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Mt. Princeton  
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Route  Conditions Information  Posted By   Posted On    Photos  Comments Likes Dislikes    
2015-01-26  East Slopes  No avy danger on the standard summer route as of this climb. 4WD road has a boot/snowshoe track all the way to where the Mt. Princeton trail cuts off at 11,800‘. The Princeton trail is buried only for a short distance (maybe 50 vertical ft) heading up to the shoulder. The portions of the traverse trail that sees no sun (most of it) is covered with slick compacted snow/ice. Microspikes pretty much a must all the way to where you leave the traverse trail (about 12,800‘) in order to mount the high ridge. Talus climb to ridge mostly on rocks. Ridge climb to summit mostly blown to exposed ground. Snowshoes not needed at all on this trip. blindmule   2015-01-27 5     Edit Delete 
2015-01-23  East Slopes  I tried Princeton today. New snow at the trailhead was about 3" and increased to 6 to 8" above the towers. When I got to just before the turn off, there were several big drifts across the road (11,650). They were, however, more than drifts. They were like pillows with a fair amount of snow running 100-200 vertical feet above them. I did a quick hand pit on the first one and found it to be an eight inch soft slab on top of at least that much soft, unconsolidated snow. This was obviously created in the recent storm and wind event. I would have only had to go 50 ft to get past the first one but this was not what I was looking for at this stage of the climb. I cannot tell what was beyond this but if there is this kind of loading at this stage in the climb I can imagine there is more as you get higher. The Avy report yesterday mentioned that there was considerable wind in the recent storm in the Sawatch. I agree. I will try to get pictures up asap but this is not easy on my motel wi fi. Nelson   2015-01-23  0  3    Edit Delete 
2015-01-18  East Slopes  The road to the communication towers is snow covered with ATV and snow mobile tracks. There are icy patches and sections that are completely bare. The camp locations were pretty much bare. If you plan to camp, the third spot about 500 yards past the towers on your left is the best IMO. Once past the towers, there is quite a bit of drifting across the road. Most of the time the edge of the road was clean or the snow was hard enough to walk on top. Micro spikes were absolutely perfect for the conditions. The start of the Princeton trail at about 11,800‘ is not easy to see but getting to the ridge is not too difficult even if you are off trail. Once on the ridge, you should have no problem picking up the trail. The East Slope traverse was packed snow and bare. Once again, Micro spikes were very helpful. The avy danger was pretty much nill as shown in the photos. youngk2844   2015-01-19 6  2    Edit Delete 
2015-01-16  East Slopes  Recommended gear: microspikes, poles, face coverage! Unless you are on an ATV, I wouldn‘t attempt to drive up the road from the lower trailhead. I got all of 0.2 miles in my 4WD Tacoma and it was obvious it wasn‘t a good idea. You‘ll find the road to the antennas with either a good packed track (from the ATVs, and even a SnowCat, I think) or, on the south-facing slopes, a dirt track. From the antennas to the trail turnoff, there is enough of a packed track to not need snowshoes, although you‘ll have to negotiate a few sections of drifting snow. The trail turnoff is not obvious (buried by a drift). I passed it up and made my own way up toward the lower shoulder of Tigger. Maybe 50 feet above the road I immediately saw the summer trail off to my right and just walked over to it. The traverse below Tigger is OK, on boulders or packed snow. The three gullies had drifting snow but no serious avy danger (IMHO). Another big dump could change that, though. The climb up to the ridge from where the traverse sort of fades out was kinda miserable as was the boulder/snow climb to the summit (I was trying to stay out of the wind so probably didn‘t take the best route, which is mostly on the ridge itself.) So, for now, I think the Princeton trail looks good. It‘s a long hump, though, from that lower parking area all the way up and back--it tuckered me out! Daniel Joder   2015-01-16  0     Edit Delete 
2015-01-11  East Slopes  The road up to the radio towers does not have deep snow on it, and in places there is no snow. However with the recent dips in temperature you need chains and a decent 4x4 vehicle. The snow is not deep in most places, but it is the consistency that makes it hard to drive up. We walked most of the way from the first trailhead. The trail itself was mostly clear of snow, there is no avy danger at the this time. Much of the route is iced over, but still passable with care. Beautiful day, not too cold. The wind on the ridge is a little brutal if you are without a balaclava. All around good day though! windwaker   2015-01-13  0     Edit Delete 
