| Antora Peak and more
November 20, 2008
Antora Peak 13,269
NE Sheep Mountain 12,228
Porphyry Peak 11,700
~11.8 Miles, 4,800 Gain.
I have been looking at hiking Antora for a while but never really justified the long drive for a shorter hike. After some research, I figured out I could add a 12ver, 11er and a 10er to my day. My wife and I left around 3:00 PM on the 19th and made our way to Bonanza. I was planning on camping at the same place I wanted to start hiking but there seemed to be a maze of roads and we couldn't really figure out a good place for both. There are existing roads, and non- existing roads not shown on the National Geographic Map, Google Maps or the topo. We ended up camping off of 861 and starting hiking at the sharp bend on road 862 at 6:15 AM. From the bend we started hiking up a closed road to the northwest. We followed this road until a T junction (shown on the topo), and then took a left and headed south.
Once this old jeep road took a sharp bend, we left the road and started our bushwhack to the west aiming for Slaughterhouse Gulch. We ended up hiking up to ~11,300 as we made our way into the gulch. I think initially we should have traversed more level at ~11,000; I think the bushwhacking would have been a little better. After reaching the gulch, we headed up the gulch and out of the trees to the saddle between Sheep Mountain and Antora. We took a sinuous class 2 route up the northeast face of Antora and arrived at he summit around 9:20 AM. It was another perfect day with hardly any wind. As we climbed from the saddle between Sheep Mountain and Antora, there was a low cloud layer covering the area to the north. Mt. Ouray looked amazing with the clouds surrounding the base. It was also neat watching the clouds creep over the saddles of the Cristo's to the east.
We descended via Antora's northwest ridge and then north to the saddle between Antora and Sheep Mountain. We skirted around the east side of Sheep Mountain at ~12,500 and once we were on the east side of Sheep Mountain below point 12,574, my wife decided to descend directly east back to the car while I continued onward to Northeast Sheep Mountain. The ridge was easy but had many ups and downs. After reaching the summit of Northeast Sheep Mountain, I could tell going to Porphyry was going to be no easy task. I couldn't see the peak, as the peak was lost in the fog.
I descended the southeast ridge of Northeast Sheep Mountain and carefully navigated down into the fog. I knew if I veered too far left of course, I would have a very long hike out. I managed to stay on the ridge towards point 11,412 and found an old mining road which I followed along the ridge crest (the road is shown on the topo). As the road meandered around the ridge crest I eventually crossed the Squirrel Gulch 4x4 road and at this point I knew I was on the right track. I continued upwards to point 11,412.
At the top of 11,412 I could see blue sky directly above me, so I knew the clouds were starting to burn off. From the top of 11,412 I headed directly north, staying on the ridge crest, toward Porphyry. As I descended, the clouds became thicker, and once again, I was lost in the sauce. Checking my compass regularly I finally started climbing up toward Porphyry. The last 200 feet to the summit were out of the clouds, and I could see Antora and other peaks starting to sneak their way out of the clouds.
After a quick break, I wandered back into the clouds and skirted around the east side of 11,412. I really didn't want to re-climb that point only to descend it again. I headed directly south, and again, crossed the Squirrel Gulch 4x4 road. At this point the clouds were burning off and I could see my next objective. Point 10,924.
The climb of 10,924 was uneventful as I crossed a lot of downed timber. Once on the summit, I found a Mike Garret register with only his name placed back in 2006. From the summit, I headed directly south down the steep slopes and met my wife in a clearing off of road 862. Again, she did another gracious car shuttle for me.
The weather was perfect, didn't need snowshoes, and crazy enough, didn't even need my gaiters.
Summit Ridge to Antora
Clouds over the Cristo's
NE Sheep Mountain
Snow in the trees.
Antora from descending off of Porphyry.
Thumbnails for uploaded photos (click to open slideshow):