Mt. Antero (14,269') and N. Carbonate (aka Unnamed 13,870')
Leaders: Steve Doorn and Gina Pasquale
Ruth Lommel, Ellen Kress, Patti
Krueger, Martin Staley, Don McEachern, Norm Hunter, and
Tasha (the fearless climbing dog).
I'm writing this trip report in
hopes that people will appreciate some of Colorado's
I wasn't sure how this trip would
go with so many new climbers signing up! Several had
never been up a 14'er before, but they were certainly
willing and quite able.
We left Friday, after work. After
stopping and shuffling gear and cars at the Espanola
ranger station, we headed to Alamosa for dinner (scary
thought, I know). Decided to try out a restaurant I
hadn't been to in years, the Hideaway (next to the pool
hall). Pasta wasn't too bad, their baked potatoes (from
La Jara, no doubt) were huge, and service for 8 people
was pretty respectable. Quite full, we headed up towards
With the 4WD's, we were able to
drive up to a logistically desirable campsite at a fork
in Baldwin Creek, about 10,800'. Found a wide open
space, near some trees, and everyone had a decent place
for a tent. (There were lots of tents!) Hopefully we
didn't wake up the neighbor camped next door, as we got
in pretty late.
As you know, I like my alpine
starts and told people to shoot for a 6am departure for
Antero. We were all off by 6:15, not bad for 8 people
and a dog! It's a pretty boring walk up Antero along
jeep roads, what can I say. Many people drive up nearly
to the top, and we saw a guy digging for minerals up on
a high saddle (or were they gems?). We all made the
summit and I'm glad we got an early start, for the
weather was deteriorating. We made a fast descent,
keeping just ahead of the imminent downpour.
A few hundred feet down, Steve and
I took a break as we caught up to Norm Hunter. Steve
realized he left his water bottle at the top and we
started to discuss the (monetary) worth of the bottle,
versus the effort required to hike back up to get it,
versus the light rain already falling. Hmmm.... Before
we could come to a conclusion, Norm threw off his pack
and starting sprinting back up the peak. He said
something like "Be right back!". A short time later, he
was back with the bottle and refused to keep it. I knew
that guy had way too much energy, and I felt like a slug
(no pun intended, David).
By the time we reached camp, we
were all soaked. Most retired to their tents for an
afternoon nap. Steve and I brewed up some soups and hot
drinks to keep warm. But, of course, it cleared up in
time for happy hour! Even though these folks were new to
the unofficial "Mountaineer's Adventure", they had
quickly caught on to the Happy Hour concept! After
munchies and beer, we all fired up stoves for dinner.
After viewing the N. ridge on N.
Carbonate that day, and realizing we'd have to climb
part of it, and being unsure of the weather, I wanted an
earlier start. I suggested 5:30am. I was surprised the
next morning to find everyone ready, ON TIME! Yeah!
Being a 13'er (albeit a desirable
"Centennial"), I knew we would have a bit of route
finding. I was not disappointed: we had a nice, long
hike through a (thankfully) not-too-dense forest. No
human trails, only ones the critters created. Nobody
complained about the possibility of getting lost in the
forest (whew!), and we finally emerged at the edge of a
drainage. I could see where we wanted to head to reach
the ridge. But first, over there, a coyote!! What a nice
surprise. Later on we were to see mule deer bouncing
We took a short break before the
final climb to the ridge. Weather was looking fine.
Everyone took their own path and pace to reach the
ridge. Another break to catch our breath and we were on
our way to the summit. The ridge turned out to be quite
the climbing highlight of the trip, plenty of 3rd class
and some exposure too! Everyone made the summit with no
problem and we huddled up as the winds were cold.
For variety (and the fact that I
prefer loop trips), we decided to follow the S. ridge
down before dropping into the drainage holding Baldwin
Lake. I knew it would be a challenge for some of the
beginning climbers, as the descent off the saddle was
steep with loose rock, but everyone was enthusiastic
about the idea. No problems, everyone made it down and
we spent some quiet time by the scenic lake. That was to
change, though (the quiet part).
Seems there was some sort of Jeep
Jamboree going on and Whooppeee! people were jeeping and
ATV'ing up to the lake for lunch. So, we hiked down the
jeep road and allowed the jeeps to pass us. Reaching
camp, we packed up and headed out.
Not wanting the trip to end too soon, Steve and I
suggested a dinner at the posh Angelina's in Espanola on
the way home. Most people had not been there and we told
them "You're in for a real treat now!" They were not
disappointed, thankfully! It was a grand event with
As far as I could tell, everyone
had a great time and I was pleased. They all remarked
how much more fun it was to climb N. Carbonate than
Antero, so...after they climb all the 14'ers they might
just get hooked into climbing more 13'ers too!