View Full Version : Mount Antero and Hancock Lake - July 1 and 2

July 7th, 2006, 11:25 PM
A friend and I camped at Mt. Princeton FS campground for a few nights last week. Campfires were banned in the FS campground due to fire danger. We sat in the dark until late, drinking beer, talking story, counting satellites. The fire is always the focus, and without it we stared at the sky. It was cool.

Saturday, 9am. The road to Mt. Antero climbs quickly from the Chalk Creek valley and County Rd. 162. It begins as a forested shelf road cut into the side of Boulder Mountain. The shelf road is wide, bumpy, and not difficult. After a mile or two, the road meets the creek at the bottom of Baldwin gulch. Embedded basketball-sized rocks protrude from the road. Still, the road is not difficult. The road splits about 2 miles up from CR62. To the left is Mt. Antero. To the right is Baldwin Lake. Mt. Antero comes first.

We continue through the thinning evergreens for a mile before reaching tree line and the start of the lower switchbacks up Mt. Antero. The trail is smooth and narrow. The switchbacks are tight. I would not drive this road wet and I would not drive a full-size rig up here, though I?m sure many do. This picture was taken at the top of the switchbacks. A nameless 13K ft. peak rises above the top of Baldwin Gulch.

The road curves around the flank of Mt. Antero. The road's upper switchbacks come into view near a convenient turn-around point. I am 1400 ft. below the 14K ft. summit of Antero. For the brave, the road continues another 1000 ft. up the mountain on what looked to be a difficult and disintegrating road bed on the edge of the world.

Mt. White, 13.6K ft. tall, is immediately south of Mt. Antero. A road leads to within a few hundred feet of Mt. White?s summit. Look close, 2 jeeps are parked on the flat near the top. The 14K ft. peaks of Shavano and Tabegauche can be seen to the right.

I drive to Mt. White and park on the flat. This picture is looking back at the the upper switchbacks on Mt. Antero?s south slope. There is a rig on top of the switchbacks. It looked like a full-size truck with a camper shell to me. Amazing. The 14, 269 ft. peak of Mt. Antero is on the right.

Browns Creek is a long way down.

I follow the trail off Mt. White and onto the flank of Mt. Antero. The top of Brown?s Creek gulch is on the left as I near my descent back into Baldwin Gulch. It?s past 11am and a large thunderstorm is building from the west. We make it down Antero's lower switchbacks, through the trees, and back to the intersection with the Baldwin Lake road. I turn left and drive a mile up the rocky and beautiful road to Baldwin Lake when lightning strikes the trees not far from the Jeep . The huge boom motivates me into a 3-point turn at first chance and we motor back to camp for beers. I?ll visit Baldwin Lake some other day.

St. Elmo on a bright Sunday morning. We are on our way to Hancock Lake.

The Cash Williams Building, 1881.

The Pushor Building, 1885

Doors and windows of St. Elmo.

The ghost town looks to be in great condition.

A few miles of easy driving on the pockmarked Hancock Road bring us to the famous and precarious Allie Belle Mine building.

The road to the lake narrows past the turn-off with Hancock Pass. Embedded rocks poke through the soft road bed. It is an easy, but bumpy drive to the top. The road ends in a lush green basin just above tree line. Hancock Lake is a hundred yard walk from here.

The view of the basin surrounding Hancock Lake. The lake is just over the rise.

Just spectacular fishing. We didn?t catch a thing, but that wasn?t the point of being here. We were far from the daily grind and life was good. At noon, a thunderous boom woke us from the dream and chased us back to camp and beer. This sublime adventure had come to an end.

July 11th, 2006, 02:55 PM
great post and pics this one should be on 4x4trails :D

July 11th, 2006, 03:31 PM
You should have had no problem negotiating the upper Mt. Antero switchbacks in you Rubi. Just lock in the diffs as soon as you have any trouble. :) I've had a stock '86 4Runner past the crux a couple of times.

July 11th, 2006, 06:24 PM
Man, it's been a year since i've been up there. I remember fishing hancock lake and doing well with grasshopper imitations, no idea why. But it was good fly fishing.

Very nice pics by the way!