Peak:  Mt. Antero (14er)
 Route:  West Slopes
 Range:  Sawatch
 Posted By:  SurfNTurf
 Date of Info:  01/02/2012
 Date Posted:  01/03/2012

We summited via the standard summer route up Baldwin Gulch on Monday, Jan. 2. There's a nice track from the parking area to the trail junction about 3-3.5 miles in. Once turned onto the trail for Mt. Antero, the trench isn't quite so developed. It's still easy to follow. Just expect some postholing.

We left the road and took the second shortcut gully about 1.5-2 miles beyond the junction. There was avalanche debris from two separate slide paths in the gully (which is a classic V-shaped terrain trap), but the chutes now appeared pretty dry. We chose a careful line and felt safe. I wouldn't recommend this gully once Antero gets even a little bit more snow.

We regained the road at about 12,800' (stashed snowshoes here) and followed it climber's right a few hundred feet to an obvious shortcut trail to the saddle. The backside road was very dry with minimal avalanche danger, so we followed the switchbacks to 13,700' where the summit came into view. From there, we followed the ridge proper all the way to the top.

Avalanche concerns force you to stay high and bypass the Class 2 standard trail on the east aspect. The result is a Class 3 rock/snow crux at 13,800'. We found a fairly easy line through the difficulties. It's exposed, but the holds are there. Past the rock crux we used axes and microspikes for a brief knife edge of hard-packed snow, and then followed the loose talus ridge to the summit to avoid an unstable-looking snowfield.

Gorgeous day...we could see every range in the state and pick out the likes of Castle, Uncompahgre, Blanca and, of course, Pikes. Full TR to follow in the next day or two.

Photos (click for slideshow):
Image #1Image #2Image #3Image #4

 Comments or Questions

01/04/2012 15:21
By second shortcut gully, as there are several, I meant the one the road crosses only twice between 12,000' and 12,800'. There's avalanche debris but the chutes appear mostly dry now, and a tongue of raised, bare tundra (which we used) splits the gully from about 12,500' to 12,800'. There was one section of our gully on climber's left that still had a fair amount of snow and a 1-2' crown from a previous avalanche, but by staying far right (far enough to be out of the debris) and maintaining spacing we safely bypassed the area.

The crown was in the sunlit area of the second photo. The two climbers are at the base of the tundra tongue, which goes up and right to rejoin the road at 12,800'.

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