MT. ANTERO 14,269' AND MT. PRINCETON 14,197'
30 July 2015
While gorgeous and impressive in absolute terms, I can say with certainty that Antero was not my favorite 14er. (Understatement; it’s my least favorite so far.) There is a mine about 500 vertical feet from the summit, and the “trail” is a road walk all the way to that point. Gah, it would be so convenient to have a little 4×4 rig. My Camry is a far cry from what a road like that demands, and it means longer summit bids on many, many of the 14er peaks. Antero is one of the most egregious offenders. This peak was definitely more about checking a box than it was about enjoying the climb. Check; done.
I was excited to see a large band of about 20 mountain goats as I neared the final summit pitch. They’re quite intimidating in the dark, especially seeing that there were many yearlings among them. I imagine they couldn’t see very well with the bright beam of my headlamp in their eyes. I didn’t wanna spook them, so I gave a wide berth and climbed on to the summit.
When I finally got back to my car around 830a, I zipped over to the Mt. Princeton trailhead. Two independent peaks in a day, my most ambitious 14er conquest yet. And I’m feeling it, hard. My legs were burning as I ascended the standard route on Princeton. I was stopping every 15-20 paces just to rest my weary body. When I reached the saddle, I even laid down for a 30-minute power nap. During that same break, with nearly a thousand vertical remaining, I ate my last bar. I then proceeded to bonk the worst I ever have on a 14er. My body was simply running on empty, and I was out of gas, so I did something that I loathe doing. I’m an inherently independent person, so it was difficult for me to stop three perfect strangers and ask for food. I was elated when they generously parted with a pack of crackers, a bag of M&Ms, a handful of GORP and a granola bar. I’m filled with gratitude even now. Folks who hike and backpack collectively make up one of the most generous communities I’ve ever experienced. And playful. As I passed them later on my way down, one of them jokingly asked if I could spare some water. “I could,” I replied with a smile and wished them well as I carried on.
Princeton was my last peak in the Sawatch Range, and to mark that accomplishment, I topped out at 130p, the latest I ever have on a fourteener. It was plain good fortune that the weather held out so long today. Lovely trek, despite my struggles. Not my best performance, though to be fair it was quite an itinerary, especially considering how far out of shape I am. Nevertheless: check, done.
All told, I hiked from 230a-330p, including a less than stellar 4.5 hour, 6.5 mile ascent on Princeton. For my effort, I covered almost 30 miles and over 10,500 vertical feet. I’m spent; my legs are shot. And tomorrow, I aim to do 5 more, a one and done of the entire Mosquito Range. Guess I better get some sleep. Sherman first thing to kick it off.