Peak(s):  Mt. Antero  -  14,269 feet
Date Posted:  07/26/2013
Modified:  08/13/2013
Date Climbed:   07/09/2013
Author:  zinj
 Antero from South (Browns Lake) - 2013 Summer Trek: Rpt 1 of 7  

July 8, 2013 - Backpacking

This is a really long way to do a non-technical Sawatch 14er. I chose it because a 6 mile backpack into Browns Lake put us in striking distance of three 14ers and several other cool 13ers including Centennial 13er Cronin Peak. Also, it provided a chance to take an unusual approach to Shavano and Tabeguache, one which does not require climbing Shavano twice.

I'm coming from sea level (or close thereto). So how best to acclimate? By backpacking up to a base camp at 11,286 near Browns Lake with Young Master William of course! : 8) : Two questions you may have:

1) How was it going straight from sea level through 6 miles of backpacking to 11,286?
2) What happened to the apostrophe in "Browns Lake"?

My answers are: 1) it was awful - I felt sick the next morning but pulled through. 2) I don't know -- perhaps it's "Browns" like "Cleveland Browns"

We finally finished backpacking 6 miles into Browns Lake under cover of darkness. It wasn't until the following day that we discovered we had stumbled across the best campsite on the lake.

View to West. (Antero would be way off to the right (North) and two ridges out of sight behind 13er Mt. White)

View to West. (Antero would be way off to the right (North) and two ridges out of sight behind 13er Mt. White)

July 9, 2013 - Summit Day 1

The primary objective for today, our first alpine day, had always been Antero. In hindsight, Antero was one of my least enjoyable 14er days due to a confluence of factors:

  • I was suffering from altitude distress
  • Antero is crawling with people in trucks and ATVs which make it a lot less enjoyable
  • Climbing Antero from the SOUTH (Browns Lake) is about the longest approach you can devise to climb this peak - which compounded my altitude distress
  • Antero is the 10th highest 14er in CO - again, a shock to my sea-level system

Young Master William knew from a previous climb that Antero was not really all that fun and opted not to climb it again. This photo early in the day captures his mirth at the sick look on my face as well as his decision to let me go off and climb Antero "solo" (nobody actually climbs Antero solo).


I pointed out that recently-named (last 10 years?) Cronin Pk was a nearby high 13er, so we split at the first ridge and each climbed a new peak.

Lookin North (subsequent day's photo)
photo roughly aligns with prior photo

The Browns Creek valley (oriented East-West) is rather long. We hiked for more than a mile on mostly level ground before we even began our ascent out of the basin. Trees like it here, reaching to nearly 12,000 feet.

nearing west end of valley, beginning climb up north slope




Young Master William and I split not long after gaining the ridge to Cronin. I said something about meeting back in 2 hours - this was before I could see where Antero was. Five minutes later Antero emerged and I realized 2 hours wasn't going to happen. It's a long walk to even get to Antero.

Peek-a-boo, Antero

Seeing more of Antero, but doesn't feel like I'm getting any closer (very large plateau area)

Looking back to the South across the valley which holds our base camp at Browns Lake

Putting distance between myself and Cronin

Finally, I did reach the popular jeep trails and the also popular switchbacks to the summit of Antero's Southern flank. Oh, and lots and lots of ATVs.

Unlike Pikes, however, you cannot QUITE reach the summit by car. There's a talusy slope to get to the summit. I did see the contents of one car spill out and attempt the climb. The others did not.

Valley basin flora with Carbonate in the background

Another shot of Tabeguache Peak

This dam is not entirely natural - it appears to have been fortified in order to raise/deepen Browns Lake

Our kitchen

Feeling SOO much better than this morning

The following day (Tab-Shav) is our most unusual route finding adventure on this trip.

Subsequent Report: Seldom-used Northern Route to Tab-Shav-PT 13712 - 2013 Summer Trek: Rpt 2 of 7

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

 Comments or Questions

08/29/2013 14:29
Nice report! This route looks way better than the standard. At least you don't see the ATVs/4x4s until you're most of the way up. How is the Browns Creek trail to Browns Lake? That's six miles, right? Do the downed trees start only after the lake?

Sounds like you did it in the dark - Any trouble finding/following the trail and getting to the lake?

Any chance you could make this GPX file downloadable? We'll probably do Antero and Tab this weekend, so these back routes will help avoid the crowds.

P.S. - The names of peaks, lakes, etc. were all standardized a long while back to avoid any confusion; all the apostrophes were removed, even if they were named after someone (e.g., Zebulon's mountain, Pike's Peak, became Pikes Peak). The more you know! Learned this from Halfway to Heaven.


Re: Browns
08/29/2013 17:54
GPS - did you mean for Antero or for Tab/Shav/PT 13712? Antero's trail is impossible to miss, but Tab/Shav/PT 13712 involved a lot of exploring (I have a separate trail report on those)

Dark- We arrived at Browns Lake from the TH in the dark --- well, the very last bit was at twilight-to-dark because I was slow and not acclimatized yet so our backpacking pace was not very aggressive. We did all of our hikes during daytime, though. (yes, 6 miles into Browns Lake -- but a big stretch in the middle is almost flat, so you end up getting a chunk of vert at the very beginning and then like 66% of the vert in the last couple of miles -- so it kind of hits you hardest at the end of the trip in).

Downed Trees - begin within the last mile leading up to Browns Lake. There are several copses of blowdown. South side of the lake looks like a spotty forest fire bounced through about 40 years ago or so - Aspen and some meadows along with a few charred tree remnants.


08/29/2013 22:46

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