Peak(s):  Mt. Antero  -  14,271 feet
Date Posted:  06/26/2011
Modified:  07/22/2013
Date Climbed:   06/25/2011
Author:  wildlobo71
 Mount Antero via Raspberry Gulch - Not Baldwin Gulch - Not Brown's Creek - Not by ATV or 4WD   

Bill Wood (wildlobo71)
Mic Maryanski (rubiblu06)
Bill Beagle (beagle)
Curt Kennedy
*Tana Sorsgaard (mountaintan)

Date: June 25, 2011
Departed from Trailhead: 7:00am (late!)
Summit Time: 1:00pm
Departed Summit: 2:30pm (see explanations below)
Lolligagged back to TH by: 7:20pm
Total mileage: 8.7 miles RT; Total Vertical Gain: 4,760'

* - Tana was unable to complete the trip this day.

TOPO Trail

NOTE: My goal in the title of the report is so when someone searching for Mount Antero and Baldwin or Brown's Creek comes into the search field, this report ALSO pops up... It's worth that much to spread the word about this seldom used opportunity.

Okay, last week after hiking in the Retirement Range I knew that I wanted to get another 14er under my belt before my July 4th weekend outing to Chicago Basin. Antero has been on my "hold your nose and get it done" list for a couple of years since my quest began. I've discussed and read through countless reports how hiking the road from Baldwin Gulch stinks, especially on a weekend during the day with potential ATV and 4WD traffic, and that the Brown's Creek route is far prettier but a lot longer, especially from the trailhead. Aren't there any other options? I searched and found the three trip reports for Raspberry Gulch TH, two of which are 5 years old (freeze, ceadda,) and Doctor No's attempt last year. This sounded appealing if for nothing else than getting off the well-beaten path. I rounded up one of my best friends, Mic, solicited hiking buddies online and Beagle, Curt and Tana all spoke up, interested in this alternate route.

2:45am, Saturday morning, Denver... alarm set way too loudly (on purpose) goes off, not that it needed to. Nerves about oversleeping kept popping me awake every 10 minutes from 1:30 on. 3:15am, pick Mic up and head down to Monument for Beagle. We arrived at the trailhead by 6:40am, where Tana and Curt were waiting. Gear assembled, and hit the trail by 7:00. That's typically a late start, but hoping that the weather report would hold true, we weren't really concerned about storms. We left behind snowshoes - determined from the drive up Raspberry Gulch - there appeared to be almost no snow left below tree line, and only easily avoidable patches above. I took microspikes and my ice axe - neither saw action as this was the dryest route I've been on this season.

Start on US 285, 3.6 miles south of Nathrop, look for CR 270, first turn south of the old Red Brick farmhouse on the west side of the road. Take this road 1.5 miles, then continue straight as it becomes CR 272. Continue 2.0 miles on CR 272, stay right and it becomes CR 274; another 0.25 miles turn left on CR 273, which becomes a rockier, narrower 4WD (or extremely patient and willing to risk damage on a 2WD vehicle) road with lots of severe drainage cuts (coffee spillin' bumps.) Follow this road into the Gulch for another 2.0 miles until you reach the parking and dispersed camping area. Trailhead Elevation: 9,600'.

Starting up the trail, which is an old abandoned mining access road for the neighboring Point 11,038' peak (an official peak, you baggers... don't miss your opportunity to score this one, the 1,764th tallest in the State.) Hike up, including one long switchback, to the saddle, elevation 10,520'). At the saddle, the trail appears to fork around an island of vegetation, at this point turn left (west) and head into the forest.

Old road as trail.

Turn left at the saddle and jump into the forest.

