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|Conditions Information||Posted By||Posted On|
|2016-01-17||Route: West Slopes
Info: Road #277 is easily traveled right now, with a few icy spots as notable exceptions. The ice patch at around 1/3 of a mile is really large and tough to traverse. We scrambled up the hillside to avoid it. We took the gully starting around here (38.668130, -106.262775) up to avoid a number of switch backs. From the top of the gully, we took a raising traverse to the left (north). This was really slow and the wind was strong. We eventually ran out of time around 13,500‘ and turned around. Pictures here: http://schlifeisgood.blogspot.com/2016/01/colorado-backcountry-skiing-and-climbing.html
|2016-01-13||Route: West Slopes
Info: Road 162 is well plowed to the beginning of #277 road. The top few miles are snow-packed so that I would not have noticed the transition where "Pavement Ends" had a sign not announced it. But my 2wd vehicle had no difficulties. #277 road has seen snowmobile traffic since the last snowfall and supports boot traffic, morning and afternoon, without floatation or postholing. There are several icy patches. One of the first, and by far the worst, is within a quarter mile of the start of #277 road (Photo 1). From the junction with #278 road, there is good trench to timberline. From timberline, there was adequate snow to climb the snowfield back to the road (Photo 2). From the road, trail leads to the ridge (Photo 3). The ridge holds just enough snow to make things interesting (Photo 4). The snow is fresh enough that I did not use traction. Floatation was desirable from the jeep road junction to above timberline. I appreciated my ice axe when negotiating the difficult section of ridge below the summit.
|2015-12-28||Route: West Slopes
Info: Road is fully snowed in but a snowshoe/skin track is established all the way to treeline (until it snows again) - thanks to those who came before us! Skinned straight up the west gully from treeline rather than switch-backing up the road. There was some wind loading on the north side of the gully but with minimal snow accumulation (12-24 inches deep). We left our skis and continued on foot from the top switchback straight up the ridge to point 13,800‘ since the last long switchback to the south was filled in with wind-affected drifts. Funky ascent through the scree/talus but quite doable. The ridge to the summit was windy! The trail is mostly filled in with snow, making an ice axe our best friend. We stayed true to the ridge the whole way, kicking steps up snowfields for the final summit pitch since the summertime traverse was wind-loaded. Skied from the top switchback (about 12,800‘) all the way out. Skis are a super good choice for the long, long road. Nice, cold, windy, winter day!
|2015-12-22||Route: West Slopes
Info: Trench in place on the West Slopes route of Antero. Up towards the top it is knee to thigh deep. Above treeline the winter route is windblown. Snow coverage is all the way down to 2wd trailhead, so skis are a good thing.
|2015-11-22||Route: West Slopes
Info: Attempted to hike the Mt. Antero West Slopes route on 11/22/15. We were able to drive about 1/4 mile up the Baldwin Gulch road to 9,600 ft. where we came up against some huge slabs of ice on the road and a steep grade. There‘s no way anybody could make it past that point. Hiking the road, there was a consistent boot pack sometimes covered with an inch or two of snow up to the higher trailhead where the trail splits off to Baldwin Lake. A short distance later, a single skin track diverged from the main road/trail, with no signs of any travel on the road. We decided to follow said skin track thinking that it would lead to the entrance of one of Antero‘s western gullies. However, this turned out to be a HUGE mistake as we wound up deeper into the forest wallowing through waist-deep, unconsolidated wintry hell. We finally deduced that the tracks must have kept going south to what we presumed was the base of Cronin Peak, although I couldn‘t really figure out why because it‘s definitely not in to ski yet. Anyway, after several hours of bushwhacking and the aforementioned wallowing, we were able to begin our ascent up Antero. However, we found that the snow on the road was so drifted, it was no easier to walk on than in the trees. We made it up to about 12,600 ft. by 2:30 PM and decided to pull the plug knowing that we had a helluva long way to go back to the truck. All in all, the moral of the story is to FOLLOW THE ROAD as the route describes. DO NOT rely on any set of skin tracks to show you the way on Mt. Antero right now. This is also a very long hike and will take much longer than anticipated because of the conditions. Snow shoes don‘t help right now either due to the unconsolidated snow. They actually just make the postholing that much worse. Skis/skins would have been a huge help though.
