Peak(s):  Antora Pk  -  13,269 feet
Date Posted:  10/31/2016
Date Climbed:   10/30/2016
Author:  Bez
 How NOT to climb Antora  

How NOT to climb Antora Peak.
I have been wanting to climb Antora Peak for a while, probably only because it is the most southern of the Sawatch 13ers. I have driven up the road to Bonanza a couple of time and could never figure out where the best place is to start.
With this phenomenal October weather we have had, I though I would take the opportunity to head south. Research on 14ers/13ers lead me to believe that the way to go would be to start at the Brewery Creek Guard Station. This appears to be a Forest Service cabin.
From there, you should follow Brewery Creek Trail to Antora Meadows and then the ridge to the summit. I was under the impression that the hike would be about 7.5 miles RT. , 3890 ft elevation gain.

This past Saturday, after my granddaughters birthday party, I drove south on 285 and pulled into one of the dispersed camping sites just north of Johnson Village and slept in my car. Alarm set for 5:30, this would get me to the TH at Brewery Creek Guardstation at about 7:00am.
The drive down went as planned. From US285, I turned on to the Bonanza Rd, the paved road ended at 5.7 miles and the turn off to the Guard Station was at 13.5 mile. It is signed and you cross a narrow bridge at that point. Then it is a 1.5 mile drive though private property. There was a gate that was locked but a few parking spots. As I pulled up here, my TPS system indicated I had a flat. I would take care of it on my return. Incidentally, at this point there is a sign for "Antora Meadows" for those who have a 4X4 and only want to climb about 800ft to bag Antora.
I let myself through the fence and walked down to the Guard Station. The road circles the cabin. On the west side there is a well pump and a trail that heads west on the south side of the creek. I followed this for about a 1/4 mile, until I was past the large house on the hill on the other side of the creek. I then crossed over to the north side of the creek and continued west, finding a trail, though did not seem used that often. After about another 1/4 mile, I found a fence that indicated I was now entering Public lands, though where I had started, by the well, there was also a public lands post.
When I was studying that maps before my hike, I had figured that I should not follow Antora Creek, so when I found the first creek coming in from the north, I decided I should continue west. There is a small cairn here. As it turns out, this is where I should have made a right turn. I continued west and followed the fait trail west and up. Unknown to me at the time, I was following Flagstaff Creek. Staying on the north side of the creek. When I lost the trail, I would head up the hill and almost always found it again. Looking at the Topo map, there is at least one time where the trail went to the south side, I was detemined not to go south and get lost. There was one more place where I encountered another fence, I am sure this was were the trail is on the south side of the creek. When it finally started flattening out, I started heading North West and soon I ran into the Antora Meadows Rd, right at about tree line. I now followed the road north. and I could now see my navigation mistake. Where the road went steeply uphill, I cut across the side of the hill and joined up with it again where Brewery Creek begins. I followed the road to where it makes a sharp east turn and up to where the road ends, my thoughts were "Where the Sidewalk Ends". From here I followed the ridge, but it is not nessary to stay on the top of the top of the ridge itself, you can by pass on the east side and stay level with the connecting ridge to Antora. There are a few small talus areas to cross. Once on the final approach, the first about 1/4 of the summit push is over stable solid ground, the last 300 to 400 feet is over dinner plate shaped talus. There are many "trails" going up, I made my way up where ever it looked easiest. I spent about 15 minute at the summit then headed down.

Heading down, I decided I would look for the Brewery Creek trail. From about a half mile from where the road ends, I started a descending traverse that would bring me to Brewery Creek. When I finally got to the creek, I quickly picked up the trail. At times where there was a clearing, I lost the trail, but by staying on the left side of the clearing and descending, I was able to re-locate the trail. Following the trail down brought me to exactly the spot where I knew I had taken the wrong trail.
My hike up Flagstaff Creek to the summit was 6.55 miles, took me 4 hour 14 minutes. My hike down Brewery Creek was 5.44 miles and took me 2 hours 51 minutes.

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

Thumbnails for uploaded photos (click to open slideshow):
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 Comments or Questions

10/31/2016 12:47
... you made a loop hike out of it and loop hikes are almost always my favorites. Guess I will have to go follow in your footsteps.

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