Antares Peak & Pt. 10249

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A snowy drive up Muldoon Creek to Antares Peak nets amazing views.

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I had wanted to visit these peaks ever since spotting them from a trip to Drummond Peak. So with that in mind, we had watched the weather carefully all week and were relieved to see that the predicted storm hadn't dropped much snow. With a sunny day promised (but below-zero temps) we were excited to go. Michael's friend Scott had just flown in from Brazil via Houston, so he wasn't too sure about the temps. Or the altitude. Plus, Scott needed some warmer boots.

We rolled out of town right at 5:20am, and were on our feet at 9:30. It was almost 12° (balmy!) and Scott was wearing his brand-new boots.

In the picture, you can see the top of Antares peaking out over the sagebrush-covered hillside on the left.

Trailhead

As we stomped off through the sagebrush, the ~4" of powdery snow was quite slippery underfoot. But we quickly climbed above the inversion layer to find the air was still, and quite a bit warmer.

Starting up the ridge

We were mushing along pretty hard to make up for our late start. It wasn't long until we got a good look at our objective: Antares Peak.

Actually, we were thinking of doing more, but agreed that summitting Antares would make for a great day.

Michael had been reading the new Ed Viestur book and remarked that with a little distortion, this peak resembled K2. I was surprised that at this altitude, Michael was already hypoxic.

Antares Peak

But to get to Antares, we first had to climb the ridge to what we dubbed the "Snodome," the snowy dome to the left of Antares. This sub-peak is 10,249'.

By this time Scott's new boots were starting to bite, so when we found a patch of bare ground we all sat down while Scott taped up. And we all marveled at the scenery.

More ridge

As we neared the Snodome, its summit was drastically foreshortened. What had appeared to be a 10 or 15' high cornice was closer to 5'. In showshoes, it was a bit tricky to get over the lip, and I wasn't sure what the other side might be like. It had a sharp edge that worked as a handhold to hoist myself up for this view along its summit ridge.

You can also see the saddle to which we had to drop. I can't remember the Super Dave rules for prominence... is it 200 or is it 300'? Whatever, we decided Point 10259 made a cool peak on its own. When Scott got here he decided he'd had enough. Michael and I continued on.

Spine of the Snodome and Antares

This shot of the final ridge up Antare was taken during our descent, but you can probably still see it was plenty steep (Michael is in the picture somewhere). Michael stayed on his snowshoes up to the base of the rock, but I took mine off. The snow was intermittently soft powder and hard-packed old snow that I could barely kick into.

The rocky finish was interesting. Like the snow below, it was very variable. But it seemed to be holding the loose rocks together pretty well as we clambered up them in preference of the occasional crotch-deep powder hole. We just tried to stay out of one another's fall line.

Nearing the summit scramble

Once again we were wondering what sort of summit ridge we were going to have to deal with. As it turned out, it wasn't bad at all, but again foreshortened (this is shot looking back from the summit). The first glance said 200 yards. As we started walking on it, we realized it was closer to 200 feet.

Looking back across the summit ridge

It was 2:15 when we got to the top. With the low sun in this season, it seemed a lot later. I think I checked my watch about four times trying to calculate if I was going to be using my headlamp to find the car.

The Tom Lopez book says, "Expect great views on the summit." Even with Tom's warning, these exceeded my expectations.

Summit
Our original plan had us traversing over to include Peak 10650. We didn't have time, but after looking at the connecting ridge, we weren't sure we would have atemtped it, regardless. Peak 10650
But if we were real men, we would have done that and continued across the ridge to Scorpion Peak, and then tested a possible route down the right-hand ridge line. Scorpion Peak

This is the much more friendly view back down to the Snodome and our return route.

And below is a small sample of the great views. It took us a while to figure everything out from this new perspective, but eventually we named most of the summits in the main Pioneers.

On the way down, the day's sun and warm temps had already melted out a lot of the gravel on our route and most of the snow had fallen out of the sage brush lower down. We were racing the clock and sinking sun. The car was dropped into the freezing shade about 10 minutes before we got to it. But thankfully, the headlamp stayed in the pack.

Looking down on the Snodome
Pioneer Panorama

Mr. Natural Home | 2009 | Back to top of page | Questions :: e-mail to splattski