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
Considering I have a web site dedicated to photographing this mountain daily,
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
Facebook Fan Page: /coloradoguycom
||The Hike Along The Way
The view of the narrow road at the trailhead.
||Before the hike began, I captured numerous photos of cute baby Zach! :)
|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?
||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 ...
||... Mom took over lugging their 17-pound baby for awhile. Very nice photo!
|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.
is the largest and pointed peak on the right.
||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)
|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. :)
||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.
||The beautiful view to the east.
|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.
||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.
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'
||Facing southeast toward
Salida, CO and the northern edge of the
Sangre De Cristo Mountains.
||I love this shot! To the southeast-east, one can see much of the trail way down there!
|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.
|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:
La Plata Peak
||To the north, a plethora of peaks with
Mt. Yale the most prominent and closest in the foreground.
|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.
||The guest log.
| 2008 Bike Across America
| Colorado Web Cam
| About This Site
| Donation Page
| 4-Wheel Drive
Copyright © www.ColoradoGuy.com - All rights reserved