My first weekend after moving to Colorado Springs from Ottawa, Canada, I had to have at my first fourteener.

Mt Princeton seemed like an easy one--also relatively close.

Mt Princeton
Princeton Approach
Heading west from US286 on County Road 162, turning right at the Mount Princeton Hot Springs Inn, after passing a Young life Camp, I came on a big sign proclaiming "Mt Princeton trailhead" and a parking lot.

I parked there, but soon realized I could have driven at least 3 miles up the road to a set of antennas.

Sam, the wolfdog and I ran up the lower road. With no cars or signs of people I let Sam off his leash. My mistake. Shortly afterwards a jeep went by and Sam took off following it up the road. He continued following the jeep to the end of the road, and I didn't find him until 45 minutes later, close to where the trail leaves the road for the final climb to the summit.

In the photo at right you can barely make out the trail switchbacking up to the ridge.

Trail to Princeton summit
The climb was easy enough, but I was about to find out why you want to be off the summit of a 14er before noon in the summer.

Thunder began reverberating from the west, as climbers streamed past me vacating the mountain. I pressed on as it began to rain, then hail, then snow! Big fat flakes! I donned my running jacket, but my gloveless hands quickly became numb. I overtook another guy foolhardy enough to continue to the summit, and he took the photo at right before we beat a hasty retreat.

Princeton Summit

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