RT Length: 8.53 miles
Elevation Gain: 3562’
Boy, was that drive in fun! I took LL56 to Bonanza, and then the 862 4WD road. The road was clear to Bonanza, and then the fun began. Notes about 862: It’s narrow, making passing difficult. It’s easy 4WD: In fact, I didn’t put my truck into 4WD (because I couldn’t), but having decent ground clearance was nice. The creek crossing looked more difficult than it was. I’d say the water was 8-10 inches deep.
I parked at the junction of 862 and 8622D. There’s a fence blocking off the road here, next to Kerber Creek.
The trail starts just behind the fence, and follows an old 4WD road and Kerber Creek for .3 miles
At this point the road comes to a ‘T’, and since I made this a loop, I ended up coming back to this spot on my way down. Now however, I turned left, and continued to follow the road south.
I stayed on this road for another .3 miles, and then left the road to head west and bushwhack up to the ridge. As far as bushwhacking goes, it wasn’t too bad: Not a lot of downed trees, so heading west and staying west was easy.
At treeline, there’s a rock outcropping to skirt to the right
And then I followed the ridge northwest.
Once on the ridge I could see Antora Peak to my left
Here’s an overview of the rest of the route to the Antora Saddle.
And some step by step pictures. There is no need to ascend Sheep Mountain at this point, but instead skirt it to the left, staying parallel with the saddle.
Once on the ridge I turned left and followed it southeast to the summit. There were a bunch of game trails here, but I just went straight up the ridge.
I summited Antora Peak at 7:15am
Not sure why I called it Sheep Mountain in the video: Probably because that was what I was viewing and it was in my head. Oh well, this video is actually the view from Antora Peak.
There are fires in the area, so it was a hazy day. I was making this a loop, with Sheep Mountain and Sheep Mountain Northeast.
I headed back towards the Antora/Sheep saddle
And then crossed the tundra and headed up Sheep Mountain. I was glad it was still early and the water still (mostly) frozen on the tundra, otherwise this would have been a sloggy mess
There’s a game trail that goes up the side of Sheep Mountain. It can be hard to see initially, but it’s useful in getting through the initial mound of loose rocks.
Then it was up and over the ridge
The summit had a great view of Mt Ouray to the north
Now to head over to Sheep Mountain Northeast
I hiked northeast, following the ridge
Here’s a look back at Antora Peak and Sheep Mountain
I was able to avoid most of the snow on the ridge towards Sheep Mountain Northeast.
Just before the final ascent I skirted the mountain to the left, following game trails
And then continued northeast to the summit
I walked all over the summit, trying to find the highpoint. It looks like it’s further east than it really is (the first cairn you come to is the actual summit). Here’s looking back at the route
To make this a loop, I hiked a third of a mile southwest, then cut across the tundra, heading east
This led me to a gully. From here I could see Mosquito Lake. I didn’t want to go to the lake, I wanted to find the trail that led back to the 4WD road. Here’s the basic route:
I followed the gully down, crossed some small runoff streams, and kept heading south, looking for a trail.
I actually found a trail, but kept losing and finding it again. It hasn’t been used frequently in years, and there are a lot of game trails here. I’m pretty sure it’s a ranching area as well. At one time it looked like the trails were maintained: they may even have been roads, but now they’re a mess. I knew I was on the right track however, because I kept seeing tree stumps from sawed trees.
Continuing south, I eventually made it to the old road
This road led me back to the junction from earlier this morning. I turned left onto 862 (no signage) and hiked the short distance back to my truck. This area is full of nice irrigation channels.
I made it back to my truck at 10am, making this an 8.53 mile hike with 3562’ of elevation gain in 4.5 hours.
Now to drive out in the daylight. Luckily, it was a Tuesday and I didn’t expect to encounter any other vehicles on the road. I didn’t. The Bonanza Mine was pretty cool.