Antero, Mount


elevation: 4,349 m.  height gain: 1,585 m.
area: Buena Vista, Colorado, USA
map USGS 1:24,000 Mount Antero, CO
         38106F2
2017-Mar-28


Ref: 14ers.com
early start


I left at 2 AM to beat incoming snow and lightning.
Scramble: RT 10.5; 6.25 up. Following a long arduous trip on Mount Princeton, Tim suggested I take it easy and pace myself; we had another big trip planned for the weekend. I spent two days resting before tackling Mount Antero which is a 26 kilometer schlep this time of the year. The weather was changing and the forecast was dismal with 90% chance of snow starting during the night and T-storms around noon, the odds were stacked against me... During the sunny preceding day, I checked the weather relentlessly; I was disappointed that I hadn't gone. I guess this made me keener to succeed! I decided to sleep at the trailhead and leave the truck at 2 AM, the night sky was starry and I didn't want to miss out on mileage without snowfall. Travel was fast on the access road, gotta say I hustled to make it to the summer trailhead. I continued on the road but it got tougher to discern as I progressed towards treeline because of abundant snow coverage; luckily for me, I was able to pick up old drifted-in tracks. At some point, I knew I was nearing the switchbacks but with limited visibility in total darkness, I had to pull out my GPS to confirm. Happy with my position, I booted up a steep talus slope and stumbled onto a switchback. I decided to follow the road given it was still pitch dark. I encountered some of the toughest conditions of the day by doing so, some sections were completely covered by steep firm snow with unfavourable runouts; in places, I opted to shortcut the switchbacks on the snow-covered talus as it was the lesser of two evils. Eventually dawn was upon me and I was able to scope out better travel and an alternate descent in one of the very long slide path that is transected by the road. Weather was unsettled by now and both Point 13800 and Antero were engulfed in low cloud, I worried about the predicted storm. At the top of the switchbacks, I carried on to the south-western saddle; I left the road and ascended Point 13800 just south of Antero. As I climbed, the sun peered through the multiple layers of cloud and the ceiling rose enough for me to see Antero. With no hesitation, I dipped down to the saddle and continued along the interesting summit ridge; I then climbed the final pitch to the summit on firm snow. I couldn't believe it, I had made it to the top despite all odds! My summit stay was brief but the absence of wind made it comfortable. Although the view was reduced, I was treated to a fantastic display of cloud formations with the occasional glimpse of sun; the scenery was incredibly textured and full of mood. I called Tim, my emergency contact, and took pictures before backtracking. After going down the summit ridge, I decided to follow the road on the east side of Point 13800 back to the switchbacks. At the switchbacks, I called Tim again to let him know I was descending all the way to treeline via a spectacular avalanche path. The descent was painless and fast, I called again once I was clear of all potential hazard. After a well-deserved break, it started snowing hard. I lollygagged back to the truck feeling quite contempt, this was a bold solo ascent!





i can see now

Now that it's light, I can see the terrain I've travelled.

atop point 13800

Atop Point 13800 with Mount Antero beyond.

sun peering through

The sun is peering through a hole in the dark cloudcover.

looking back


Looking back.


summit ridge


Summit ridge.


at the saddle


The top of the road that circumvents Point 13800 on its east side.


spectacular scenery


The sun and the clouds create spectacular scenery.


good travel


Good travel on the ridge.


multi-layered clouds


More moody multi-layered clouds.


no wind at the top


No wind and no storm yet, this was a bold solo ascent!


looking south


Looking over the summit ridge and Point 13800.


western aspect


Western aspect and Baldwin Gulch.


selfie


Selfie under momentary sunshine.


heading back down


Heading back down.


sights to die for


Todays clouds engulfing the mountains offer sights to die for.


cronin peak


Centennial 13er Cronin Peak to the south-west.


stellar contrast


Stellar contrast with the sunlit slope and the dark background.


walking into the clouds


Walking into the cloud.


road around point 13800


Taking the road around Point 13800 for my return.


scenery stirs my emotions


Despite the obscured views, this scenery deeply stirs my emotions.


speedy descent


I chose this gully for a speedy descent.


blue sky before the storm


A bit of blue sky before the storm.


baldwin gulch


Back in Baldwin Gulch.


ski pole art


Ski pole art.


mount princeton


Mount Princeton has been shrouded all day.
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