6:45 a.m. Depart trailhead
8:45 a.m. Saddle at the north end of the drainage
11:15 a.m. Summit
11:40 a.m. Depart Summit
2:45 p.m. Return to Trailhead
Climbing group: Mtgirl, DaveW, Johnson, CDR242, talasman, unclegar
This was my 4th attempt on Tabeguache.
First attempt - On the summit of Shavano by 9:30 a.m. and a thunderstorm out of nowhere said no to the Tabeguache attempt.
Second attempt - Chased my son-in-law up Shavano. I had no gas in the tank to try for Tab. Consolation prize was a glissade down the Angel of Shavano. Huge fun--I highly recommend it.
Third attempt - Different route--West Ridge via Jennings Creek. Problem--I could not find the old Jennings Creek trailhead in the dark at 5:00 a.m. (FS has obliterated the trail head trying to keep people off the SW Ridge) and I started out 1/4 mile to far to the west and went up Cyclone Creek and ended up on Grizzy Mt.
Fourth attempt -- meet up with six other people on 14ers.com who want to try this alternate route up Tab equals SUCCESS.
I scouted the trailhead out the afternoon before the climb (i.e. third attempt where I missed the trailhead in the dark) My odometer measured 7.7 miles from where I turned off of Highway 50 at Maysville (turnoff to the Angel of Shavano Campground). We all meet up at the trailhead--parking is extremely limited--we squeezed about 4-5 cars in on the side of the road.
Day time shot of the trailhead. Note the bushes that are cut off to show 15-20 stobs sticking up just at the start of the trail.
Note the bark taken off half of the tree at the trailhead.
I took off about 15 minutes in front of the rest of the group so that I would not be holding anyone up.
It was a fairly straight forward first two hour part of the route going up the Jennings Creek drainage. Once at the top of the drainage there is an obvious swoosh looking trail up the scree below the lowest part of the saddle between Carbonate Peak and the West Ridge of Tabeguache.
I'm standing in the saddle for a shot of the first two of the group to catch me.
Once we made the top of the saddle we still had a couple of miles to the summit with 50 MPH slamming us from the north. The saddle area and beyond was just like a venturri (not Jessie Venturri) that funneled some serious wind right at us for the long ridge climb. The temperature on the ridge was probably in the 30's but with the wind chill, Camel-back hoses were freezing up and I was putting every piece of clothing and wind protection on that was in the pack. It was some brutal wind for an hour and a half up the ridge.
Standing on the saddle, looking toward Tab. That's the large false summit. It will be awhile before you see the summit..
Talusman and Barry Johnson about to summit. They kinda looked like twins with the same coat on.
Here I am taking one more big breath before making the summit. That ridge at the top of the picture is the route from which we have come.
Gotta fly the flags on the summit!
Here's the group picture on the summit. Left to right: Talasman, Unclegar, DaveW, 4HClimber, Barry Johnson, mtgirl, CDR242
Given the brutal wind that we experienced coming up the West Ridge, the conditions on the summit were great, Just enough wind to fly the flags.
Tradition--Beanie Weanies on the summit. Want to know why you should eat Beanie Weanies on the summit? So you don't run out of gas on the way dow
On the way down, looking toward the large false summit. You can see that I am bringing up the rear. Maybe because of the Beanie Weanies on the summit.
Looking back toward the summit.
Dave W close to the summit
Don't think that you are getting off easy by trying this route instead of the standard route over Shavano. This was no walk in the park kind of route. The second half of the route is a couple mile ridge walk with no trail and boo coo rock hopping. I would say that this route is the toughest class 2 14er climb in the Sawatch for sure. But then again, maybe my geezerness is catching up to me. Anyone thinking about this route needs to try and stay off of the Old SW Ridge route that is closed because of erosion issues.
For someone who likes to hike solo, I had a great day with the six people in my group for the day. You were all great hiking partners.
And how about a hand for Bill M for making a web site like this possible, where we can get people together to better enjoy this passion for the mountains that we share.
Great to get Tab off the list in my fourth attempt!