|2015-09-18||Route: West Slopes
Info: Hi my names Kristina! This is my 46th fourteener summit this summer! My goal is to climb all 54 before the weather gets too bad this year. You can read more about this hike and others by visiting sunshineof1985.com! Enjoy! Height: 14,269 ft. Range: Sawatch Range Route: West Slopes Distance: 16 miles (10 miles for me with the help of a kind stranger on an ATV) Elevation Gain: 5,200 ft. Time started: 12:45pm End time: 6:45pm Time to Summit: 4 hours Time to Descent: 2 hours (my bet is 3.5 hours for the return without help of ATV) Overall Pace: 1.9 miles per hour to summit GEAR (to bring): GPS, extra socks, phone, SPOT Satellite Tracker, Map, Topo Map from 14ers.com, hiking boots with 2 pairs of socks on, long-sleeve, wind-guard/raincoat, light weight puffy coat, warm hat, lightweight gloves, day pack with water sack (64 oz), snacks. Road Condition: 14ers.com is not kidding when they say that only 4WD can make it up jeep road #277. An SUV without 4WD, might be able to make it. There‘s plenty of parking spots right at the start of #277 for all other vehicles. Trail Condition: You‘ll be on a road covered with river rocks for 90% of the time. Luckily the gorgeous autumn leaves made it entertaining and I didn‘t mind the road at all. You can avoid all water and the peak is snow free. However, once again, it was cold and windy! Once you leave the road, the ridge is easy to follow. Once you reach the end of the ridge, expect small shale the whole way up which makes for a little annoyance as you have to really watch your step to avoid tripping or twisting an ankle. ***Also, I have extra notes on my blog post how you can avoid some of the switchbacks on the way up/down to shorten the hike by a couple miles.
|2015-08-25||Route: West Slopes
Info: We hiked up from the creek crossing at 10,850‘, keeping it simple by following the jeep road up to the jump off at 13,800‘. The road was dry and even with some long stretches of rough, loose rock. This makes the descent quite challenging so watch your footing! There is little to admire and, thankfully, little traffic to deal with during the ascent. We finally reached the summit trail, at 13,800‘ - a short route across a ridge (some exposure and scrambling in places) and a quick ascent to the summit. The ridge was the highlight of the hike for us as we were quite disappointed by the bland and boring road hike we‘d had up to this point. After the ridge, we angled to the right, picking up a gradually rising trail that took us to the summit. There are several cairns marking the route and the beautiful, clear weather made it easy to pick it out from the massive talus slope. There is also a direct ascent to the summit from the ridge for the impatient hikers or those with little time for the ascent.
|2015-08-22||Route: West Slopes
Info: We hiked up the West Slopes after parking at 10,850‘ (creek crossing). The path is easy to follow since you‘re walking on a Jeep road all the way to 13,800‘. Walking on the road wasn‘t a very exciting hike and we had to move out of the way of ATVs and cars while going up and down since it‘s a narrow road. Just before 13,100‘, we took a well-beaten path to the left of the road (if heading up) to walk up to the 13,100‘ point (kind of a small field). This was shorter mileage-wise than following the road as it wrapped around this point. At this point/field, make sure to get on the right road that continues to Antero rather than the 13er (Mt. White) in the distance - see 14er‘s photo #15 for this route to make sure you stay on the right road. We stayed on the road all the way to 13,800‘ (option 2 of the two options from 13,100‘). At 13,800‘ (the last place cars can drive to), there‘s a small ridge to get to the final ascent. The route on the ridge was easy to follow but very windy. The final ascent up Mt. Antero did not have a very easy to follow route - especially coming down and was also very windy. The summit, however, was not windy at all and offered great views of Princeton, Shavano, and Tabeguache. Coming down, we cut down a trail to cut some mileage off the hike and get down faster (clouds looked like they were moving in) and were able to cut off a few switchbacks on a well-beaten path. We saw another hiker avoid most of the switchbacks below 13,100‘ by cutting all the way down in a gully with a lot of rocks. Our trip took us about 6 hours round trip from the 10,850‘ creek crossing including stops and breaks and about 20 minutes at the summit. Driving the road from the 2WD trailhead (off 162) to the creek crossing took about 30 minutes up and a bit longer down. I posted road conditions on the TH section if you want to know about the Jeep Road 277.
|2015-08-10||Route: From Browns Creek
Info: Drove a modified Cherokee up to 13,700 feet with no difficulty. The road is roughest right at the beginning, and then for a half mile or so after the creek crossing. We were followed up by a stock 4-Runner on AT tires who managed it perfectly. Once the switchbacks begin it‘s smooth sailing, with only a few rough and steep switchbacks right before the parking at 13,700 feet.
|2015-08-09||Route: West Slopes
Info: Road is easy to follow. Be careful on loose rock on the descent.
|2015-08-02||Route: West Slopes
Info: KEY FOUND!!!! A member of my group for a Nissan key on the trail. We put it in the brochure box at the TH.
|2015-07-11||Route: West Slopes
Info: There was only one switchback high up where there was still a few feet of snow to cross, soessentially none on the whole route. There was snow patch on the uppermost slope across the recommended trail, so everyone hiked the ridge to the summit. Just above Baldwin creek there was one big creek crossing on the road; there were two logs nicely tied together set across it as a bridge; these logs were off to the right where you might miss seeing them. There was one more seasonal creek across the road a few hundred meters later. It was not difficult to cross on rocks.
|2015-07-05||Route: West Slopes
Info: Some snow patches, but all very avoidable. We drove my RAV4 to a half mile below the water crossing. I think we could have made it over, but I‘d suggest a vehicle with higher clearance.
|2015-07-03||Route: West Slopes
Info: The road/trail up Antero is clear for all hikers. It is a beautiful climb. I started at the creek crossing (10800 feet) at 4a.m. This was the first time I got driven off the top by lightning at 8:00 a.m. By 9:00 the sky was clear. Because of a snow field the only way to the summit is straight up the ridge, but it is not difficult.
|2015-06-26||Route: West Slopes
Info: Managed to park at the 4wd trailhead just before the stream, the road is a boulder field though... Trail is dry at 95% and remaining snow patches are easily avoidable. Summer shoes only.
|2015-06-18||Route: West Slopes
Info: Attempted to the ski the west slopes today. We parked and camped at 10,850 just after the stream crossing. Hiked up the road. Never got the skins out. There is not even close to a continuous line down the West Slopes. We ended up skiing of the south side of the summit. Snow starts about 10ft below the summit proper. Then we traversed back to the ridge and hiked over to point 13520. We skied some beautiful corn for about 3-400ft off the south side, then traversed again to 13089 and skied down the S And W most gully on the west face. Nice soft snow for about 600 ft then about 200-300 ft of gully crisscrossing to the snow line at about 12,200. Started at 3am had firm snow from about 12,400 and up. Summited at 8. The S side off the summit was pretty firm. Very much survival skiing. The east facing slopes off the south face were beautiful corn. But softened up quick. I would not have touched them after 9. It was really warm last night and today. Postholing almost everywhere by 9-930.
|2015-06-17||Route: West Slopes
Info: I‘ll have a full report with pictures up by tomorrow night. The short story...all you need is boots with good traction on snow and rock--and preferably waterproof as there is lots of water across the road in many places, and one good long jump test a few hundred yards above the creek. I parked my Tacoma at the 4WD trailhead and waded across the creek in my running shoes, then switched to boots (bring a towel), leaving my runners behind for the re-crossing upon returning. You‘ll find snow on the switchbacks and snow on the final climb up the ridge to the summit. A lot of it you can avoid or walk next to it, or just follow the boot tracks. There are a few snow traverses that cross steep gullies (switchbacks) or have potentially long runouts below (switchbacks, final ridge), but if you just follow the boot tracks you should be fine. I carried an ice ax and microspikes and used neither.
|2015-06-05||Route: West Slopes
Info: Climbed Cronin Peak (13er) and started from standard route of the Antero. Drove .5 miles in on the Antero Road (277/Baldwin Gulch) before hitting a 4 inch layer of solid ice. It covered the road for about 30 feet, incline.. Started hiking from there. Around 2 miles in on the Antero SW Slope Route, a thin layer of ice covered rocks at the creek crossing making it a little dangerous to cross in early AM freezing air temps. Snow was completely avoidable until a little after that point when I left the Antero route and started climbing the NW ridge of Cronin.
|2015-05-31||Route: West Slopes
Info: Great day skiing Mt Antero. Coverage is very good. Found a fun narrow choke. North face looked awesome as well. Consistent snow from 11k, basically soon after creek crossing. No luck with driving up the road though - a large snowdrift blocks the road just 0.5 mi above lower TH. Cronin looks very nice.
|2015-04-04||Route: West Slopes
Info: The road has 0-12" of snow for the first 3 miles. The next 2-mile section has 12-36" of snow. The crust was supportive enough in the morning but I started to breakthrough occasionally on the decent (no snowshoes worn). The upper 3 miles of road is too snow covered for good travel. Instead we went up the gully from 11,900‘. The snow was solid and made for fast travel. Above 12,600, we went straight up the rocky slope. It is quick going up but painful going down. The peak itself has several icy snow slopes. The trail was half buried in it. We wanted to climb directly up the south ridge of the peak proper, but 60 mph winds made us traverse further east. There were a couple sketchy icy snowfields to traverse. They were only 15-30‘ wide, but with a drop that goes all the way down into the center bowl. These could have been all avoided by staying on the ridge instead of the face (assuming less windy of a day). Total hike time = 12h.