Mt. Antero (14269') Jog/Hike
5300' gain, 15M RT
On the way to Leadville for pacing, I was looking for a way to get up high without risking some weird injury or getting lost or something, so I picked the obvious and straightforward Mt. Antero, which has a 4x4 dirt road that goes nearly to the top, with less than a mile of hiking on talus.
Coincidentally, I had my mt. bike with me, but made a final decision to jog/hike instead of biking. Was this a good decision? Some data points to "Yes."
First, the lower few miles (before treeline) are essentially similar to a rocky streambed, full of loose babyheads, with enough steepness to make hike-a-bike likely. So I was more content with a steady jog. Above treeline, though, the road actually gets smoother, which makes it rideable uphill and likely a quick downhill. In fact, I then saw a mt. biker steadily climbing on his bike, with his dog trotting by his side.
But, I was able to catch up to the cyclist. We greeted each other and he told me about seeing me on the way down. Ah, the familiar challenge. While not overly fast, my only other goal was to jog every step to the end of the road. This got tough on some of the steeper stuff near the top, but was manageable.
Next was a short section along the talus ridge, and then the final summit hump. This wasn't very fast for me, especially in slippery new Hokas which I don't like (separate review later) and ended up returning, but soon I had the summit to myself. I spent 10 minutes eating and calling J (cell reception up there).
On the way down, I saw the cyclist and his dog just starting the ridge, so the challenge was on to run steady. And I suppose to break 4 hours, as I was now at about 2.5 hours. (I'm guessing fast dudes would be well into the 2's roundtrip). I made it down just before 4 hours, but more importantly, never saw the cyclist again. (Hope he didn't have a mechanical or other issue).
So as a non-expert mt. biker with a hardtail, based on the chunkiness of the lower parts of the road, I'm glad I went with foot travel instead.
Otherwise, I had trouble finding a decent free campsite anywhere near the TH, although pay campgrounds and decent mt. biking trails are otherwise available in the vicinity of nearby mining ghost towns. However, after cracking open a cold Crow Peak Cream Ale that Chris brought me from South Dakota, I decided to check out Agnes Vaille Falls for the first time, a short 0.5 mile hike that I would not otherwise seek out, but seemed like a good, quick diversion.
The waterfall was legit, especially for Colorado. I also enjoyed several dayhikers telling me I was "almost there" on the 0.5M hike.