Yale the most prominent and closest in the foreground.
    Sawatch Mountains, CO

    Colorado Rocky Mountains

    Two photos facing the northwest. I must comment at length about these peaks. These mountains located west of Mt. Princeton, on or near the Continental Divide and between Cottonwood Pass and Tincup Pass are my sentimental favorites. This is "my backyard" so to speak. None of these beautiful 13ers get the respect they deserve because they don't reach that oh so magic number of 14,000 feet. But that's okay, because I can enjoy them more for myself! ;)

    The peaks (all of which I've climbed) and sites are:
    1) Emma Burr Mountain (alt. 13,544')
    2) Mt. Kreutzer (alt. 13,095')
    3) Jones Mountain (alt. 13,221')
    4) Cottonwood Pass (alt. 12,095') is just out of sight behind those hills.
    5) Turner Peak (alt. 13,232')

    BOTTOM: A zoom-in that includes a better view of Emma Burr Mountain.

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