From this point forward, the goal is "up", not "around" or "follow trail". This is a steep, thickly forested climb (approx. 950' in 0.4 miles). At about 11,450' it flattens out a bit on a bluff of sorts, and you can re-establish the next "up" milestone, a bit more through the trees of old bristlecone and other pine and aspen varieties. In reality, only Mic took the "quick" way right up the hill; the rest of us lost him as he is incredibly fast, and we were left to our own devices... our devices found a game trail that traversed nicely to the north - offered great views of the Chalk Cliffs and Mt. Princeton, but we could tell we didn't follow the "up" principle, so once on the north side of this area, we went up, to find Mic waiting for us. This will happen a lot on this trip, especially on the ascent. He is a hiking (and everything else) beast.

View of the Chalk Cliffs

Pressing on through treeline to Point 12504'.

The slog above treeline... be prepared for a lot of this.

Above treeline and heading to Point 12,504', we could see a game trail traversing in the general direction we were heading (towards the 13,105' point) so we followed it, staying off the 12,504' summit. Whichever your poison, this area was tolerable for traversing, the talus here had some soil and plant composition around it locking it into place... do not traverse beyond Point 13104', it gets nasty.

The view from Point 12504' up to the summit (the one with the snow.)

Pressing on.

At the top of point 13,104', we rested briefly, allowing the suddenly relentless wind a chance to blow before we resumed... For the rest of the ascent, it was a constant companion. Ahead of us is a really cool ridge wall and we weighed the merits of hitting the ridge straight up or trying to skirt it to the climber's left a bit (much like picking which line to pursue on the Sawtooth, based on your comfort.) Bill, Beagle, and Mic chose to hit the ridge, and what a great option! This was easily Class 2+ and low 3, with some opportunity for serious scrambling and technical moves - mostly focused toe and hand holds that wanted to slip free at that perfect moment. We got to the top of Point 13,888' at about 11:30am. Curt layed back - slowed a bit by an aching knee - pursuing the traverse through the talus - a decision he would regret and we don't recommend. Most of this talus is surf-ready and very tippy - especially on the descent.

NOTE: we recommend both ascent and descent as close to the ridgeline as possible - the talus is most stable here... that said, there were still moments of bad footing and butts hitting rocks on the descent.

The ridgewall up to Point 13888' and over to the summit. Stay on this as much as possible.

This is the skill level required for 90% of the ridge.

This is what it looks like if you want to avoid the ridge... yick!

From Point 13,888', it's still a clear shot to the summit, a couple of high ridge points to work around and then the final pitch to the summit. Here and there we could work on some good scrambling moves.

From Point 13888' to the summit, shallower version of the ridge, but still up in loose talus if you choose against the ri

Mic working a small section requiring more technical skill... you can skirt this (but why??? it's fun!)

Final summit pitch.

Bill, Beagle, and Mic arrived at the summit right at 1:00pm. Boots off, food and flask of Glenlivet 12 year old out for consumption. Another group on the summit, two women, sat at the empty register canister enjoying their view to the east. After pictures of them, for them, and hello/goodbyes they made their way down to the Baldwin Gulch side and the three of us, alone on the summit, proceeded to take a glorius 45 minute nap! Out like a light! It was beautiful; the air was warm, the wind was blowing over us but not on us... Very cool moment. About 1:50 or so, Curt arrives at the summit and for the next 40 more minutes we met another party of climbers that came up Brown's Creek, snapped photos, continued to be as lazy as possible, and then slowly gathered ourselves for the down climb.

Group summit shot. (L-R) Beagle, Curt, Wildlobo71, Rubiblu06.

The best part of this downclimb is that, from the summit, you can see almost the entire route down until the very first saddle.

Stay on the ridge, and the high-points all the way to the trees... then stay on the ridge to the saddle.

Staying on top of the ridge all the way down, and even hitting all the summits of the points along the way versus traversing them was much easier on the feet and legs; the talus is relentless on the way down. Approaching the summit of 12,504', we pick a line through the forest - a hard thing to do because this forest is so thick we probably added 1/4 to 1/2 mile of bobbing and weaving to pick a clean path through the trees - and set a bearing on a compass with the summit of Point 11,038' as our destination - if you make it to that peak, you will cross the old road/trail down to the trailhead.

