The Friends of Outdoor Action Newsletter
Clio Hall, Princeton University, Princeton, NJ 08544
On the summit!
As the final celebratory event for Princeton's 250th Anniversary, the Outdoor Action Program and the 250th Office sponsored a climb of Mt. Princeton in Colorado. The Climb was a wonderful opportunity for Princetonians and friends from a range of classes to meet each other and share in an Adventure. The climbers ranged from Alan Waterman '39 to Jessica Kipp '99. The youngest participant was a 4-year-old. Whether it was on the trail, paddling together in a raft, or quiet conversations at meals, everyone came away excited about.
The idea for the program began two years ago at a Friends of Outdoor Action Board
meeting when alumni members were talking about what activity Outdoor Action could do to
celebrate the 250th. Rick Curtis '79, Director of Outdoor Action, developed the details of
the program with Dorothy Bedford '78, the chair of the 250th Anniversary Office. The high
altitude of the mountain (14,197 feet) meant that people needed to spend several days at a
high altitude acclimatizing in order to avoid altitude sickness problems. So in addition
Climb, scheduled for Friday, July 18 several days of optional activities were developed. On Wednesday, July 16 participants could try mountain biking, fly fishing, kayaking, rock climbing or horseback riding. On Thursday, July 17 we offered several day hikes near Mt. Shavano to help people acclimatize. Then on Saturday, July 19 (our climb rain date) there were two whitewater rafting trips on the Arkansas River.
Mt. Princeton is part of the Collegiate Range in the southern Rocky Mountains. Located near Nathrop, Colorado along the Arkansas River Valley, the peak rises majestically from the valley floor at 7,059 feet to 14,197 feet. Mt. Princeton rises by itself from the valley floor, unconnected to other peaks or ridgelines giving it it's stately appearance. The views from the trail on the way up and from the summit are spectacular.
The mountain was originally named Chalk Mountain for the "chalk cliff formations." By 1873 the name Mt. Princeton was in use and it is suspected that Henry Gannett of the Hayden geological survey renamed the mountain in keeping with the other names in the Collegiate Peaks. The first recorded climb to the summit was made by William Libbey (class year unknown), a Princeton student on a mapping field trip in Colorado on July 17, 1877, 120 years and one day before our historic 250th Anniversary climb. Libbey later became a professor of Geography at Princeton.
For 93 of the intrepid climbers, the Ponderosa Lodge was our "home on the
range" for five days. The rustic lodge provided us with bunkmates and great
opportunities for meeting new friends. We learned to live
with or joke about the food. Other folks stayed at the Mt. Princeton Hot Springs Inn or other local accommodations.
The Climb began in the cool morning hours before dawn, 5:30 AM at the trailhead parking lot at the Frontier Ranch Camp. In order to keep track of the over 200 people on the mountain, we set up a series of checkpoints staffed by student Outdoor Action leaders and guides from American Adventure Expeditions. After signing in at the first checkpoint, hikers settled into their own paces on the 4-mile hike along the road.
Sunrise on Mt. Princeton - Janine Pisani '92 and Brian Rosborough `62
At the first major switchback along the trail, Jeremy Archer '98, an OA leader and Wilderness EMT ran a blister station to help anyone who might be having foot problems early on. People continued up to Checkpoint 2 at the Radio Towers (10,820 feet) where Katy Siquig '99 checked them through. Melissa Lockman '97 was the last hiker up the mountain keeping track of those ahead. People continued up to treeline at 11,820 feet and Checkpoint 3 where Rick Curtis '79 checked people through and the hikers left the dirt road for the trail. At this point the trail climbs up over what became known as "the grassy knoll" with views out to the north slope of the mountain and the summit. Jeremy Archer '98 and Josh Roman '97 were watching people on the mountain with binoculars from Checkpoint 3A.
After a 1/3 mile the trail moves out across a long talus slope of 2-3 foot boulders. This continues for about 2 miles until the trail stops. Shortly before this, at Checkpoint 4 (about 13,000 feet), Jessica Kipp '99 headed people up the unmarked scree slope in a difficult scramble up 200 vertical feet to the ridgelin.
