Maxwell Gulch

Page Type Page Type: Route
Location Lat/Lon: 38.74940°N / 106.2419°W
Additional Information Route Type: Hike
Additional Information Time Required: A long day
Additional Information Difficulty: Class 2
Sign the Climber's Log


This is a long approach, and would normally be used in combination with Yale (and even then you might want to drive between them instead). Start from the Avalanche Gulch trailhead, which is 9 miles west of Buena Vista on Chaffe Co. 306 (paved). From here, hike 8 miles south on the CO trail (flat and gradual uphill). You can also reduce the hike by 2 miles by starting where the CO trail crosses Co. 344 (1/4 mi. S on dirt from 306) or Co. 343 (2 mi. SW on rough dirt from 306).

You can also reach Maxwell Gulch by hiking N 3 miles from the CO trailhead on Co. 322. This is the same road that goes to the normal east ridge route that most people climb.

Route Description

The climb starts at Maxwell Gulch, which is between the two NE ridges of Princeton on the CO trail at 9800 ft. There is a steep, narrow abandoned jeep road climbing SW on the north side of the drainage. Climb this to 10,600 ft. where the trees clear and the road disappears. If you plan to descend the same way, look back so you can find this spot on the return.

Cross the basin upward to the left, toward the obvious shoulder of the NE ridge (the larger, southern ridge) at about 11,800 ft. Do not go too high in the basin or you will have to climb very steep, loose rocks. Instead, climb the shoulder on steep, loose rocks for about 100 ft. and then onto the grassy ridge where the footing is better. Climb steeply SW. There is a false summit at about 13,800 ft, after which you traverse a rocky ridge SW to the true summit.

Essential Gear

Standard hiking stuff (in the summer). There is water in Maxwell Gulch.

Miscellaneous Info

If you have information about this route that doesn't pertain to any of the other sections, please add it here.

Additions and CorrectionsPost an Addition or Correction

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steve simmons

steve simmons - Dec 10, 2002 4:36 pm - Hasn't voted

Route Comment

continue on up into grouse canyon going north towards the northern canyon wall, past point 13,971 which towers overhead to your right, and sramble up a steep talus chute to your right, which appears to be a natural vantage point to point 13,971's ridge. Upon reaching the summit ridge, just below and north of point 13,971, negotiate the ridge to just below point 13,971, turn east and continue on princeton's main western summit ridge to princeton's summit. This works well if you come out of treeline to far north in grouse canyon and prevents you from having to backtrack south in the canyon before climbing to point 13,971.
GOD bless! Praise JESUS!!!!!!!!!!

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