| Antero - Bluesky Day...
I left Castle Rock at 3:40am. Made it to the turn-off for CO 162 south of
Buena Vista around 6ish. CO 162 is right outside of Nathrop. The road turns to dirt a few miles
past the hot springs, but is very smooth and a great drive.
Hit the trailhead turnoff at 6:20am and started up the Baldwin Gulch Jeep Rd. It seemed like I was the
only one there until I passed someone camping at around 10K. Personally it was fun driving up the 4X4
#277 road with Rover. Hit the stream crossing and continued on up #278 rd.
It looks like you can continue all the way to tree line. I later found out, you could go above the gully that I climbed up,
because I saw a guy shoveling the jeep road. I wanted to gain 3000 ft. of elevation so needed to stop
short of tree line. Consulting both my watch Altimeter and GPS, I estimated my start just shy of 11,150 ft.
on the #278 road. Close enough, the day was perfect for climbing and lots of blue sky. After gearing up and
eating some cold breakfast, started the hike at 7:20am.
Before getting into the switch backs I saw the snow gully and decided to head straight up for awhile,
more of a challenge anyway. The temperature was 37 degrees so the gully was very frozen in the shade,
but it allowed me to dig into the small amount of crust on top. The gully gets steeper higher up and at
this point I opted to hit the switch backs.
Hiking in the shade made for a brisk morning. My fingers were numb through my light gloves,
until finally I was able to get into the sun.
Once you get close to the back flanks of Antero the views are very nice. As you can see I had a little cloud build-up,
but the clouds never were threatening the whole day.
The East side of Antero opened up and I could enjoy some very nice views of the neighboring mountains.
Mount White and point 13,888 just out of the picture on left.
After getting around point 13800, still has a lot of snow on it, the best way for me was to leave the road on
the SW-ridge at 13,100 as Bill's route description recommends and then skirt around point 13800 or Pospects.
Here is a shot looking back at point 13800 top of frame from the mid-point of the final summit push.
The final summit is now in view after clearing this high point. You can see in this picture below two hikers
that were in front of me, they came up from the Browns creek trailhead. They seemed in a rush,
so didn't get to chat much with them. It was cold up top. It is around 9:00am at this point in the trip.
The view down from the summit of the final summit push.
At this point I was blasted by strong winds, and had to hold on to anything not lashed down. I was
adjusting my hood and my eyes began tearing before I could get my hood zipped up over my hat. My tear
blew onto my glacier glasses and froze there until I got on the summit, so yes it was cold. Let me tell you,
the wind was numbing both on the way up and down, so for me that was the worst part of the entire beautiful day.
As you can see from this shot, the high summit is snowed in. Just below the summit is the small rock windbreak shelter,
but there was no summit log to be seen. All covered in fresh snow.
Didn't get a good summit shot, and then I think my camera got to cold, because my battery died on top.
But, my Blackberry came in handy.
Rover on the way out at creek crossing:
Coming down from the top can be a little tricky, if you start sliding off the East side, it could be dangerous,
so take your time. Trekking poles really helped here, but I would say in a few short weeks even more solid rock
will be available for the down climb from the summit. If you are really concerned you could have your ice-axe
as backup. Here is another shot of the snow on the final push:
The shoe skiing down the gully was fun, but it is getting chopped up now. I made it back to Rover at 11:45,
about a 4.5 hour trip. So it was a very fast trip, I believe being able to run down a lot of the crusty snow
runs and shoe ski on the gully cut off a lot of time for me.
Side note: I encountered 2 jeeps and several ATV's on the way down, so the word is out and
I would say from now through summer the Baldwin Jeep Rd. will be busy.
Thumbnails for uploaded photos (click to open slideshow):