Josh Roman '97 and Jeremy Archer '98 at Checkpoint 3A
From here people continued west along the ridge to the summit. All told 73 Princetonians, family and friends reached the summit. Dozens of others were within a few hundred feet when we gave word that it was time to turn back because of the weather.
Heading Back down the ridge.
We began the day with clear blue sky. However, the weather pattern from the previous
two days had resulted in the development of afternoon thunderstorms, a significant hazard
for anyone who might be on the ridgeline or summit. Consultation with the National Weather
Service Office at Peterson Air Force Base showed the same pattern for July 18. At 7:30 AM,
clouds began to develop indicating lots of moisture in the air. We kept in constant
contact with Eric, the guide from American Adventure Expeditions who was on the summit. He
indicated that significant cervical cloud development was taking place just west of the
summit. So at 10:30 AM we instructed climbers that we would not allow people to climb
higher. People turned around and began the hike back down the mountain. Although some
people were disappointed about not getting to the sum
mit, people understood the need for safety. Later that afternoon the storm finally broke over the mountain with a sudden downpour of heavy rain, high winds, and lightning strikes on the summit.
Safety was of paramount importance during the climb. The checkpoints, trained OA Leaders and guides, radios, first aid kits and emergency vehicles were all setup to make sure that we had ample resources in case of any problems. On the way back down the north slope trail, one alum fell when his trekking pole slipped on a loose rock. People immediately rushed to his aid to stabilize him while the emergency team, Jeremy Archer '98 and Josh Roman '97 headed to the scene. Because of the fall and the possibility for a neck or back injury, it was determined that the patient needed to be evacuated on a backboard. Other rescuers brought up the backboard from Checkpoint 3. A group of 18 dedicated alumni including a number of former OA leaders hiked the patient 1 1/2 miles out on the litter over the rocky north slope trail to the truck waiting on the road. The group, assisted by a U.S. Forest Service Ranger did a superb job of handling the evacuation and keeping the patient's spirits up. He was transferred over to local EMT's and driven off the mountain. Thankfully he had no significant injuries only bruises and lacerations. Everyone who participated deserves a special round of thanks for their efforts.
After the climb, people were shuttled down the hill to the Mt. Princeton Hot Springs Lodge where they indulged tired muscles in the 105-degree hot spring pools. Afterwards the group of 200+ packed together for a western barbecue. For some this was the end of the Adventure, for others the rapids of the Arkansas River were still to come.
The Brown's Canyon section of the Arkansas River is a Class II - III stretch of whitewater. Over 80 alums spent Saturday, July 18 either on a half day or a full day rafting trip through the gorge. Rick Curtis '79 tagged along on the full day trip in a kayak. Other folks took the day to relax or tour the area while three intrepid climbers who hadn't summitted the day before (Bill Plonk '83, Melissa Lockman '97 and Katy Siquig '99) headed back up Mt. Princeton. Leaving at 4:30 AM they drove the section that they had hiked the day before and were able to reach the summit at 8:30 AM.
Whitewater rafting in Brown's Canyon
One of the other goals of the Climb was to raise funds for the Community Service Fund Drive on campus which supports the major campus community service organizations, Community House, The Princeton Blairstown Center, and the Student Volunteers Council. Thanks to the generous contributions of participants on the climb and from the Princeton Club of Chicago, we have raised $2,273. Donation information is available at www.princeton.edu/~oa/mtpu/donate.html
Based on the tremendous success of this program it is clear that Outdoor Action will offer Mt. Princeton climbs in the future. One idea is to combine the climb with some trail restoration work as part of a volunteer effort with the US Forest Service. For those who climbed up the trail-less scree slope you know how much that section needs a developed trail. The Forest Service is working to improve the conditions on the mountain both for safer travel and to reduce the impact of hikers traveling willy-nilly up the scree which causes damage to fragile alpine vegetation and leads to erosion. We hope that Princeton and Outdoor Action can establish a working partnership with the Forest Service to help protect Mt. Princeton for generations to come.
