First off, many thanks to Scott P for organizing this fun gathering - it was great to meet some new climbers and share the mountain with so many great people. Avoiding the eroded sections of the old route and climbing the west ridge proper certainly made this a memorable climb, and this route seems to be much more sustainable than the old one appears to have been.
Benfromtheeast, Paige and myself drove out of Denver Friday evening in an attempt to make it close to the trailhead and camp. After about a mile of dirt, CR 240 gets somewhat loose and rough, so we opted to pull off to the side of the road and camp in a nice pine grove with Scott P and his son Kessler. We awoke Saturday morning, hopped into the Chevy Avalanche with SurfNTurf, ChrisInAZ and Breanna, and made our way up the remaining ~4 miles of road to the trailhead.
There isn't anywhere to camp in the vicinity of the trailhead, but the cars of other climbers easily gave it away. Parking is also limited, but we managed to grab a spot just up the road, and set off at the leisurely hour of 8:15am.
The trail climbs easily from the road and breaks treeline quickly. Instead of heading up the slopes of Tab shortly after, as the old route seemed to do, this one meanders through the basin, slowly gaining elevation as it approaches the Tab / Carbonate saddle.
The trail weaves up through the basin
Jeff and Brianna leading the way
Some nice peaks to the south
Climbing towards the sun...it was chilly and windy!
The group takes a break just below the saddle
Once we gained the ridge, we followed interspersed trail segments through the scree and talus toward the first false summit (PT 13,935?). Sometimes we were able to follow a loosely defined trail, while at other points it was easier just to walk over the loose rock.
Looking up the ridge toward Tab from the saddle
Sevenvii, Kessler and ChrisInAZ heading up from the saddle
Looking down the ridgeline
The summit finally appears, but not before a number of ups and downs along the ridge
The gang coming up the summit ridge
ChrisInAZ along the summit ridge
While traversing the ridge, we met Johnson, Unclegar and 4HClimber coming down. Guys, it was great meeting you!
There is some cool exposure along the north side of the ridge
We reached the summit around noon after a relaxing and beautiful climb. While it had been quite windy for most of the ascent, it was actually pretty calm on the summit.
Scott P taking in the view from the top
Ben and Paige on the descent
SurfNTurf recounting something funny here, but in my altitude fatigued state I have forgotten what it was
On the way up, ChrisInAZ pointed out that you can see every range from the Tab summit, in addition to all three ultra prominent peaks. This was pretty sweet to see...the San Juans looked so close!
Shavano and the Northern Sangres
Mount Ouray to the south
Looking back along the ridge
Yours truly beginning the ridge descent
Antero and Princeton from the ridge - we could see a person on top of Antero from here, very cool!
ChrisInAZ heading down the ridge
Kessler talking about Capitol, climbing Everest, climbing with dislocated fingers or MarioKart...all in a days work!
Once reaching the saddle, it is a short scree slide and then and easy stroll out to the cars
Looking back toward the saddle
Scott P and company descending the drainage
On the descent, we enjoyed talking to Kessler (Scott P's son) about the other 14ers he's climbed, his mountaineering goals for the future, and his thoughts on video games along with a plethora of other things. It was great to climb with such a big crew, and nice to meet some new faces. Hoping to see everyone out in the hills again soon.
Oh, and thanks again to Scott P for getting this climb started!
If anyone has questions about the climb or this route, feel free to PM me.