2015-01-08  East Slopes  Solid trench from Lower TH to the Towers, then some sections of dry road and post holing to the ridge. Some hard pack snow on Summer route, mostly dry over Tigger Peak. illusion7il   2015-01-09 1     Edit Delete 
2015-01-03  East Slopes  Was at the hot springs this past weekend so my wife and I snowshoed up to the signal tower. Had to break trail the last mile. Looks like it got deeper past there. Summit looked bare though. Generalcuz   2015-01-05 1     Edit Delete 
2014-12-27  East Slopes  Road is no longer passable by vehicle. Started from the bottom lot this morning. The road up is ok and I just had my microspikes on. Borderline in need of snowshoes once past the towers(personal preference call). With all the new snow I knew conditions to be not so good the day after the storm. My plans were to gain the northeast ridge of Tigger and go up and over and back using the ridge lines staying away from dangerous slopes. I got to the 11,500 mark where you leave to gain the ridge. The slope above the road to gain the ridge made me pause. It was heavily snow and wind loaded. I tried to skirt around to the right up a ankle breaking talus minefield that caused me to abort that tactic. So I dug a snow pit to see how conditions looked on the slope. On top was 12-14" of new powder on top of a hard 4" thick slab,and underneath that slab was 12" of Colorado sugar whore. Bonding between the slab and hoar was very poor. It took very little pressure for the slab underneath to let loose. Well..that‘s all I needed to know on what to do next...go back down. Gorgeous bluebird day with a fresh blanket of snow covering everything. Still a great day out.  blakhawk   2014-12-27  0     Edit Delete 
2014-12-13  East Slopes  Perfect day on the mountain. Conditions were amazing. There is some snow on the road above the radio towers, but it can easily be skirted. Once you leave the road the trail is easy to follow. Eastern and southern facing slopes are bare of snow. The trail eventually becomes a hard snow sidewalk all the way to the saddle. Micro spikes are not required, but are highly encouraged. Especially for the descent. Above the saddle on the summit push you will have to pick your own route. Even if the mountain gets 3-4" of snow tonight, the route should still be fine. dogballs   2014-12-13  0     Edit Delete 
2014-12-11  East Slopes  June-like conditions on Princeton. Road has patches of snow/ice above lower th at 8900ft, some areas with significant drifts that I don‘t know how anyone would drive past, but I did see an AT&T truck going up at some point during descent. The small cairn and the steps marking where the Mt. Princeton trail starts from the road are easy to miss (especially at night) and partially buried, but the trail is clear beyond that until reaching the long ascent along the slope of Tigger Peak, which is then hard-packed, icy snow until beyond the shadow of Tigger. The trail here seemed to disappear on me, and I went farther than I should have, I think the best route would be to go straight up to the ridge at its lowest point between Tigger and Princeton. There is no real packed trail here and everyone seems to be making their own. Patches of sugar snow cover loose talus, making for a slow and sometimes painful ascent/descent, as legs sink hip deep through snow and holes in the talus, for a foot wedging, shin-banging good time. On the ridge, between 13,800 and the summit, it is mostly dry, a couple of patches of icy snow to watch out of for, but otherwise, it‘s somewhat summery in the southern Sawatch. Also - to the lady who lost her hat, I put it on a stick in the middle of the road, I hope you found it and the AT&T man didn‘t run it over. *Microspikes and trekking poles SUPER useful. RockyMountainMustang   2014-12-12 4     Edit Delete 
2014-11-23  East Slopes  Came back to settle last weekend‘s unfinished business. It seems every time I attempt Princeton a storm blows in the night before. Drove to about 10400‘. 8.35 miles and 6 hours later, I found myself back where I started, but this time with a W. codydonahue   2014-11-23 3  2    Edit Delete 
2014-11-16  East Slopes  Turned back at 12700‘ because partner experienced onset of altitude sickness. Other than harsh wind starting at 12300‘, a very enjoyable hike. Summit definitely attainable under current conditions. Snowshoes a must. codydonahue   2014-11-16 3  1    Edit Delete 
