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Making mistakes on Princeton

Have an interesting or epic climbing story? Post it here.
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Re: Making mistakes on Princeton

Postby CO Native » Tue Dec 11, 2012 9:46 pm

KentonB wrote:Has anyone had a GOOD experience on Princeton???

Yes, I hiked that peak with a beautiful woman a few days after meeting her. I married her a year later. It's been almost 15 years since that hike and we've traveled many more of life's trails together. Lord willing there will be many more to come.

am&me (2) (800x549).jpg
am&me (2) (800x549).jpg (316.96 KiB) Viewed 1550 times
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Re: Making mistakes on Princeton

Postby KentonB » Tue Dec 11, 2012 11:07 pm

Bill and CO Native,

Whew. You've restored my faith in Princeton!

And CO Native... Lovin' the jean shorts. I wore a pair just like that on my first 14er! ... quite a few years ago. ;-) Great pic though, and congrats on 15 years!

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Re: Making mistakes on Princeton

Postby GeezerClimber » Wed Dec 12, 2012 9:27 am

CO Native wrote:
KentonB wrote:Has anyone had a GOOD experience on Princeton???

Yes, I hiked that peak with a beautiful woman a few days after meeting her. I married her a year later. It's been almost 15 years since that hike and we've traveled many more of life's trails together. Lord willing there will be many more to come.

am&me (2) (800x549).jpg


My wife and I have an almost identical photo taken in 1991 that is one of our favorites. We were dating at the time and it was during our first big vacation together. Since it is not digital, I can't post it. I have climbed it nine times and plan to climb it once a year until I can't. Princeton is my sentimental favorite though not my favorite climb. I have many great memories.

Dave

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Re: Making mistakes on Princeton

Postby peter303 » Wed Dec 12, 2012 9:28 am

JGarrison wrote:Guilty! I was hiking with a friend of mine on Sunday, and.. no kidding, this was the conversation: "Did you bring your GPS? What if we get lost?" Answer from my now ex-hiking partner: "We can't get lost, I have my phone."


My niece's car GPS died one morning and she had to take the day off because she didnt know how to get to work. She works as a M.D. at a hospital.

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Re: Making mistakes on Princeton

Postby DeucesWild » Wed Dec 12, 2012 9:29 am

Aug_Dog wrote:I'm not one to buy into that stuff too much, but I do wonder about that day ... I swore I will never hike that mountain again. Oh, also, I recall a group taking a really stupid route down the mountain, parallel to a remaining snow field down the steepest part of the mountain. We couldn't figure out why anyone would descend that route. It was so strange. I think they ended up getting lost. It kind of seemed to me like the holy Holy Cross Bermuda Triangle thing. The damn trail is RIGHT THERE AND IT'S NOT HARD!

Crazy mountain.


Yes! Savage Mountain: Princeton, the Sawatch Mountain of Death.

I can't wait for the movie.
Snowflakes, Uber Alles!

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Re: Making mistakes on Princeton

Postby scootmanjones » Thu Dec 13, 2012 12:43 pm

Thanks everyone for the great advice. I'm going to take these lessons with me going forward:

1) Stay together. After all, we decided to go hiking with each other to be in each other's company. Almost all of our problems could have been prevented had we done this one simple thing.
2) No short-cuts. Or least talk about a short-cut together and make certain you have as much beta on the short-cut as you do on your main route.
3) Make sure everyone in your party has the necessary maps/directions/compass to get up and down on their own. You can't just show up and say, "I didn't even read up on this hike. I'll just follow Scott and I'll be fine."
4) Don't hurry just to keep up with others in your party. That is when mistakes happen. Go at your own pace.
5) Be mindful that experience can breed complacency. We never would have separated or taken a short-cut if this was our 3rd 14er. But as soon as you start to think you have a little experience or that this mountain shouldn't be that tough, it is easy for bad decisions to creep into your decision making.

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Re: Making mistakes on Princeton

Postby HarknessHooligans » Thu Dec 13, 2012 5:10 pm

Me and Princeton aren't friends either. I hiked this past June, started early, had a beautiful blue bird day, summited, then about 5 minutes after leaving the summit an electrical storm rolled in. It came out of no where and it was around 10am. We ran down the entire mountain (well, I guess we didn't really run, but we went as fast as you can go on that talus crap without trying to put yourself at risk for rolling an ankle. I heard the rocks buzzing on the ridge and we decided it was best just to descend lower and traverse across our own path to avoid the lightening. And of course, I ended up stepping on a loose rock that sent me doing a couple ungraceful cartwheel/somersaults down the mountain. I dont really know how my head did not hit a rock because I fell head first. I did not break anything and that fall could have gone so much worse. I came out of that with a bruise on my thigh as big as my head. I dont hate Princeton, but its not one I will pry return to. I don't think I would say its haunted....but it definitely is completely exposed and you can't see what weather is rolling in until you are basically on top of the peak. My experience on Princeton definitely scared me. Lightening is not something you wanna mess with. I couldn't believe all the people that continues to hike up the peak as we were running down saying there were three lightening strikes. Crazy people tempting fate!

