June 10, 2001
& Sam the Wolfdog
The day before we had
climbed Mount Princeton--a hard climb where we lost the trail early on and
for a big part of the ascent were doing class II & class III climbing.
That night we pitched our tent by the truck instead of looking for a camping
site. We were exhausted.
With the previous day
experience, the balls of both my feet had huge blisters (I made the mistake
of wearing old running socks with my climbing boots) and one of Sam's paws
was injured. Steve was the only one without "complaints". Sam and
I were ready for an easier day. Steve enticed me with Mount Antero. He had
a double intention, (1) have me summit another 14er and (2) go up again himself
(he has climbed Antero before) to visualize his August 2001 goal to finish
fourteen 14ers in 60 hours in Nolan's 14--an adventure race.
This time we needed to
drive some of the four-wheel drive road up to 10,000' before starting. Any
other time, I would have agreed to go up right from the highway, but this
time, my blisters were too painful...felt a little bit like a wimp...Sam &
I are not wimps, we are heroes!! Driving on the road is not good for nature
and one misses the opportunity to become more fit.
This time we would do
a much easier climb (hike). We went up the Baldwin Gulch trail--a 4 wheel-drive
road. Up to approximately 3/4 mile before the summit it is "Class 1",
after it becomes "Class 2"...at which point I would call it a...
When we arrived at the trail head around 8:00 am there was only one other
car parked there. I thought we would be lucky again and climb by ourselves.
I like solitude the most, especially around nature...I don't like it when
trails become like "malls", which often happens.
We still needed to get all our bags ready, shoes and stuff. During this time
we saw four more cars pull up. I could not believe how crowded this poor area
was becoming. The day before we saw not a soul; today, it seemed we were going
to have a party! I still planned to have a good day. The day was clear, sunny
We parked the truck a
few feet away from the trail head, but needed to cross a river to get to it.
The water was chilly, burr... AsI am little and petite, my shorts got wet
as well. Sam did not mind the water. Steve got wet only on his long "Kenyan"
legs. We hid our sandals behind some bushes. While all this was happening,
two couples had started up the road already...we were taking too long to do
anything...as we usually do when we are not being pressured by the company
of others or the start gun of a race.
I was thinking that we were going to be hiking with all of these people. This
would be a different adventure, accepting "mall" style hiking. To
my surprise, we passed the first couple after only ten steps. A couple big
trucks passed. One looked like they were going to camp on Brown's Lake, over
the pass in between Antero and Tabeguache. We thought they were cheating...of
course they were not, they just had different plans than we.
then passed another couple. I felt better that, after all, we would be having
a more isolated "hike". Sam was not acting like his usual self. Normal
for him getting too excited when we run or climb with him. He tends to pull
on his leash too hard or if not leashed will go "freelancing". This
time, even off leash he walked along beside us all the time due to his injured
When we reached around 12,000', we saw another party of four walking (two males
and two females). They were from one of the trucks that we saw previously. They
had parked their car around 11,500. One of the women was injured as well; plus,
she did not really hike or climb. Their friends decided to leave her after a
few feet up. One of the guys was accomplishing his 50th 14er and the other his
6th (as was I). We never asked the other female how many she had done. They
had climbed Columbia and Harvard the previous day. Steve remarked to the guy
doing his 50th (whose name was Sam as well) that he was not going to get credit
for this mountain since he had started less than 3000' from the summit. Sam
did not seem to care too much.
This group was much slower than we as well, so we were able to continue our
mostly solitary climb...Except for the, I lost the count, multiple vehicles
passing us. Luckily, a big chunk of snow in the middle of the road stopped them
all...poof: many turned around and many had to start their day walk.
of the cars had a couple young men and two dogs--and an odor of marijuana ...I
guess, sometimes you can get away with whatever you want to in your car. Even
high in the mountains (no pun intended).
After all these people, cars and the pile of snow...finally, we were hiking
alone. We were now able to feel all the beauty of nature, mountains, sky, snow
and the wind and warming sun. We then met the first group of people who had
arrived to the trail head before us. They were several guys that Steve called
"rock hounds"-- a new word for me. I would have named them "rock
finders". Anyway, because of the activity they were engaged in, they were
taking their time to summit. We passed them and soon after we were faced with
the class 2 portion of the climb. Steve calls this mountain a "pile of
rocks"; well, he's right.
The day before I had suffered coming down from a big and long scree field of
loose rocks. This time I saw the rocks and the snow and thought "oh no,
we are only wearing our running shoes with no ice axe". I decided to take
the risk and just do it. As it turned out, the rocks were pretty solid and the
climb was easy. Sam who had been hiking all along with us, decided to take the
snow route all the way up, reaching the top before us. Steve who does much better
on snow decided to go up by walking part on the snow and part on the rocks.
I like feeling "safer" and went up the rocks.
We summited in two hours, 29 minutes. The wind cooled things off, but it was
sunny and beautiful. We took a bunch of pictures and I took lessons from Steve
on the geography. Our new found friends (the two guys and a woman) arrived after
another twenty minutes. They took pictures of us, while we returned the favor.
Our descent was unadventurous and my blisters, despite of doing fine on the
way up, now built a longer blister on the right foot. Sam is still injured (6/16).
Steve is already planning (and encouraging me to go along) our next trip.