| Antero - Fall, White, and Blue
After receiving some great info about the 11/15 trip up Antero from sgladbach, I decided to head out for a solo recon mission on Wednesday (unfortunately my impatience caused a narrow miss of the TR). The goal was to assess the ski potential. Being so early in the snow season I wasn't too optimistic, but experience has taught me to never leave the skis behind unless you are certain it's not skiable. So up the Antero road I went.
The name of the game this day was, obsess about the snowpack, stay out of avy terrain as much as possible, move fast, and 80's music. The weather couldn't have been any better. Warm, blue, cloudless skies.
Progress up the switchbacks of the Antero road was quick.
Due to a snow covered slope at 12,900ft on the road, that I didn't feel comfortable crossing, I was forced to boot pack up a boulder field to 13,600ft. Rock hoping with ski boots, fun stuff.
This was the slope I backed off of. Probably safe but no reason to risk it with another viable option.
The boot route.
I gained the ridge and was finally rewarded with the view of a skiable line from the summit. Invigorated, I began the traverse over to the summit saddle. I stayed on the spine of the ridge initially, but eventually was forced to post hole my way across the traverse keeping as close to the ridge rocks as was viable. It was tiring to say the least.
A shot of Cronin, we skied that face last spring, highly recommended.
I reached the saddle below the summit ridge and the winds began their usual high altitude assault from the west. I added a layer and had a pleasant jaunt to the summit.
Topping out a few minutes later, I was surprised to see how much snow was on the summit. Thigh deep in spots.
I took a few photos and enjoyed some refreshments.
Looking north through the Sawatch Range.
Admiring the northeast face, the only thing that will ever bring me back up this mountain.
Warm Gatorade, an Iditarod racing standard, yummy on a cold day.
The wind finally forced me to click in to my Dynafits and begin my descent.
I had to ski the east ridge for a few turns and then traverse to the south ridge. The top 600 feet of the route was hard wind packed snow. Low angle and solid, but I still stayed close to the rocks on the west side of the snow strip to the saddle.
Once down the south ridge to the saddle, I dropped into the SE bowl, which looked to hold good snow on the ascent. Indeed it did. Recycled powder with a few 2 inch wind crust patches. I skied down to the basin at 13,300ft and shouldered the skis.
I assessed the slide danger to be fairly low on the route this day. However for safety's sake, I picked a rocky line for my ascent back to the south ridge. Though I was able to stay on rock most of the time, and the snow was well anchored, I did my fair share of deep post-holing between boulders. Arduous.
Once back on the south ridge, I skied all the way down to the Antero road. The ski down the road was a sit-back cruise, though I had to divert a few times to avoid exposure to potential slide areas. The many filled gullies on the way down were certainly tempting, but terrain traps were not on the menu for the day. Though just before the last switchback, I indulged in a few last low angle powder treats.
The fall has been kind to skiers this year. May it continue into the winter.
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