| Almost ready for winter on Mt Antero
Mt Antero, Dec. 1, 2009
Crew: benners, pioletski
Stats: 10 miles, 5350' climbed, 5300' skied
Encouraged by the recent exploits of RoanMtMan, killingcokes and others, Ben and I headed for Antero, hoping that it had received at least a little snow over the weekend. Very little, it turned out, which was a tad rough on the boards, but that's why they invented base-grinding machines...
We put on skis and skins at the trailhead at 7:00 am. (One of the pleasures of this route is that you start with your skis on, which means that you ski all the way back to the car.)
Ben gearing up (Pioletski)
There was continuous snow on the road, with only occasional gaps.
At the Baldwin Lake/Antero fork (8:30 am) (Pioletski)
We skinned up the road at a fairly casual pace until the lively conversation started to tail off. At this point we allowed ourselves to be tempted to break away from the standard route, up a prominent gully and then directly up the west ridge to the summit. Fall and spring are the windows for this approach; it would be unsafe once the winter snow settles in (the gully is a classic terrain trap), and a desperate scree and talus scramble in the summer. Today, however, on shallow and mostly bulletproof snow, we felt quite safe going this way.
Skinning up the gully toward the summit (Benners)
Looking back, the northeast face of Cronin beckons.
Looking down the track (Benners)
We came across this odd-looking device around 13,000 feet. Knowing that we were the first ever to climb this route, we figured it must be some alien communication apparatus.
ET phone home (Pioletski)
We continued skinning to about 13,500 feet. Eventually the snow became patchy and we took the skis off...
Benners taking a break (Pioletski)
... surmounted a steep pitch at 14,000 feet...
... and stumbled over a couple hundred feet of talus to the summit, arriving at 1:00 pm.
The day was fabulous: sunny and almost no wind, even at the summit.
Pioletski with the Sangres behind (Benners)
Ben trotted out his Jetboil, whipped up some lunch...
Ramen comin' (Pioletski)
... and clicked into his skis.
Let's go! (Pioletski)
We skied a hundred feet or so down the east ridge...
Beginning the descent (Benners)
... and then traversed across to the south ridge.
Finally letting 'em loose. (Benners)
Ben followed me down to the saddle above the southeast bowl. Our initial descent off the summit was down the thin strip of snow directly above Ben's head.
Ben letting 'em run (Pioletski)
Dropping from the saddle into the southeast bowl, we were rewarded with about 20 turns worth of creamy snow a couple of inches deep, over the boilerplate that we had been skiing.
Note the 2-day-old tracks...
We dropped down to the seasonal pond at 13,300 feet, in shadow below Ben in this picture.
Taking a breather (Pioletski)
We then turned around to skin about 500 feet back up to the ridge.
Once over the ridge, we picked our way down the upper part of the west face until we found continuous snow once again.
Descending the west side (Pioletski)
Almost back to the road (Benners)
We arrived back at the trailhead at 5:00 in fading daylight.
Ben, good to see you as always. (Good luck with the new boots!) And congratulations on your 150th 14er summit.
Thanks to our recent predecessors for the beta, and thank you for reading this TR.
Thumbnails for uploaded photos (click to open slideshow):