5.25.2006

Prince of the road

This weekend I was on my own, Tracy was off climbing crazy looking rock towers in the desert near Moab. I decided the best thing to do was to climb a peak that she had already done. Saturday I had some errands to take care of, so I went for Mt Princeton on Sunday. The peak is 14,197' and was my 25th fourteener summited. I was planning on waking up at 5am, which is early enough, but when I woke up in the middle of the night and saw that it was 3am and I couldn't get back to sleep, I decided to head out. I ended up making it to the trailhead at 5am, and despite the fact that the sun hadn't come up yet, there was enough light to start my hike without a headlamp. About 45 minutes later the sun was up and I was almost to the radio towers on the road. Typically people start from the radio towers, which are at 10,800' and 3 miles above the start of the 4wd Mt Princeton Road. I wanted to get in some extra hiking to serve as some Rainier training so I started at the bottom of the road, 8,900' above sea level. I made good time and in another half hour I was at the part of the road where the hiking trail starts. The trail first cut across some tundra slopes before then crossing talus slopes below the 13,300' false summit of Princeton known as "Tigger". The school's mascot is a tiger and that is where this name comes from. For the most part there was no snow, but a couple of easy to cross snowfields blocked the trail along this stretch. After that I started the climb up to the ridge and made the ridge at around 13,400'. From here is is 800' of climbing on the ridge and all of it was snow free. I made it to the top at about 8.30, only 3 1/2 hours to climb 5,300' of elevation and nearly 6 1/2 miles. I stayed up there for about 20 minutes snacking and taking pictures before heading back down the ridge. On the way down I stopped off at "Tigger" to get some cool photos of Princeton's east ridge before dropping back down to the trail. At this point there were two people coming up, the first people I had seen all day. I introduced myself as the crazy guy who parked at the bottom and told them the rest of the way was mostly snow free. Later on I saw two more climbers back on the road. All of the people I saw had parked at the radio towers and got a much later start than I did. I continued the long slog down the road, which after the towers was very tiring. I should have parked up higher as well, but the extra training was a good thing. I got back to the car at 11.45, so I managed to do the entire 13 mile round trip in under 7 hours, quite the morning! The rest of the day I spent relaxing at my house!

This week I tried to go rock climbing on Monday but we got rained out. We did manage to go after work on Wednesday though. It was fun, it was a different place than we usually go. The one thing I didn't like is that the slopes at the bottom of the rock are sort of steep and loose dirt that slope sideways along the rock. This makes it a little hard to belay someone because you aren't exactly on the best surface. Its much nicer to have a level solid surface at the bottom. Hopefully next week we will be able to get back up there again!