Peak(s):  Mt. Antero  -  14,271 feet
Date Posted:  04/20/2019
Date Climbed:   04/19/2019
Author:  daway8
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 Antero spring climb   

Haven't seen many reports on this route for springtime so I'm adding this report to expand on my trailhead and conditions reports and include a couple pointers plus some expanded beta for anyone hiking this soon or in future spring seasons. The first surprise on this trip was that there was significant avalanche debris on the road about 2 miles in. From looking at the map beforehand I had been concerned about whether this route would have avalanche concerns but other than people seeming to generally take the rock rib up to point 13,800 during winter/spring I hadn't seen much discussion or comment about avalanche danger on this route. Plus, given all the boulders and tree coverage and such I really wouldn't have picked out this area as being suspect for avalanche danger although upon reviewing the maps and my notes afterwards I see there is a pretty significant slope just above this area of the road which you can't really see from the road itself. It's the steep ridge off the NE flank of Boulder Mountain, right up against the road. At first I thought there had been multiple small avalanches but I decided afterwards there was likely one large slide that broke through the rocks and trees in several spots from roughly 2.17 miles to 2.3 miles up the 4WD road. I imagine it's probably mostly due to the unusually intense avalanche season we had this winter of 2018/2019 which created conditions for this area to slide.


19305_03
Just a little ways up the 4WD road as the sun is rising.

There was no evidence of any tire marks along the 4WD road (or even on the 2WD lot for that matter) and given the deep snow plus pockets of ice it's probably not a good idea to try the road just yet, even apart from the avalanche blockage a couple miles in.

19305_05
One of the avalanche blow outs on the road.


19305_21
Another spot of avalanche debris covering the road. There were several humps of snow filled with debris.


The main key to doing this route in winter/spring is finding the right spot to turn off to head up to 13,800. With all the rolling hills along the road I found this ridge wasn't quite as easy to spot as I had hoped it would be and was glad I had downloaded the gpx tracks which bmcqueen had very usefully uploaded in his excellent trip report a ways back, plus by this point in the hike I had bumped into Keith who had already done an exploratory hike previously and had figured out where to turn.

19305_07
Turned into the trees here to catch a section of exposed rock to get us up on the ridge towards 13,800

There were some remnants of previous tracks which continued along the main road but from what we saw higher up it didn't look the the main road was quite ready for good hiking yet.

19305_08
Tracks continuing on along the main road from where we turned to go up to 13,800

The hike up to 13,800 was mostly rock/tundra with a few sections of snow that were easily passable with just regular boots, both going up and coming down later in the day. While this route is much shorter it's not a sustainable route to take after the snow is gone since it would be too easy to create damage/erosion along this section but for now the road wasn't a very viable option so we stuck with the rib.


19305_09
One of the sections of crusty, windblown snow going up to 13,800


19305_10
One of the more fragile sections going up to 13,800 and why this route isn't sustainable for summer travel.

I would have preferred not to trample over some of the sections we did but from looking across to where the road goes up there were many sections with steep snowfields covering it which made it looks to me like it would not yet be a good option to go up. In winter, with snow cover, this rib up to 13,800 is a perfect route - in springtime you have to tread lightly and carefully pick your route.


19305_11
View of Cronin Peak and portions of the road up Antero


19305_12
Another view of the road up Antero and why we didn't opt to take this route.


19305_13
Slightly different angle of the snow slopes still covering the road.

As you get closer to 13,800 the route become more and more just solid rock. The rock is relatively stable overall but just loose enough to make it a bit annoying, especially on the way down since you have to pick your steps carefully. It's not all that steep and nothing like the scree fields on other peaks but just loose enough to annoy you and slow you down a bit.

19305_14
Rocky section nearing 13,800

There are a couple ribs of snow cutting over towards the final summit stretch which you could follow over although we debated for a while about where to cut over and partly because of a bitterly cold wind that was blasting us in this section we went ahead up the minor remaining elevation up to the top of point 13,800 and found some shelter from the wind where we could add on some more layers.

19305_15
Getting close to the top of 13,800. Snow ribs show possible routes over to the summit.

From 13,800 over to the summit we didn't get as much wind as expected and so played the layer adjustment game for a while. The wind was mostly blocked on the east side (where all the snow was) but more notable on the west side (where there was hardly any snow).

19305_16
Final stretch to summit. East side still covered with lots of snow.


19305_17
Another view of the route from 13,800 to the summit - snow packing the east side, mostly dry on the west side.


19305_18
View from up top showing portions of the snow fields still covering the road.


19305_19
Looking over the steep drop on the far side of the summit.

As always, the views on a bluebird day like this are just incredible and still pretty much as amazing as in the winter.

19305_22
Panoramic from the summit.


19305_23
Another view of Cronin Peak from lower down. This valley area is so very peaceful and beautiful in springtime.

One thing which struck me as odd after reading previous trip reports was the reported distance of only 10 miles or so. Seeing as how the standard West Slopes route is 16 miles and how you have to hike much of the road in winter/spring I at first thought there was no way that could be right. But my GPS logged the round trip from the road as 10.7miles and once I overlaid my GPS tracks with the ones on for the summer route on 14ers.com I could easily see how you do indeed cut off a lot of distance with this winter/spring shortcut.


19305_24
Track in red is the normal summer route as loaded on 14ers.com. Track in blue is my springtime track: 10.7mi vs 16 miles round trip. But not a good route for heavy foot traffic once the snow is gone.

Stats:

Total distance ~10.7mi

Total time ~11 hours (slow for me - I was out of action for a while before this due to illness).

6:25am start from road by 2WD trailhead

7:36am reached avalanche debris ~2.17mi in

8:05am reach frozen over stream crossing

8:50am reached turn off point to go up ridge (~11,780ft)

9:37am hit edge of first switch back

11:45am start from saddle towards summit

12:50pm reached summit

1:12pm begin descent

1:43pm reached saddle

3:20pm back at the road

3:58pm start hiking on the road after a prolonged rest enjoying the valley

5:25pm back at my Jeep


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




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 18 19 20 21 22 23 24


Comments or Questions
nyker
User
Cool
04/23/2019 05:46
Probably a good time to do it to avoid all the trucks driving up. Nice shot of Cronin Peak.


mtcorcoran
User
Thanks for posting
05/10/2019 08:02
Great info, I'm looking to do this early in the season and appreciate the suggestions, photos.


annagracei
info
06/24/2019 12:56
Thank you for the info! Do you have any idea of how the peak is now? I am looking to climb the second week of July!


daway8
User
Re: info
06/24/2019 20:09
I see multiple detailed condition updates and trailhead reports have been added since I did this - I would read through those to get up to date info. Sounds like the 4WD road is still blocked by the avalanche debris - hard to say if that will be cleared by the second week of July or not - it will likely come down to how all the debris settles out as the snow around it melts away. Sounds like it's melting rapidly...



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