2014-10-29  Southwest Ridge  Climbed Princeton solo via the standard route Wednesday (second ascent, first was in summer conditions). No one else up there. Was alone all day. From the steps off the road, the trail climbs to a switchback. After the switchback, the trail tops a rise, and much of the route is visible. Shortly past the rise, the trail becomes snowpacked and icy. You can avoid the ice for maybe a hundred yards by walking alongside the trail. Instead, I put on traction right there (Polar Trax), and kept it on for the whole ascent/descent until I was back to the rise. I don‘t think I could have completed the climb without traction. Best advice: follow footsteps. On trail, in the footsteps, the snow is consolidated and held my weight. Off-trail and out of the steps, I broke through a thin crust into powder. Faster to stay on top with traction. Snow is drifted knee-deep in places. I wore regular gaiters, and needed them. The "wall" that diverts climbers to the new ridge route and off the old one, is buried in snow but you can still see a few exposed rocks. The new route is completely covered, and you can‘t see where it goes. Shortly after the wall, footsteps of most climbers headed to the ridgeline by guess and by golly. I made the mistake of following the old route, and the footsteps gradually thinned out until only one other climber had gone before me. I followed his footprints up to the ridgeline through the talus. Broke through the crust quite often. Didn‘t bring an ice axe, but carried a trekking pole and was glad I had it. It helped me keep my balance on the break-throughs. The ridgeline is the best path of travel because right now anyway it has been blasted by the wind mostly snow-free. Wind was not bad until the final summit push up the pyramid. There, it was bad. Once on the summit, I took off my gloves to snap some photos, and my hands immediately began to numb. Couldn‘t hear the camera shutter or the film advance, and with my cold hands I inadvertently snapped off 5 or 6 frames unintentionally. Didn‘t linger. Headed down. Once I had dropped off the ridgeline and was sheltered from the wind, found a sunny snow-free spot to eat, drink, and replenish sunscreen. Hike out was a repeat of the hike in. A satisfying day and climb despite that awful wind up high! flyingmagpie   2014-10-30  0  1    Edit Delete 
2014-10-25  East Slopes  Trail is snow free until ~12,050. Started using microspikes from ~12,200 to the ridge. RockCaCO3   2014-10-25 1     Edit Delete 
2014-10-11  East Slopes  Road to trailhead did not have too much snow. The Subaru that was following me made it to the radio towers. About 1-2‘ of snow on the mountain itself. We missed the turnoff for the trail from the jeep road, and endind up having to break trail across the ridge to cut our way back. We saw the trail but never connected with it. This made the ridge more like a class 3, but it was doable with the right warm weather gear. Storm rolled in and chased us down. windwaker   2014-10-20  0     Edit Delete 
2014-10-11  East Slopes  Winter conditions were in full effect on Princeton Saturday. We were able to drive past the radio towers though I suspect this may no longer be possible. Route finding through several feet of snow (at times) and talus made for a rough day. Recommend snow shoes and spikes. And make sure you‘re familiar with where the route veers off right from the road after the third switchback (from the upper TH parking area). We missed this and ended up way off route. krojanen   2014-10-13  0  1    Edit Delete 
2014-10-06  East Slopes  Previous report still valid. Almost zero snow. Road to the upper trail head is fine. I parked just past the radio towers. Had no issues on the road in a jeep liberty. aim54pheonix   2014-10-07  0     Edit Delete 
2014-09-28  East Slopes  Peak is still in perfect condition -- no snow or other issues. Driving my 2014 Forester to the campsites above the radio towers was trivial, and I think I could have driven to where the trail leaves the road had I wanted to (saw a 4-Runner up there). Weather was questionable (heavy clouds, light precip, medium wind near the summit), but startlingly warm the whole time -- I don‘t think it dropped below 40 F overnight at the 11K campsites! robinbk   2014-09-29  0     Edit Delete 
2014-09-18  East Slopes  The Peak was in prime condition! There was no snow whatsoever and some trees had started turning yellow. The temperature was extremely warm and there was no need for any windbreaker except in the last push when there was a slight breeze. The road up to the radio towers was passable with a Honda CRV though driving required special attention due to all the ruts and divots in the road as well as the fact that it tended to slope towards the edge of the mountain. YearlyClimber   2014-09-23 2  1  Edit Delete 
2014-08-22  East Slopes  Found some ski poles above treeline. Describe to me and I am happy to return them to their owner jemdur   2014-08-22  0     Edit Delete 

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