| Antero - Baldwin Gulch
Mt. Antero was first up on our two-day, two-peak weekend (Mt. Princeton was saved for Sunday). Our "base camp" was a cozy little cabin nestled at the base of the Chalk Cliffs, in between the two mountains.
Around 5:30 a.m. on Saturday morning we set off up the 4WD road. The road was rough in some parts, but it was fairly easy for a stock Xterra. At the road junction at 10,800 feet we crossed Baldwin Creek and immediately parked near the water.
We began hiking up the road at 6 a.m. Not the most exciting scenery, but it was peacefully quiet. Aside from some snoozing campers, we were all alone out there.
Beyond tree line the road actually seemed to improve (could've easily driven all the way to the end … but we were there to climb the mountain with leg and lung power). There were so many zigzags, switchbacks, twists and turns, it almost made me dizzy. The road was like a drunk, meandering river all the way up that mountain. The ascent was steady, but not so steep. A few stretches had some pretty steep drop-offs – classic Colorado shelf road.
Once up high, where the road took off away from Antero's summit, the singletrack trail to the left was fairly easy to spot. That section of trail was short (rocky at first, then grassy). Where the trail ended abruptly in the grass, we took a very hard left and headed toward the steep slope of Point 13,800'. There was a trail up that slope, but it was difficult to stay on, so we ended up talus hopping quite a bit.
On top of that point, it wasn't really obvious where to go, as there were many trails and roads going every which way, but we just continued on toward Antero's summit, which we could see at that time. On one section, just before the ridge, we ended up going up and over a bump, unnecessarily.
Crossed the easy ridge/saddle and then headed up the last pitch toward the summit. There was one snowfield, but the trail skirted to its left and passed above it.
Touched the small, cozy summit a few minutes after 9 a.m. and soaked in the striking view to the south of the Mato Vega wildfire smoke choking the valleys.
Met a couple of friendly guys from Fort Collins on the summit – the only people we saw up until that point (also ended up seeing them on Princeton the following day). Very beautiful views from the top, of course. The photo below is looking back down toward the ridge and Point 13,800'.
On our way back down, after walking over Point 13,800', we got a little too far to the right and ended up on some sketchy, unstable talus. It's always awkward when you step onto a boulder that's the size of a washing machine and it shifts and slides under you.
While hiking back down the road, we passed a few groups of people and quite a few ATVs and 4x4s. At one point, while stepping to the side to let a Jeep Cherokee pass, we noticed a crumpled-up beer can so we picked it up. Before I had a chance to dig out a Ziploc, the passenger in the Jeep reached out his hand and offered to take it, which he did … and then he tossed it in his back seat. Thought that was very nice of him, and just one example of the "karma-raderie" in the mountains.
Made it back to the truck a little after 11 a.m. Got lucky on the drive back down the 4WD road – no uphill traffic to deal with! Only took about 20 minutes to get back to 162.
Thumbnails for uploaded photos (click to open slideshow):