The weather, except for some annoying but tolerable wind was excellent... with a day like this we could afford to take our time.

Bluebird day in the Sawatch! 4pm photo of neighboring Princeton - awesome!

Entering the trees, for about a mile it's a gentle bob and weave, like I said... you may see a cairn or two at some of the high points, but just stay within the top-line of the ridge to your left at all times and you won't miss anything. After one high point, you've reached the 950' wall - be careful on this, the rocks float, the pine needle beds are just as slick, and most trees you may grab for support are dead and will snap... take it slow.

We got to the saddle at approximately 6:50, and arrived at the trailhead at 7:20pm. If you are out for the summit only, expect perhaps an 9 hour RT. We spent 90 minutes on the summit, and 10-20 minutes in other locations. It wasn't an efficient hike, but it was a hell of a lot of fun and the only way I will recommend seeing Antero.

Before departing, we all decompressed at the trailhead to some chatter and Commodores.

Back in Denver after midnight, but who cares?

Thumbnails for uploaded photos (click to open slideshow):
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17

Comments or Questions
Doctor No
Nice work!
06/27/2011 00:45
Good to see that y'all made it - I'm looking forward to (re)doing this on a very non-windy day.

Enough wind...
06/27/2011 02:22
There was enough wind up there, particularly on the ascent, to make us drop to all fours at times... one particular time the wind just turned me around like a pivot, and many times the rock I was aiming to step on was not the rock I ended up on! But, slow and steady won this race... thanks for the beta!

950' wall
06/27/2011 16:13
Glad someone else shared my thoughts on that slope. I don't know how many times I landed on my rump after riding a rock plate on the needles.

Nice job.

Good work!
06/27/2011 18:41
Thanks for the suggestion, I have also been contemplating the most exiting way to get up Antero, and I think I may take your advice

CO Native
06/27/2011 19:25
My brother and his friend were the ones that posted the TR from 5 years ago on that route. I suggested it to them after having done the standard route and not liking it at all. I'm still jealous I haven't done it that way myself. You should contact Bill with your info and see if he'll use it to create it as a route on his website. It changes Antero from a mountain you have to get through, to one you actually enjoy.

06/27/2011 20:33
I was thinking about you guys as I summited from the standard route on Saturday, that ridge sure looked like fun! The Baldwin approach is a LOT nastier than I expected, but after the stream crossing the standard route is a joke. Wishing now that I had considered the ”Raspberry Route”!

Great Write Up
06/28/2011 04:06
Props and many thanks to wildlobo71 for suggesting and researching this route and for leading a great tour. This is a hike that will leave anyone feeling satisfied and rewarded.

Shawnee Bob
Good stuff, man
06/29/2011 19:14
If/when I do Antero, this is the route I want to take. It looks a lot more fun than the standard route. Great job, man!

Sugar Madison
Thanks for the excellent write-up!
03/20/2014 21:46
Thanks! I've been looking for an alternate route up the east/northeast side of Antero up this ridge, though I think I want to keep on the ridge that trends NE from closer to the Mt Princeton Hot Spring (I'll be coming directly from Princeton), meeting this route near treeline. Anyone happened to have done that variation before?

- Chris

Lady McClimbsalot
06/30/2014 05:17
I appreciate this TR from way-back-when. I'm leaving in 4 hours to tackle this beast via Raspberry Gulch, per your recommendation

I'm bringing the dogs with... we'll let you know how it goes!

The otherside of Raspberry
08/04/2018 12:04
We took the opposite side of Raspberry Gulch and climbed that steep slope up, about 1,700'. Forest wasn't as bad as we thought it would be. Ridge above treeline was easy til we tackled the big climb up to Pt 13,880. Scrambling to summit was fun. I'm guessing the mileage is a little less than yours, but it may not matter as the time it took to wrestle with that steep wooded slope more than made up for the shorter distance. But it was a good time never the less.

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