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