Outdoor Action will also continue to offer outdoor programs for alumni and their families as we have since 1985. This particular trip was incredibly successful; in bringing a range of Princetonians together in part because we were able to keep the cost reasonable and offer a rustic lodging option. Another special part of the program is that it brought current Princeton students together with alumni. We will continue to look for other similar venues and hope that you can join us.
For the latest information about what is happening with OA jump to the OA Web Site (www.princeton.edu/~oa/). You can check out more pictures and maps of the Mt. Princeton Climb at www.princeton.edu/~oa/mtpu/climb.html
In order to plan OA's future development, the Friends of OA board is expanding. The full board will meet twice a year in October and in June. We have also established three sub-committees to work on specific projects.
25th Anniversary Committee - to plan celebrations and events for OA's 25th starting in June 1998.
Program Committee - work to develop OA's on-campus programs and alumni activ9ities.
Development Committe - work to expand OA's endowment and build for the next 25 years!
If you are interested in joining a dedicated group of OA Princetonians, please let us
know on your membership renewal or contact Rick at the OA Office
Here's the latest on what's happening to OA Alums out there in the hinterlands. Here's the Mt. Princeton OA Leader contingent:
Warren Elmer '69 Susan Ipri Brown '93
Ed Seliga '75 Heather Pollack Batt '95
Rick Curtis '79 Josh Hardt '95
Kabir Mahadeva '81 Greg Harlan '95
Peter Ellis '83 Ian Blasco '96
Bill Plonk '83 Melissa Lockman '97
Lawrence Friedl '88 Jeremy Archer '98
Brian Ascher '89 Andrew Burke '98
Matt Blumberg '92 Jess Kipp '99
Janine Pisani '92 Katy Siquig '99
John Schulz '61 is an active hiker on Mt. Tamalpais in California. He is the treasurer of the Mt. Tam Interpretive Association, which supports the Mt. Tam State Park and offers hikes and other activities on the mountain.
Bill Isherwood '63 reports that last summer he led a sea kayaking trip out of Pond Inlet on the north coast of Baffin Island, Northwest Territories. He also climbed his 60th 14,000 foot peak in the continental U.S. Only 8 more to go!
Marvin Swartz '63 is spending this summer as the coordinator for hikes from the Appalachian Mountain Club's Cold River Camp in Chatham, NH.
OA Leaders Ron Munger '79 and Julie Mott '85 were married in Washington, DC in June. Ron works for the Nature Conservancy in San Francisco and Julie teaches in Santa Cruz.
Kate Raisz '80 is the producer of the new PBS television series on wilderness travel, "Anyplace Wild," which debuted in June. Check your local PBS affiliate for dates and times or look in Backpacker Magazine for show details.
Deborah Katz '89 is happily taking hiking, camping, and exploring trips from her home base in Arlington, VA. Trips have included hikes in northern Virginia, Utah, and Arizona. Most of her western trips have been with the Sierra Club.
Doug Brown '91 is now working for Project Adventure in Massachusetts doing outdoor experiential education. Before that he worked for Outward Bound for seven years.
Anne Sherwood '92 is living in Bozeman, MT where she is working as a freelance photographer. A lot of her work focuses on adventure travel. She and her camera have traveled to the summit of Grand Teton, Granite Peak (Montana's highest), the Ruth Glacier on Denali, and skiing at 17,500 feet in Bolivia. She says call if anyone is near Bozeman and needs a guide.
Sarah Prager '93 finished her first year in medical school in Dallas, TX. This summer she is back working for NOLS.
Sonia Helmy '94 is in medical school in Florida. Last summer she and Perry Clarke '93 were rock climbing in Germany including a climb of the Alpspitz.
Greg Harlan '95 is a medical student at USC in Los Angles, CA. He and a friend started "Probe and Compass," a wilderness adventure program for medical school students "in honor of OA and the great experiences it provided me." They ran their first "frosh" trip with 40 incoming medical students and it was a huge success.
Torrey MacMillan '96 won the women's division of the Sea to Summit Triathalon in New Hampshire. The race includes a 12 mile paddle, 90 mile bike race, and 10 mile run up to the summit of Mt. Washington. Torrey is working at the Chewonki Foundation in Maine.