14er Ski Season Begins: Mt. Antero Ski Descent

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Date: December 1, 2009
Partner: Matt Kamper
Route: Ascent of West Ridge, ski descent of Southeast Bowl to West Face
Numbers: 10 miles, 5350‘ climbed, 5300‘ skied

After seeing a trip report on 14ers.com which told the story of new snow in the Southern Sawatch, Matt and I decided a trip down to Mt. Antero was in order.  This would end up being the first 14er ski descent of the 09/10 season for both of us.  Matt and I were more than ready to get back on the horse.

We met up at Bongo Billy’s in Buena Vista and motored up to the Antero Road where we geared up and set off around 7:00am.  Already we were optimistic about the day as it appeared we would be able to ski all the way back to the truck, not bad for December 1st!  Matt and I made quick work of the road  and arrived at the Baldwin Lake/Antero Road Fork at 8:30am. Here we gave into the temptation to break off the standard route and head directly up the West Ridge, this route is not recommended for mid-winter travel but this time of year, it works great.

Heading for the West Ridge on a bluebird day in the Sawatch.

Eventually we were greeted by the sun, a beautiful December day this was turning out to be.

Skin track and Cronin.

Around 13,500′ we were forced to give up the skinning and throw our skis on our backs.  A few steep pitches kept us on our toes.


After a talus hopping fun fest, Matt and I arrived at the summit.  I broke out my Jetboil and cooked up some noodles, nothing like a hot brew as you look out over the Arkansas River Valley from the summit of a 14er.

Arriving at the summit. Photo by Matt.

This was just a gorgeous day to be in the mountains; almost no wind at the summit and clear, blue skies as far as the eye could see.

Matt on the summit, the Northern Sangres make a great backdrop.

Eventually it was time to crank down the Dynafits and get this thing skied.  We headed south off the summit and down the East Ridge a hundred feet or so, then traversed skier’s right and connected up with the Southeast Bowl.

Matt getting some turns high in the Southeast Bowl.

We regrouped a bit lower down at the saddle and dropped in on twenty or so soft, creamy turns.  These were the best turns of the day by far.

Matt again, note the two day old ski tracks.

Photo by Matt.

Nearing the end of the real skiing.

We skied to the bottom of the bowl around 13,300′, the snow was excellent all the way down.  Once at the bottom, we took a long break and ate some food before slapping the skins back on for the hike out.  We had around 500′ to re-ascend up to the saddle, from there we’d be able to ski the West Face back to the road and out.

Looks like a long ways up and away.

Last bit of vert.

Once at the saddle, we geared up for the ski down the West Face.  The skiing on this side of the peak varied between boilerplate up high and recycled powder down low in the gully.

Turns on the West Face, the sun waning on the horizon.

We linked back up with the road and skied the remaining three miles of snowmobile track back to the truck, arriving just after dark.  Another peak in the bag, thanks for a good one, Matt!

3 thoughts on “14er Ski Season Begins: Mt. Antero Ski Descent

  1. Antero Salojärvi

    I just found out that there mountain called Antero in Colorado. (As is my name)
    I am from Finland and we tend to ski in Norway and Central Europe.
    I was just playing with the idea to make a ski trip to Mt Antero and maybe some other peaks nearby.
    What would be the best time of year for for skiing there?

    1. Ben Post author

      Hello Antero! I’ve heard of the Finnish roots of the word Antero before. Thanks for the comment. In 2009 there happened to be enough snow to ski our Mt. Antero on December 1st, but I would not consider that to be the norm. Typically you will find decent skiing in our backcountry between late-April and early-June. If you happen to be skiing in the area, check out the North Face of Cronin Peak in addition to Antero, or the Grand Couloir on Mt. Aetna further to the south. Both are worthwhile backcountry ski lines.


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