Peak(s):  Mt. Princeton  -  14,197 feet
Mt. Harvard  -  14,420 feet
Date Posted:  03/21/2021
Date Climbed:   08/15/2020
Author:  mikjik86
 Video Backpacking Colorado Collegiate Peak Wilderness/Mt. Princeton/Mt Harvard, August 2020.   

We backpacked Colorado's Collegiate Peak Wilderness, August 2020 bagging 14ers Mt. Princeton and Mt. Harvard along the way.
This was an awesome trip, during a crazy 2020! Come along for pizza, beer, hiking, big peaks, amazing scenery, camp comradery, and a fun group of guys.

This trip takes place in a smokey summer during a crazy, 2020.
I drove out from Denver Saturday August 15th, 2020 to meet my friends Dom and Jake in Buena Vista, Colorado. They had hiked Mt. Shavano and Tabeguache Peak the previous day and camped in the area.
We met up and drove to the Mt. Princeton 2WD parking lot where the guys hopped in my Mountaineer and we headed up the gnarly 4WD road.
This road for me was in the top 3 of roughest roads I have driven to reach a trailhead. There is parking along the side in the form of pull-ins and a few spots here and there along hairpin turns. The main lot people get to is at the radio towers, where a couple dozen cars can park. We drove past that lot and up the road further. This is where the road got the rougher, and I would not recommend anything less than a high clearance 4x4 vehicle.
We found a spot near 2 other vehicles above treeline just before the trail splits off from the road. The trail then crosses over the side of 13er Tigger Peak, climbs the ridge and continues up to the summit. The trail is rocky the entire time.
The summit views we great despite some haze in the surrounding valleys. A beer with a view was mandatory. We then headed back down the trail, drove the crappy road back to the 2WD parking lot to Doms vehicle.
We smashed some pizza from Elkhorn Pizza in town, the guys loaded their gear in the Mountaineer, and we headed up the road to the North Cottonwood Creek Trailhead with Mt. Harvard in our future for tomorrow.
We found a parking spot front and center at the large trailhead area. We hoisted packs, and hiked a few miles up in search of a great camp spot. We found a nice spot and had a great evening relaxing in the Horn Fork Basin.
Sunday morning we woke up, had breakfast, took it easy, and headed towards Mt. Harvard. The hike through the basin was beautiful. Mt. Columbia was off to the right as you make your way through the thinning trees, wildflowers, creek crossings, and talus fields.
The summit was fantastic with a lot of people, dogs, and views. The smoke was evident to the North yet the views South into the basin were phenomenal.
We headed down the mountain back to camp where we relaxed for a bit, broke camp, and hiked back down the the Mountaineer.
This trip was fantastic, and was my first "backpacking" trip of this crazy year. A great opportunity to get outside, and bag some peaks with some buds.



Comments or Questions
Sbenfield

Looks fun
03/23/2021 19:07
I enjoyed the video documentary!! Next time I‘m in BV I‘ll add that pizza spot to my list



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