| Tabequache, Shavano and pt 13,712 from the NW side
Since we took a not-so-popular route up Tabequache and Shavano, I decided to write a trip report. We hiked Mt. Antero and Cronin Peak in July and kept looking at Tab & Shav to the south. There is a nice saddle between Tabeguache and Carbonate Mtn. that caught our eyes. It looked like we could take our ATV over the Antero/Cronin saddle and down into the valley and hike from there. Just cruise up the saddle between Tab/Carbonate, hike the ridge to Tab, then continue around to Shavano. The thought went to the back of our minds until we decided the weather was going to be really nice again, so we had to go out hiking!
Before we left, I did some probing on the forum for information on heading up the saddle between Tabaguache and Carbonate Mtn. barryraven and a few others had excellent information, so we hit the road feeling confident in our decision. We drove to the lower Antero trailhead, parked our big truck, unloaded the ATV, packed on our gear then took off up the road. We cruised up and over the saddle just west of Antero, then dropped down into the valley towards Brown's Creek. Roach's book has routes described that go up Tabaguache's NE slopes. That looked like a rough route and we were set on the NW slope, so we set up camp on the west side of the valley just off the 4x4 road. We were warned of knee-deep swampy ground on the NW side, so we scouted it out the night before. There was definitely plenty of swampy ground!
Everything in the willows was swampy and mucky
With the initial scouting done, we double checked our way points to go around the swamp, then we crashed. Since we wouldn't be following a trail, we started at 6:00am (one of our latest starts besides Culebra). We stayed on higher ground as we went up the valley, then when it looked dry enough, we made a bee-line for the tundra slope that leads up the NW side of Tabeguache.
The tundra slope that heads up the saddle
The tundra slope was steep, but it was easy walking. Once on the saddle between Tabeguache and Carbonate, we started the long trek across the rocks towards Tab's summit. We went around to the south side of the ridge and kept a diagonal path. We thought we'd run into the Jenning's Creek trail fairly soon, but it's actually a lot farther along than we thought. The rocks on Tabeguache are fairly solid, so it wasn't too bad. Just lots of rock hopping.
Headed across the rocky slope
Almost to the summit of Tabeguache looking back at the SW slope we crossed
Eventually we came across more of a trail which helped speed us up. After a few false summits, we finally saw the true one ahead! We didn't realize how long of a traverse it was across Tab to get to the summit.
The summit of Tabequache Peak
Once on top, we relaxed and enjoyed the sunshine with another couple who had hiked up from Jenning's Creek. They were celebrating their 10th anniversary with a nap in the sun.
Tabeguache Peak summit shot
After a nice visit and a snack, we took off towards Shavano. There's nothing overly exciting about the traverse - just more rocks with a little bit of a trail here and there. There was a little bit of snow from the night before, but nothing to slow us down. It took us an hour to get over to Mt. Shavano's summit and there were about 6-8 people up there who came up the standard route.
Headed up Mt. Shavano
After another snack, photos and more visiting, we started back down the trail. Thanks to a friend getting us the 13ers book, my husband decided we might as well make it a loop and hit pt 13,712 while we're there. After all - it was right there! We took a NE diagonal path off Shavano to the saddle between Tabequache and pt 13,712.
Headed off Shavano and over to pt 13,712
There was more rock hopping, but it went pretty quick. Once we were on the saddle, we went east and up even more rocks to pt 13,712 (#140). I think we spent 1-2 minutes up there, then quickly started to head down since we had quite a ways to go to get back to our camp spot and the clouds were rolling in.
Our start/camping spot in the valley below
Roach has a route that goes up the NE side of Tabequache so I was excited to possibly have a trail to go back down. We got to the saddle and looked down at the route to come and there was no real trail in sight - sigh... What did we see? More rocks!
The NE slope off Tabeguache that leads to Browns Creek
The rocky slope headed off Tabequche was a bit of a bear. There were some loose sections, some that weren't so loose and it was plenty steep. I definitely would not want to hike up this slope.
Our route down the NE slope
Off the main rocky slope and skirting the N side of Tabeguache
We knew we wanted to try and stay high on the north side of Tabequache to avoid the any swampy areas in the willows or a long hike on the road. Once we got to the bottom of the rock slide area, we got into the trees and followed game trails around the side of the mountain. It was so nice to be on soft dirt trails! We got to a point where the road was close and the stream was narrow with hardly any swampy stuff around, so we crossed the stream and got back on the 4x4 road. We followed the road back to our camp site and enjoyed the view of the valley below and what we had accomplished.
Almost back to our starting point, looking down the valley
As we packed up and went back up the 4x4 road, we took some pictures to show the entire route.
Panorama with our route in yellow
Our GPS route mapped into Google Earth
The final elevation profile
Thumbnails for uploaded photos (click to open slideshow):