| Antero - Standard Route (Without Shortcut)
My first attempt at climbing a Colorado 14er was during Columbus Day weekend of last year (2006). That attempt at climbing Mt. Antero was stopped by snow. I climbed a couple of 14ers since then, but my futile attempt at Antero remained a sticking point. So, since Columbus Day weekend was coming around again, I decided it was time to take another shot at Antero.
This time the weather cooperated. It was still dark when I left Salida, but I could see stars above. And even in the darkness, I could make out the tops of the Sawatch Mountains on the drive to the trailhead.
The standard route to climb Antero is the Baldwin Gulch Jeep Rd., which is well marked by a sign on the Mt. Princeton Hot Springs Rd.:
This jeep road is extremely rough and rocky. I rented a jeep for the occasion and was glad that I did. I would not attempt to drive up this road in anything other than a short wheel-base, 4WD vehicle.
If you're so inclined, you can drive up the jeep road to within 500 feet of the summit. But I thought that would be cheating, so after passing the water crossings I parked the rental jeep at tree line (around 11,800 ft.) and started hiking up the jeep trail.
The jeep trail meanders along the side of the mountain and eventually the summit comes into view:
Here is another view of the summit from the jeep trail. Note the cloudless sky and the absence of snow:
At around 13,100' on the jeep road you can get off the road and take a short cut to point 13,800'. Since I was by myself on this hike and nobody was waiting for me, I opted to stay on the gentler incline of the jeep road until it wound around and reached 13,800'. I don't know how much time and distance I sacrificed, or how much energy I saved (if any), but it seemed like the thing to do at the time.
Various jeep trails crisscross the area. If you opt against the short cut like I did, it is important to stay on the side of the mountain whenever the jeep road splits.
Eventually the jeep road ends at point 13,800', and you are greeted with this view of a nasty looking ridge and the summit:
Here are some progressively closer views of the ridge and the summit:
Fortunately, the ridge is not as difficult as it looks. There is actually a trail of sorts along the right side of the ridge. The trail (path might be a better word) is somewhat sporadic, and some rock hopping and occasional scrambling are necessary. But the ridge is definitely manageable.
Here's a view of the final summit pitch from near the end of the ridge:
There's no trail to speak of on the final summit pitch; it's just a matter of finding the path of least resistance. Again, some rock hopping and occasional scrambling are necessary.
At the summit you will have some incredible views of the southern Sawatch. Note the jeep trails that are visible in some of the pictures:
Antero is a mountain of alternatives. How much elevation gain you achieve, whether it be 500' or 5000' is entirely optional. I thought that the best compromise was to park at tree line and hike from there. Likewise, whether to take the short cut or stay on the jeep road is entirely a matter of choice.
Thumbnails for uploaded photos (click to open slideshow):