Mount Antero

Date hiked: 11/09/16

Mileage: 15.9 miles

Head Count (how many other hikers I saw):3 mountain goats.

__________

Since its discovery the late 1800s, Mt. Antero has been known for having one of the highest concentrations of Aquamarine in the country, and became a famous spot for rockhounds, professional and otherwise, to come mining for the gemstone. Until the 1950s, when CR-277, an eyesore on an otherwise beautiful mountain, was laid across the slopes, all mining had to be done by foot.

From the trailhead on Chalk Creek Drive, head south up CR-277 as it follows Baldwin Creek to the western slopes of Mt. Antero. The trail keeps a level pace through the first 2.6 miles as it gains a slow ascent to Baldwin Gulch.

1 (2).JPG

Shadows climbing Mt. Princeton’s lower southern slopes at sunrise.

2Mt. Princeton (2).JPG

At about 10,300 feet, Mt. Princeton’s summit comes fully into view.

At Baldwin Gulch, the trail splits as it brings your first glimpse to Cronin Peak and Grizzly Mountain. Heading left onto CR-278, the route crosses Baldwin Creek, growing steeper until it hits treeline 1.3 miles uphill.

4 (2).JPG

Cronin Peak (left) and Grizzly Mountain (center).

5 (2).JPG

Mt. Antero still bathed in shadow.

Standing at 12,000 feet, the next  1,000+ feet are gained along a long series of switchbacks carved into the western slope of the mountain. Gradual panoramic views of Mt. Antero, Boulder Mountain, Cronin Peak and the southern flank of the Collegiate Peaks rise along the horizons.

7 (2).JPG

Baldwin Lake, a 6.8 mile detour from the fork at Baldwin Gulch.

8 (4).JPG

A look back on the switchbacks of CR-277, and the Collegiate Peaks (Mt. Princeton on the far right of the foreground).

6.4 miles in, the trail splits once again at an unmarked trail kiosk. Continuing left, take another left at the final fork just 1/10th of a mile beyond, this time becoming CR-278A. The oncoming Jeep road offers a second approach to the summit from Brown’s Creek.

10 (2).JPG

Mt. White and CR-278B from the first intersection at the unmarked kiosk.

9 (3).jpg

Left to Right: Tabeguache Peak’s western slopes (the summit is just barely cut off), Taylor Mountain, Carbonate and Cyclone Mountains, Cronin Peak.

11 (2).JPG

Looking towards Mt. Antero.

12-2

Standing at the final intersection. Head left on CR-278A. CR-278 continues to the right all the way to Browns Creek.

From here, hike north on the switchbacks towards point 13,800′, then follow the ridgeline to the summit.

13 (3).JPG

Mountain goats, the closest I’d come to civilization all day.

14 (2).JPG

A look at the remainder of the route. Mountain goat tracks covered this entire patch of snow.

15 (2).JPG

Fleeing to the eastern slopes.

18 (2).JPG

A heavy haze lifting from the San Luis Valley

19 (2).JPG

Salida and the Arkansas River Valley.

Map

0. Map.jpg

Directions

(From Buena Vista): From Highway 24, take Main Street west for .8 miles. Turn left onto CR-321. Follow this for 8.1 miles, then turn right onto CR-162/Chalk Creek Drive. The lower trailhead is on the left 7.8 miles down the road at CR-277. There is a pullout here with space for a few cars. With high clearance and a short wheel base, you can follow CR-277 and reach 12,000 feet, cutting out about 4 miles from the hike. The road narrows quite a bit at this point, but continues all the way to 13,100 feet, cutting out another 2 miles.

16.7 miles; 29 min to the lower 2WD trailhead.

 

 

 

 

 

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s