follow us:
Shoulders of Giants is closed. Click here for more information
Cycle / June 26, 2016

Mount Antero: A Journey To Higher Grounds

Written by: Seth Beckton

Pedal, push, hike, climb, repeat. These are a few of the mandatory moves needed to get to the top of a Colorado 14er with your mountain bike. I am not going to lie, you end up hiking and carrying your bike to the top of most of these mountains.

They are rugged, the trails are not built with mountain bikers in mind and the grade is well… Steep! Perfect for those who are interested in fitness and even better for those who love to ride steep technical terrain and have a good time doing it.

 

The idea of mountain biking a 14er was pretty simple; living in the mountains you are surrounded by incredible people accomplishing these huge mountain ventures. As a mountain biker you are limited to the spaces where you can use your “mechanized vehicle”. With desire to stand atop tall peaks with huge descents, we found ourselves look towards the tallest peaks. If you like mountain biking in the Rockies, this likely sounds like a dream.

After a bit of research on what peaks our “mechanized vehicles” are allowed and after some debate, it was settled on which peaks are truly legal to mountain bike. We gathered beta from another group of altitude enthusiasts and like minded individuals who had already ridden Antero, @Bikethe14ers. Afterwards Flynn George, Erik Hall and I planned the adventure of Antero. We camped at the foot of the Collegiate Peaks in eager anticipation for the morning.

Mt. Antero is a prominent 14,276-foot (4351.4 m) peak located in San Isabel National Forest, 12 miles (19.6 km) southwest by south of the Town of Buena Vista in Chaffee County, Colorado. The mountain is named in honor of Chief Antero of the Uintah band of the Ute people.

 

Getting an early morning start is key when planning to summit any 14er. Summer afternoons are subject to fast moving weather including wind, rain, sleet, snow, hail and lighting. So the idea is to get up and be on top and make moves towards lower elevation as early in the day as possible.

The route was simple; up one drainage, climb some switchbacks, summit Antero and go back down a different drainage to the trailhead. The adventure covered just over 19 miles total, but it was far from easy.  Remember those repeated steps I was talking about? Pedal, push, hike, climb, repeat. Well that happens a lot  and when you think it’s just about over, the steep part really kicks in, and then it gets technical.

If you’re interested, you better be ready for the pain cave. There is something about putting yourself into these situations that does something in your mind that you find yourself craving the next one. Even with all the pain and soreness this type of ride brings, you will crave more.

“Pedal, push, hike, climb, repeat ”

We gave the map one last review at the trailhead then headed up Brown’s Creek which took us up the valley, across a few streams, through dense forest, over and around Mount White and towards the top of Mount Antero where we hiked, rode, climbed, and scrambled to the peak of the day. After a quick nap at 14,276 ft it was time to flip the pedal assist into party mode and let gravity take over.

During the first part of the descent you are on a fairly wide area for about 1,000 vertical feet with nothing but rock. Did I mention sharp rocks? One sliced my tire at the height of downhill enjoyment but it was all good though as we prepared for this sort of thing. A quick tube and tire patch, and it was game on again.

This mind blurring fast descent leads you down to a somewhat hidden singletrack. Due to lack of use, repair and maintenance this thing is raw, which is one of the benefits to riding 14ers. Raw trails- things mountain bike dreams are made of. The beginning of Little Brown’s Creek trail is steep, loose and full of baby heads with some tough line choices. The rest of the trail is more flowy with a few downed trees and some short punchy climbs. The ride finishes up with clinking beer bottles at the trailhead and reviewing gopro footage reliving those glory moments.

With the thrill and exhaustion of riding one of the 14 available 14ers to mountain bikes, the plans have been set into motion to ride the rest. There is one known person, Justin Reiter an olympic athlete, having completed all 14. The lure of these mountains is more than just fun. With that being said, the mountains are calling and I must go.

In the future we might not have these opportunities to ride bikes on 14ers without permits and more verbiage. However, if the land battle that is currently happening takes a turn and more wilderness areas become open to ride, our adventures into the backcountry seeking raw trail and new high places will increase. Huray!

Checkout Stainable Trail Coalition for informaiton on how to help win the good fight in gaing access to adventure with our bicycles.

 

Pedal, push, hike, climb, repeat.

The reward for all your efforts is an amazing long decent.

share
about the author

Seth Beckton

Living at altitude is desired by many yet achieved by few. Feeling blessed about his current opportunities to live and work in the mountains of Aspen Colorado, Seth works hard to not waste a moment of adventure. Partaking in activities such as mountain biking, snowboarding, and back-country touring, Seth finds the need to continue pushing personal comfort zones and boundaries. An avid and passionate mountain biker and snowboarder, Seth sets his adventure goals high while maintaining a professional photography career.

read more
hit the outdoors

Sign up for the inside scoop on new products, member discounts and inspiration from our giants.