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 14er skied before we put the skis away. Independence Pass had just opened for the season and a Sawatch peak seemed like a good objective– 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 managed to drive to just below 12,000 ft. and saw the direct line up the West Face. It looked OK from below, although we did see a lot of suncupping of the snow, which we all chose to ignore. At least the snow was firm for cramponing.
It was pretty easy climbing on the late spring firm snow, and we were on top before we knew it. Unfortunately, as it sometimes happens, the wind blew just enough to keep the snow from softening. With my camera malfunctioning on me earlier, there was little to be missed insofar as pictures went. It was a terrible ski descent. The lower we got, the more pronounced the frozen suncups were, and hitting them broadside would put you down as quickly as a beginner snowboarder catches an edge. It wasn’t fun at all.
I guess you don’t know the good days without experiencing the bad ones. It would be nice to get Antero with better snow someday.