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|Conditions Information||Posted By||Posted On|
|2015-01-11||Route: East Slopes
Info: 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!
|2015-01-08||Route: East Slopes
Info: 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.
|2015-01-03||Route: East Slopes
Info: 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.
|2014-12-27||Route: East Slopes
Info: 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.
|2014-12-13||Route: East Slopes
Info: 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.
|2014-12-11||Route: East Slopes
Info: 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.
|2014-11-23||Route: East Slopes
Info: 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.
|2014-11-16||Route: East Slopes
Info: 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.
|2014-10-29||Route: Southwest Ridge
Info: 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!
|2014-10-25||Route: East Slopes
Info: Trail is snow free until ~12,050. Started using microspikes from ~12,200 to the ridge.
|2014-10-11||Route: East Slopes
Info: 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.
|2014-10-11||Route: East Slopes
Info: 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.
|2014-10-06||Route: East Slopes
Info: 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.
|2014-09-28||Route: East Slopes
Info: 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!
|2014-09-18||Route: East Slopes
Info: 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.
|2014-08-22||Route: East Slopes
Info: Found some ski poles above treeline. Describe to me and I am happy to return them to their owner
|2014-08-04||Route: East Slopes
Info: The 4WD road was fairly easy for my Explorer all the way to the top. I hit bottom at one spot, but it wasn‘t anything terrible. The road to the radio tower is easy 4WD and up to just beyond the trailhead is also fairly easy. We parked just above the trailhead at a big pullover on the road (not far from where I hit bottom). The hike from here was fairly easy. It starts downhill to the trailhead then is an easy accent to the saddle. The upper portion of the saddle has a little loose rock, but nothing terrible. I never felt uncomfortable during the climb. On the way back, we continued on the saddle over Tigger Pt., following the ridge back to the road which actually dropped us right above our vehicle. If you‘re looking for an easy way down, this is not the route. It is steeper and not very clearly marked. But if you are looking for an extra accent with some beautiful views go for it. NOTE: If you get to the saddle and it looks like weather may be moving in, Tigger Pt. is a possible alternative to summiting Princeton. It‘s an easier accent and about a 45 minute decent back down to the road. Just be careful!
|2014-07-19||Route: East Slopes
Info: Perfect condition on the trail. No snow.
|2014-06-24||Route: East Slopes
Info: Summer conditions in full effect. Do not bring snow gear.
|2014-06-12||Route: East Slopes
Info: Great day on Princeton. Just three snowfields left and we tried to pack/trench them well so the morning hardpack doesn‘t send you down the slope. My friend and a new friend accidentally took the old trail (I went ahead to Tigger) and it was horrible for them (possible rock slides). The site‘s GPX file hasn‘t been updated, so this still might happen. We saw another group do the same and warned them a little late. Just be sure to take the switch backs up, then the ridge to the summit. We tried to make the rock wall blocking the old trail more obvious and added a carin or two, but just be on the look out. Photo is the route from the top and it still looks like the old trail is the way to go, but don‘t!