Peak(s):  Mt. Antero  -  14,269 feet
Date Posted:  11/05/2006
Modified:  11/06/2006
Date Climbed:   11/04/2006
Author:  Billygoat

 Antero - Baldwin Gulch 11/4/06  

I have entered this report as more of a learning experience to all as what NOT to do. This comes from someone who should probably have known better. First off, I encountered another driver on his way back down saying he was unable to get up an icefield on the road ahead. When I got to it I tried it anyway! No way! A 4x4 made no difference here. There was a sheet of glare ice approx. 75ft. long completely covering the steep and rough roadway so I got out one of my shovels and spread dirt all over this from the embankment. This took almost half hour with another person helping who showed up behind me. He used my other shovel. It worked and were on our way again. I met up with another member from the forum at the Baldwin Gulch split at 10,840 which is about 3 rough miles from CO162. I was'nt ready yet to join him on our hike and agreed to meet him a short way up the trail where he was going to take a snack break.

Lesson 1-Do not separate. I left my vehicle at approx. 07:45 to catch up to him and made the first left thinking this was the first of the switch backs. He must have gone straight ahead. Did'nt see him again for another seven hours! This reminded me of all the postings that I had read on this site regarding the disappearance of Michelle Vanek on Mt. of the Holy Cross. (I picked him up in my truck as he was making his way down to his car later that afternoon!) There was no signage at this junction and even though the ground was snow covered, I could see no fresh footprints in the snow in which to follow. There were old vehicle tracks and footprints in the snow from the prior week which went in both directions. I noted after having got back from this trip that some one else had entered in his trip report that he had done the exact same thing just a month ago making that first left turn. He turned back. I think a sign is needed here! When I got to the dead end, I thought 'Don't want to go back down' so I looked up and decided to talus scramble up thinking that I would regain the trail! This was the view looking up.

Lesson 2-Stay on trail unless thoroughly familiar with where you're going. Anyway, I was well north (perhaps a mile) of where I thought I was. I should have backtracked down to the other trail. So anyway, I continued straight up the side of the mountain exerting a ton of energy. It became less steep at around 12,500 and could now see where I was suppose to be! I kept going up and at the same time cutting south across heavily snow covered talus to join the ridge and trail to the summit. By now it was beginning to snow again and this time it did'nt look like it was going to end anytime soon. I reorganized my gear and put on additional outerwear and made sure water and snacks were readily accessible. I had lost my appetite and feeling uneasy with the present weather conditions (forecast was reasonably good statewide with occasional snow showers above 8500'). Anyway, when it's happening, you don't really know just how bad it might get. It turned out to be just what the forecast said. It was already well past noon and assessing my situation I decided to pull the plug and go down. My altimeter showed 13,680 at this point. There was a large couloir next to me to the south so figured that was the quickest way down. I was flat out too exhausted to go any other way. I don't believe that there was real Avalanche concern on the South side of the couloir so I went down it. On the steeper parts and I mean steep, I went down on my backside a lot. Could'nt stand up. Ruined my outer pants and gaitors on the loose rock! Eventually made it to the bottom end of the couloir after about a mile and a half of awkward talus and snow. The following photos show some of the experience.
Next pic shows view to south across the other side of the couloir I eventually descended.
Next is looking up approx. South East at where I was trying to get to the ridge.
In this pic looking south still, the trail is now apparent down there. There is a hiker in this pic trying to cut the switch backs down there. You can't see him in this as he is so small!
I took this one about halfway down when I was starting to feel better. Still far to go with my hurting knees.

Lesson-3 Bring more water! I had 5 pints with me on this trip and was more than I have required in the past but on this one I had used 4 1/2 pints by the time I was heading down! Being cold weather I did'nt think you would drink as much but found out that is'nt the case. Even though you are bundled up for the cold you still sweat out that moisture which needs to be replenished. I'm sure the extra workout I got caused an increase in water consumption also. I felt pretty dehydrated at times on the way down and made that final half pint last me.

Lastly, I have to say that I did experience some AMS in mild form and knew what to do about it having read articles and also from past experience. When I'm high up on the mountain I make it a point to do a sort of self assessment of my physical wellbeing by asking myself questions regarding how I feel and then answer them honestly and if the answers suggest an immediate remedy or course of action then I see to it! My first bout with AMS was in bad form and occurred back in September of 1998. I had just summited Longs Peak and after starting down on the homestretch I had to sit down. I felt pretty ill, headache, loss of appetite, nausea, the whole nine yards. I was alone, last one off the top and approx. 5 p.m. This probably sounds crazy but looking back, I'm glad that I encountered it because as they say (who ever they are) experience is the best teacher!

Finally, never underestimate the size of a mountain!!!!The potential to get miles of course is there and it can happen real quick!

Thanks for reading this.

Thumbnails for uploaded photos (click to open slideshow):

 Comments or Questions

beautiful pics!!!
10/22/2007 04:05
great report,too!

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