May 27, 2000
With Memorial holiday giving us an extra day I was hoping for a bigger than normal adventure…but Brian couldn’t pull off two nights out. We had to make do with a single day with an early start.
Brian suggested Antero, with the idea that we could get a good ski descent. Since Antero was one of the few unclimbed Northern Colorado 14ers on my list, I loved the idea.
The drive up, which started late due to my tardy arrival, was interrupted by a missed highway turnoff and an accident that closed the highway for an hour. To make use of the time and avoid eating dinner after midnight, we got out the stove and made dinner on the side of the road. And, it still might have turned out okay, except the approach road was very long and slow going. We made it to 11,300′ before stopping to setup camp; we settled in for sleep at 1am. With a 5am wakeup call forthcoming, it would be a short night.
We started moving at 5:30am and took 3 hours to ascend from camp at 11,300′ to the Mt Antero summit at 14,269′. We followed the winding road up, but didn’t trust where it led after passing the summit ridge; we followed the ridge to the summit. Unfortunately, we also discovered that there wasn’t any snow left on Antero except for a thin strip about 50 feet wide and 500 feet tall on the southern ridge leading to the summit.
We enjoyed the summit for a short time and discussed our options for the day.
Since we couldn’t get our ski descent, we decided we’d head over to a tall peak across Baldwin Gulch that had a very nice snow covered eastern slope. But we had to hurry since the snow had been in the sun since dawn.
We descended Antero following the old mining road which turned out to lead to the final stretch of the summit ridge. Once at the start of the switchbacks, we left the mining road and headed around the cirque toward the unnamed peak.
The progress was good until we got to the exposed scree & talus on the SE ridge of the unnamed peak. It was murder for tired legs.
We found the summit to be protected by a weird cornice that required crawling over to get to the top of the peak. I needed a rest, but with the sun burning on the snow, we stopped only momentarily before setting off for the steep descent slope.
As we feared, the snow was soft, and possibly dangerous. After a short pow-wow, we decided we’d proceed…with the extra precaution of staying on opposite sides of the face and only skiing one at a time. The snow turned out to be great, and we had a great time descending 1800′ in only a few minutes.
The hike out was mercifully short; we made it back to camp at 1:30pm for an 8 hour, 8 mile, and 4000′ day.
And sometimes, one day is enough.
In the years afterward, I came to believe that the peak had an unofficial name, “North Carbonate”. And, just recently, I discovered that the officially unnamed peak got an official name in 2005…it is now called Cronin Peak.
Formerly known as “North Carbonate”, this mountain now has an official name, approved by the Department of Interior in May 2005. Cronin Peak is named in honor of Mary Cronin (1893-1982) who in 1921 became the first woman to climb all the fourteen-thousand foot peaks in Colorado. ~summitpost