Dave Gardner and I decided that June 16th would be a good day to knock off Mt. Antero (14,336′), another of the official 15 Sawatch 14ers. We decided to take Dave’s Jeep so we could drive up a good portion of the road and make the 15 mile trek into a more manageable 7 miles. Dave’s Jeep climbed like a champ and before long we were at about 11,000 ft crossing the creek. We decided we’d stop here and start hiking in order to get a 3,000 ft vertical ascent in, which some consider to be a condition of a true 14er summit.
We started up with Mr. Cooper, Dave’s boxer, and crushed the first thousand feet in about 28 minutes. We were moving for sure but we had more energy in the tank. in 45 minutes we were above tree-line switch-backing along Antero’s 4WD road. The views of the surrounding Sawatch were impressive, but the ease of the road was making me feel like we were cheating somehow. I turned to Dave and said “I think I’m going to run.” And that’s what I did, began to run up Antero’s 4WD road.
Not wanting to be outdone, Dave picked up a jog behind me and off we went, running up Antero. We passed several hikers on the way who thought we were nuts, but we were just trying to keep things interesting. After about 30 minutes I reach a fork and waited for Dave where we slowed the pace for the remainder of the road hike. After a little over an hour we were at the high parking lot atop the 4WD road, where the hike turned to a fun scramble up Antero’s south ridge.
It wasn’t even 10am but we could see some weather rolling in. Mr. Cooper was being slowed down on the ridge and I was worried about the weather so I took off for the summit. Just before the top a small cloud rolled in and actually began dropping snow on me. It’s not the first time I’ve been snowed on in summer, but it’s always rather surprising.
Luckily the squall passed to our east and we all made it to the top, Mr. Cooper included.
We met a fellow climber, Dan McGee at the top and offered to meet him at the Jeep to drive him to the lower trailhead. Dave and I were offered a ride down on our trip on Castle and Conundrum and knew that the ride would be appreciated. Dan took off down the mountain and we made our way down about 30 minutes later. We took our time on the descent and stopped to chat with several drivers/climbers. Mr. Cooper was also visibly tired and we wanted to make sure we didn’t push him too hard. We made it down without incident and found Dan waiting for us at the Jeep. After a short drive down we were home free with another great 14er summit behind us.