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Re: Making mistakes on Princeton

Postby JenGa » Thu Dec 13, 2012 8:10 pm

I had a great hike up Princeton, hiked down just fine, then turned my ankle walking down the dirt road to my car. I had to limp two miles in a lot of pain. The best part was when a jeep full of guys passed me, waved and kept driving. If only I had my phone, I could have used to splint my ankle for the last mile :)

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Re: Making mistakes on Princeton

Postby CORed » Fri Dec 14, 2012 3:29 pm

scootmanjones wrote:Thanks everyone for the great advice. I'm going to take these lessons with me going forward:

1) Stay together. After all, we decided to go hiking with each other to be in each other's company. Almost all of our problems could have been prevented had we done this one simple thing.
2) No short-cuts. Or least talk about a short-cut together and make certain you have as much beta on the short-cut as you do on your main route.
3) Make sure everyone in your party has the necessary maps/directions/compass to get up and down on their own. You can't just show up and say, "I didn't even read up on this hike. I'll just follow Scott and I'll be fine."
4) Don't hurry just to keep up with others in your party. That is when mistakes happen. Go at your own pace.
5) Be mindful that experience can breed complacency. We never would have separated or taken a short-cut if this was our 3rd 14er. But as soon as you start to think you have a little experience or that this mountain shouldn't be that tough, it is easy for bad decisions to creep into your decision making.


Taking unplanned descent routes can be risky. Sometime in the '80's, I climbed Mt. Powell with a friend. We ascended the standard route from Piney Lake. From the summit we walked over to the the subpeak marked 13,534 on the Mt. Powell 7.5' topo. From there, we saw what appeared to be a continuous grassy slope leading down to the valley west of Powell that would lead us back to the basin below Powell and 'C' from where we could retrace our ascent route the rest of the way. Much to our chagrin, after descending 1,000 feet or more down this "continuous" slope, we saw that there was a cliff band about 200 ft. high in in the middle of the apparently easy descent route that was completely invisible from above. We lucked out and found a fairly easy (class 2+ - 3) ramp through the cliff band, and made it back ok. It actually turned out to be a pretty cool route, but it was a sick feeling realizing that, if we had to reclimb and go back down the standard route, there was no way in hell we were going to make it off the mountain before dark. We might have been able to make timberline and spend the night feeding a fire, but if not, it would have been a very long, cold night.

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Re: Making mistakes on Princeton

Postby smoove » Fri Dec 14, 2012 4:29 pm

Ok, I will share my Princeton mistakes (or just fun story) story. It was my third 14er back in July 2003. My cousin had some ultrarunning experience and wanted to try the Nolans 14. He contacted them to ask what kind of experience they were looking for. He was told that the Southwest Ridge from Grouse Canyon trail head would be a good testing ground. So we looked at Roach's description and headed out. No compass or map (other than in Roach's book); no GPS.

Nice, sunny day (although I'm sure we didn't even bother to check the forecast). Good alpine start at 8:45 am. We almost immediately lost "the trail" but just kept going up the ridiculously steep slope until, a good 5 hours later, we came upon the ridge. With only Elbert and Massive under our belts so far, the long, narrow, exposed ridge looked . . . daunting. It was getting a bit cloudy but we weren't too concerned (because we were dumb). Naturally, we had no rain gear (we did luck out--no rain or lightning). Hell, all I had were shorts and a cotton t-shirt.

The more used to the exposure we got, the easier the ridge became. Some scrambling and a little route-finding and we finally made the summit--at 4:45 pm. Now we faced the decision of whether to descend back down the same way, with no headlamps or any form of illumination, naturally. I had my heavy Roach book with me and checked out the standard route, and how far the THs were from each other. We decided it was safer to descend via the standard route and then hoof it (hopefully hitch a ride) back to the Grouse Canyon TH. I don't think THAT was a mistake. We were thrilled to discover how easy going the standard route was after hours of stress! We ran out of water and food not too long after summiting. Had no water filter/purification of course. Ran into some campers that gave us some water!

At one point down the trail we were able to get cell coverage and I had the brilliant idea of calling a great friend to drive all the way to BV from Denver and to the TH to transport us to the other TH. I figured it would save us 2 1/2 hours of walking and I would make it worth his while. He rationally declined. So I called another great friend who was on a double date with his wife and another couple. All four of them instantly (crazily) agreed to the adventure! I gave him directions and they headed out. We got down to the standard TH around 10:15 pm.

I called my friend and discovered his car had suffered mechanical problems and they were stuck in Fairplay. (They somehow missed that they needed to take 470 to 285. So they headed west on 70 but knew they needed to get to 285. My friend's wife pointed out Guanella Pass. At that time it wasn't paved and was in fact quite rough in spots. He hit a rock and busted the oil pan on his VW Passat. Just past Grant, all the warning lights started flashing. Then tow truck.)

Then my phone died. Said to my cousin, "Well, let's start walking." Over an hour later, a friendly sherriff's deputy picked us up and got us back to our car at 12:30 am. Drove to Fairplay, bought prepaid phone card, called friend, rescued them, drove back to Denver, then drove them back to Greeley. Then rented trailer next day, drove back to Fairplay, towed Passat back to Greeley.

Ah the memories.

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Re: Making mistakes on Princeton

Postby GeezerClimber » Sat Dec 15, 2012 10:44 am

Sounds like a lot of lessons have been learned on Princeton. Maybe it should be renamed "Professor Peak".

Dave

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Re: Making mistakes on Princeton

Postby KentonB » Sat Dec 15, 2012 3:47 pm

GeezerClimber wrote:Sounds like a lot of lessons have been learned on Princeton. Maybe it should be renamed "Professor Peak".


+1...

Or maybe "Schooled Peak"?

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