Peak(s):  Mt. Antero  -  14,269 feet
Date Posted:  01/04/2012
Date Climbed:   01/02/2012
Author:  dmccool
Additional Members:   SurfNTurf
 Occupy Antero - A Winter Uprising  

Occupy Antero - A Winter Uprising

"All you have to do is look straight and see the road, and when you see it, don't sit looking at it - walk."
- Ayn Rand

Ok sweetheart. If you say so. After some canceled plans and awful windy forecasts, SurfNTurf (Jeff) and I finally set our sights on Mt. Antero. According to Jeff, "Due to the weather forecast for Monday, it would be a crime not to climb something." The last thing I wanted to do was be labeled a criminal, so off we went.

I drove to the lower Antero Trailhead on Sunday night for a cozy 11 degree night's sleep in my truck and Jeff met me "dark and early" around 6:00am. After gearing up, we began our snowshoe trek up the start of the road toward the upper Baldwin Gulch 4WD trailhead around 6:30am.

There's an established and relatively packed trench from the parking area to the trail junction about 3-3.5 miles in.

Jeff and road conditions

If a tree falls on Jeep Road 277...

I'm doing something very important

After reaching the upper TH at 10,840 ft, we turned left onto the trail toward Mt. Antero. From here, the trench isn't quite as well established, although it's still easy to follow. We did some post-holing in our snowshoes, but it was minimal.

After about another 1.5 miles, we game to a low-angle gully. At this point, we left the road and took this gully which bisects the road near 12,800. There was avalanche debris from two separate slide paths in the gully. This may or may not be where a climber was recently rescued. The terrain in the gully is a V-shaped trap which will likely get much more dangerous as the snow continues to pile up this winter. For now, the chutes are pretty dry and the debris is settled and compacted. Before reaching the steeper sections of snow in the gully, we opted to take a grass/rock slope that led directly to the road at 12,800. Later on the descent, we came down about 100 feet apart as a precaution.

Leaving the road and heading up the gully

Avy debris in the gully (photo by Jeff)

Obvious crown where the avalanche broke away (photo by Jeff)

As it turned out, this gully was a much better option than staying on the road proper. We noticed the upper west/southwest-facing portions of the road were really wind loaded and would be dangerous to cross. Once we bisected the road at 12,800, we stashed our snowshoes, took the small shortcut trail up to the Antero/Cronin saddle near 13,000.

Our hero triumphantly reaches the saddle

Jeff and Cronin

More Cronin

We finally gained the ridge at 13,700 (or was it 13,705, Jeff?) and got a good look at what remained. The crux of the route is the craggy section in the lower left portion of the photo.

Remaining route from the ridge near 13,700

In summer, the trail bypasses the crags down to the right. With the current conditions, staying low below the ridge proper is not an option. We stayed as high as possible at all times on stable rock to avoid any avalanche danger. This crux becomes exposed class 3 or so - nothing more. Here are a few photos (some were taken on the descent).



(Photo by Jeff)

(Photo by Jeff)

Once past the crux, there is an unavoidable snow field. To the climber's right was unstable snow, so staying at the crest of the ridge is the best option. This photo is on the descent, but shows the extent of the snow crossing.

Snow crossing after the crux

The approach to the summit requires about 400 feet of tedious boulder hopping. The summer route makes an ascending traverse to the climber's right, but that option is out due to a necessary crossing of unstable snow (which can be seen near the top of photo 10). As an alternative, we stayed just to the left of the wind-blown ridgeline on mostly snow-free rock.

Here are some photos from the summit:

The summitteer

SurfNTurf and dmccool

View to Southwest


(L to R) Yale, Harvard, Columbia, and Princeton

We were extremely fortunate to have such great weather. It almost felt like cheating...almost. The wind was not really a factor until the ridge and even then didn't seem to exceed 30mph.

Roundtrip Mileage: ~14+
Elevation Gain: ~5,200 ft

Left car around 6:30am
Summit at 1:15pm
Left summit at 1:30pm
Return to car at 5:15pm

Essential Gear:
Microspikes (crampons would be worthless in the powdered snow)
Ice Axe

Elk Sightings: 0
Times sighted by an Elk: ???

Thanks so much to Jeff (SurfNTurf) for making this happen. I can't wait for our next one (cough, cough Harvard)

"Think where man's glory most begins and ends, And say my glory was I had such friends."

- William Butler Yeats

My GPS Tracks on Google Maps (made from a .GPX file upload):

Thumbnails for uploaded photos (click to open slideshow):

 Comments or Questions

Nice work gents
01/04/2012 15:40
Way to take advantage of the gorgeous conditions. We waved to you guys from La Plata as well, good job getting this one in safe winter conditions.


01/04/2012 15:46
We made a bet, but I forget what you owe me. Let's call it a six pack or a certain down suit. Thanks for repeating Antero with me as I was selfishly in pursuit of a new peak. I'll return the favor on Harvard whenever you want, as long as the elk forecast is moderate below treeline. I'll be sure to remember my camera next time, too, as my crappy iPhone pics look terrible.


Great trip report!
01/04/2012 16:38
What a day! Dan and I made it back to the parking area by 6:45PM. Enjoyed hiking with you guys.


Fun meeting you on Antero
01/04/2012 16:57
Dan & Jeff, We had a great time meeting you on Antero. You're trip report is amazing. Great photos! It should prove to be very helpful to the next climbers. I think that Mark has some pics of you guys. Do you have any of us? We'd love to hookup with you guys for the next one. Wanna plan a day in the next 3-4 weeks? Thanks, Dan Baca


well done
01/04/2012 17:08
great report - If this weather keeps up you may be able to get all the 14ers in this calendar winter!


Nicely Done!
01/04/2012 18:26
Good work to both you and Jeff on that winter summit of Antero. Sorry I did not make it down there to join you guys hopefully next time! Thanks for the good beta and trip report as well.


01/04/2012 19:03
Dan and's a link to my Picasa album. There are a few pics of you guys.


Nice work but....
01/05/2012 04:12
”Occupy” is so 2011!

When is your secret expedition?


Re: Barry
01/05/2012 05:03
”I know, right?”, ”Really?”, ”Thanks in advance” Oh, and might I add ”Just a friendly reminder...”

The secret expedition you speak of will present itself only when the time is right. Are you volunteering your support services? (you hear that, Jeff?) Oh yeah...I heard a Red Hot Chili Peppers song (hate them, btw) the other day that had mucho cowbell. Thought of you.

Thanks for the positive comments, all.


01/05/2012 15:14
but it seems like a ginormous undertaking that I don't think I will have time to commit too. Keep me posted though.


01/05/2012 15:18
The first rule of Secret Expedition Club is YOU DO NOT TALK ABOUT SECRET EXPEDITION CLUB.

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