I get why Mount Antero isn’t high up on folks’ 14er lists. It’s not a wilderness peak. In fact it’s almost the opposite of a wilderness peak because of aquamarine — one of the highest concentrations of it in the country along with other gem deposits. Gemstones mean mining claims, mining claims mean miners, miners means roads — you see where I’m going with this.
And its long & steep 4WD approach over dry creek beds composed of soccer-ball-sized rounded cobbles make for perfect ankle twisting opportunities. In short it’s difficult on foot and it’s too easy in a vehicle
But nevertheless, it’s #10 on the 14er list and therefore must be done. By me.
The 4WD road is no treat in a Jeep either, but I made it up to treeline, about 12’000′, where I set up camp.
It being monsoon season, I got an early start to avoid the afternoon thunderstorms. You can do the first 1,000′ on the road, but I shortcutted up a few gullies and over Point 13,820 to have some variation and to look for crystals (which I did not find). But throughout the mountain and on the surrounding ones you could see mines small and large and their tailings.
After passing through the 13,000′ parking area (yes), I made the final push to the summit. It started with a fairly level, well-marked, & rocky traverse. But after that it was find-your-way straight up.
When I hit the summit near 9:30 I had it all to myself. I could see one other climber, but that was it. The ascent was much better than I’d expected. But it’s really two mountains: the peacefully quiet and solitary Antero you ascend in the morning seems a Brigadoon memory as you descend through the waves of noisy and smelly ATVs along with their grinning Texans on vacay.
I took the road going down, and I passed no less than 25 ATVs and a half dozen Jeeps. Especially towards the end, I was in no mood for the smiling and waving of the tourist riders. But at camp my mood improved with lunch and a beer, and I just finished packing up when the afternoon rain began.
- When: 22 Jul 2016
- Distance: 7.9 mi RT
- Total Elevation: 2,586′
- Time to Summit: 3:15 hrs
- Total Time: 5:00 hrs
- Colo 14er Rank: #10
- Summit Whiskey: Four Grain Straight Bourbon Bottled in Bond