Just when I thought the high mountains were getting a little too frosty with snow and the season had shut its doors on me, a brief reprieve in the weather has allowed a perfect time for some climbs. With the resorts blowing snow and everyone getting ready for winter, it was easy for me to turn my attention to that. However, I noticed that Buena Vista is forecasted to have sunny days with little to no wind and temperatures in the high 60’s this weekend–a perfect opportunity to sneak in a couple more climbs. I have decided to finish off the collegiate mountains with Princeton, Antero, and Yale.
Starting Friday with a short steep climb of Mt. Princeton, the 6.5 mile climb will be steady climbing with promising views. Originally called the Chalk Mountain for its crumbling quartz bluffs, it was renamed in 1873 when surveyors renamed it for the prestigious Princeton University.
After a night camping under the stars, I’ll be tackling the long and grueling Mt. Antero. The 16 mile hike will take me up the final climb of the “Indian Mountains” which included Mt. Shavano and Tabaguache Peak. Mt. Antero was named for the peace-keeping chief of the Utah-based Uintah band of Utes. Antero was sometimes called Graceful Walker or Chief White Eye due to blindness in one eye. This route will take me along the gulch on winding steady paths before hitting the ridge with steep switchbacks and climbs. With no other peaks in the immediate vicinity, this summit will provide a great view of the entire Collegiate Peak range as well as the town of Buena Vista, Colorado.
Finally, I will be spending my Sunday to climb the final peak in the collegiate series, Mt. Yale. The first team to survey the mountain in 1869 consisted of Professor Josiah D. Whitney and all six students in the first graduating class of the Harvard School of Mines, of which Whitney was the head. In his survey report, Whitney named the mountain “Mt. Yale” after the university from which he had graduated 30 years earlier. Yale was the first of the Collegiate Peaks to be named. As I start the 10 mile hike I should be able to see the peak from the very beginning and have a great view as I climb the ridge to the summit. It will be a great way to cap off an unexpected weekend of climbing, hiking, and camping before the big snows come and the resorts open for the winter.