14er Ski Descents – Mount Antero – May 31, 2004
Route: West Face
Partners: Ted, Christy, Dirk Bockelmann, Peter Light
Sometimes you should quit while you’re ahead.
After an awesome spring, with thirteen different 14er ski descents, it was Memorial Day weekend, and as much as we had all seen the snow levels diminish rapidly, we thought maybe we could get one more. Independence Pass opened the day before, let’s check out Antero!
After a quick drive over the pass to the Baldwin Creek trailhead, the four of us loaded up in the Tacoma for the bumpy ride up the road. We pushed up to just below 12,000 ft., and saw the direct line up the West Face. It looked OK, apart from the “suncup farm” that is, which we all chose to ignore. At least the snow was firm for cramponing.
It was pretty easy climbing and we were on top before we knew it. Unfortunately, as it sometimes happens, the wind was blowing just enough to keep the snow from softening. With my camera having crapped out on me earlier, there was not much to be missed insofar as pictures went. It was a terrible ski descent. The lower we got, the deeper the frozen suncups were, and hitting them broadside would put you down as quickly as a beginner snowboarded catches and edge– not fun.
A broken camera, jarred head, neck and spine, as well as a bruised ego or two, we all headed back to Aspen— that would be the end of the ’04 spring season.
We pulled into the Die Hard crag on the way home to rock climb- after all it was practically June. Everyone else has their skis put away by now. We did too.
It would be nice to get Antero with better snow someday.