| Mt. Antero
The weather forecast called for 40% chance of snow, mostly cloudy, and a tenth to a quarter of an inch of snow for Antero. The day before, I decided to go to bed at 6 p.m. in hopes of getting up by midnight. In spite of the large amounts of alcohol I drank, I ended falling asleep around 8ish. I bumped back the wake-up call to 2:30 and headed out around 3:30 (still a little bit drunk). About an hour into the drive, I realized that I couldn’t keep my eyes open and needed to pull over before I got into an accident. I parked in a church parking lot in Lake George and got about an hour of shut-eye.
Heading back out at 5:20, just as it was starting to get light, I was feeling much better and could now focus my eyes on the road.
Antero from the North East
I was able to drive up the jeep trail outside of Alpine to about 9600’ elevation before rough terrain and a snow patch stopped me. I started hiking the bare 4wd road at 7:15.
My Dynafit boots were in the shop for adjustments so I was in my Endorphin/Shuksan/Freeride set up. It was apparent how much heavier this setup was compared with my Dynafit set up. Nonetheless, I was still able to hike the trail at about 1000’ vertical/hour. I was hoping to make the summit in four hours, but ultimately that did not happen.
I lost a little bit of time at the creek crossing at the summer trailhead at 10 800’. There were a series of stones that one could hop to cross the creek, but they were covered in ice, and I did not want to risk slipping on the ice and getting soaked. So, I decided to find another crossing. Heading up stream, the creek meandered through a flat, grassy flood plain. The creek was only about ten feet across, slow moving, and very deep. I assume it was the work of beavers that made it so deep.
I found several long cut aspens that could be made into a bridge. The weight of the longest pieces made me want to construct the bridge nearby, and the smaller pieces were not quite long enough to create a sturdy bridge nearby. Not wanting to risk falling in to water up to my head, I decided to look for a safer crossing.
A little further upstream, I found two logs spanning the creek. One above the water and one slightly submerged. I walked across the submerged log while holding on to the higher log for balance. Now back to the hike.
My camera’s battery was extremely low, so I decided to not take any pictures until I neared the summit. I continued hiking up the standard route. At around 13 000’, I managed to get this shot of Tabeguache before the cold temps turned my camera off.
The weather cycled between beautiful blue skies with no wind, to cold, windy and low visibility. From the time I was at 13 000’ to the time I descended back down to 13 000’, it was mostly just cold, windy, and very little visibility. Once I got to the ridge above 13 500’, there was a brief break in the weather and I managed to get these shots.
The ridge walk was a lot of fun. The views were somewhat limited due to the clouds, but pretty spectacular. I lost a little bit more time here climbing patches of steep snow without crampons, and climbing boulders to avoid the steep snow. Once past this narrow section of the ridge, I put my skins on and proceeded to skin to the summit.
In the photo above, you can see the summer trail emerging from the snow field close to the summit. It is here where I decided to traverse the snow field from the ridge to the trail. I hit a steep, slick section where my skis would not hold an edge and I started to slide down. I was able to put my whippit into the slope and arrest. I had to traverse the slope with the whippit into the mountain. Needless to say, this ate up a bit more time.
Finally, I made the summit around 12:20, about five hours into the hike. The camera was in my right pocket, away from the wind as I tackled the ridge, so it was warm enough to get a few more shots.
Snow covered summit
Looking down the NE face
Clicking in on summit
Once on the summit, the weather started changing for the worst. Visibility was dropping and the strong cold winds were stinging my face. Before I lost visibility I was able to eye a West facing line that was a bit thin, but definitely skiable, and decided this would be my line.
By the time I clicked in, I had lost visibility. I could see perhaps 100 ft. in front of me and the light was so flat that I could not discern the texture or angle of the snow. I had to ski by feel.
I skied from the summit down the North ridge and then down the West face. Although the snow was thin and there were rocks poking out of the snow pack everywhere, the snow was so supportable that the thinness was not a problem. I stayed right on top and the skiing was quite simple. In fact, it was like skiing a groomer.
At around 13 000’ I started getting more visibility and really started opening it up. The snow was supportable but soft, and the angle was really moderate. I was able to make some fast turns…resort style!
I was able to ski almost to the creek crossing at the summer trailhead. At this point the weather really started to clear up (even at Antero’s summit), and I was able to get a view of the nearby peaks, including Princeton’s nicely filled in south face. The camera was still a bit too cold to get any shots though.
I was able to hop the stones across the creek, and then proceeded to hike down, skiing various snow covered sections. I reached the car at about 2:30, for a seven hour day.
On the way out, I saw a herd of 28 bighorn sheep in the Love Ranch meadow, and my camera was warm enough to get a few more pictures in.
Thumbnails for uploaded photos (click to open slideshow):