cloudhiking - maps and adventure guides

Site Links


Contact Us









Friends' Links

Appalachia & Beyond

Family Wilds


Marking My Territory

Outcast Hikers


486 Lost on Princeton 2011-09-29

Mount Rinceton

Buena Vista sits high in the Arkansas Valley of Colorado. Fourteen thousand foot mountains rise above the small town to the east and west and beckon to be climbed. None of the mountains is more dominant that Mount Princeton. It rises straight from the valley floor to 14,197 feet. It is a magnificent peak.

Mount Princeton is a popular climb because from the Valley it is awe inspiring, yet it is a relatively easy climb. (In my opinion all of the 14,000 foot mountains are hard, just some are harder than others.) A 4wd road is passable to 11,000 foot and greatly shortens the climb. Therefore, the mountain is often climbed .

As reported in the Mountain Mail, the newspaper for Salida, CO:

A man started to climb Mount Princeton in the early evening alone. He drove the road to one of the upper parking areas and began his hike. Late in the evening he called 911 and said, "I'm cold and lost, come get me."

It was so late that the rescue was delayed until morning. The hiker had an electronic tracker with him. The Sheriff Department's personnel followed his tracks, lots of them, as he kept moving throughout the night.

The next morning he met hikers on the trail, whom he told, "Tell search and rescue I don't need them anymore, I'm fine."

The Search and Rescue team found him on the trail and led him back to his vehicle.

The Sheriff said, "It was more of an odd situation than a search and rescue," he said.

Mountain Mail

I am glad that the man was found safe and was not injured. He did however made some bad decisions.

So for a few notes on our explorer's actions ...

Only experienced mountaineers should begin a climb at dusk. Traveling by night is difficult, especially when the trail is hard to follow.

Once you call 911 and give your position, unless the 911 operator tells you to move, then stay put. Activating an electronic tracker is the same as giving your position.

However, if you are in an unsafe area, then move to a safer area, but then hunker down and wait on the calvary to arrive (rescue team).

If you are forced to move from your original area, stay as close to the original spot as possible. Monitor the area for any signs of rescuers.

After giving the rescuers enough time to arrive at your location, could be hours or days, then begin to give distress signals to help the searchers to find you. Good signals are three blasts on a whistle, repeat the signal every ten minutes, and shining your flashlight in the night sky. Some headlamps have a strobe function which is very handy. In the day time use a reflector or mirror as a signal (instead of the light).

Put on all your clothes to stay warm and dry. Sit on your pack to insulate you from the ground. If you need to, do sit-ups or run in place to stay warm.

Conserve your food and water. You do not know how long you will have to wait for the rescue team to arrive.

Smile and thank the rescuers. The rescuers risked their lives (and maybe their own time, if they were volunteers) to find you.

As soon as possible, make a donation to the Search and Rescue team and once again say thanks.

Happy Princeton trails


Name (required):

Comment (required):

Please Introduce Secure Code: