| 06/20/2005 - Baldwin Gulch
I hiked Mt Antero yesterday, June 20, from the Baldwin Gulch trailhead. I parked my passenger car at the parking area on CR 162 and hiked the jeep road.
For me, the first part of the road was a real grind, and felt at times like I was walking on marbles, as my boots kept slipping on the small round stones. After a mile or so, the grade eased considerably and became a very nice stroll along Baldwin Creek. For those with 4WD, there are numerous parking areas and nice camping spots along the road.
My greatest obstacle of the hike was at the 277/278 road junction. The road to Mt Antero turns left here and immediately crosses Baldwin Creek. The creek is running quite high right now, and is a good 2-3" above some of the strategically placed stepping stones used to cross on foot. I looked up- and down-stream for an alternative crossing, but found none. So, using my trekking poles for balance, I carefully picked my way across the creek on the sometimes underwater stones. My boots got plenty wet but thankfully didn't leak.
The next obstacle was another creek crossing 10 minutes further up the road. Here, there's no way to get across on the road unless you want to soak your boots. However, there are two conveniently placed downed tree trunks about 10 yards up-stream from the road. Look for the trampled vegetation as the clue for where to leave the road.
Higher up, there was still one large snow patch covering the road at 12,775', but it was easily negotiated with some moderately careful boot placement. (When descending, there is a more obvious trail segment that cuts the switchback and avoids this snow patch.)
As suggested by this site and by Roach, I followed the road to the top of the southwest ridge. However, unlike the route suggested by both, I did not follow the ridge up and over Point 13,820. Instead, I stayed on the road, which continues around to the east side of Point 13,820, and then switchbacks up to the saddle between Point 13,820 and Mt Antero. I probably added some distance to the hike, but it clearly seemed like a less strenuous alternative to hiking the ridge.
The upper section of the climb is straight forward, following the well-worn route up to the summit. There was still some snow covering a few parts of the upper trail, but it was easily bypassed with just a little bit of scrambling.
My GPS lost signal in the lower section of the road (too many trees), but from the stream crossing to the summit registered about 5 miles. If the stream crossing is 3 miles from the bottom, that's a round trip of 16 miles. Whew, for me that's a long hike!