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 ridge and pitch to the summit of Mount Antero

The ridge and pitch to the summit of Mount Antero

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.

View Southeast from Antero Summit with Mt Shivano & Tabeguache Peak

View Southeast from Antero Summit with Mt Shivano & Tabeguache Peak

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.
Cronin Peak from Mount Antero Slopes

Cronin Peak from Mount Antero Slopes

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