| Shav & Tab via Blank Cabin TH
Summit Elevation - 14,229 (Shavano) - 14,155 (Tabeguache)
Elevation Gain: 5550 ft.
Trip Distance: 11.25 miles
Total Round-Trip Climb Time: 9
4WD Required: you could drive a unicycle to this trailhead
Exhaustion Factor (on scale of 1-10, compared to other 14ers): 6
Scenery Factor (on scale of 1-10, compared to other 14ers): 3
Having worked a few weekends ago, Tuesday was a comp day for me, and the forecast for Salida said clear skies. I woke up dark and early (as opposed to bright and early) at 1:30am on Tuesday, packed up shop, and headed down Wadsworth at 2:30am. I didn't have any food for this trip because I'm an absolute dipshit, so I stopped at a 24 hour McDonalds and ate a double cheeseburger and chicken sandwich, that ought to fuel me up! Hopped on C470, to HWY285 ... after about an hour I was very sleepy so I pulled over near Fairplay and took an hour nap so I wouldn't fall asleep at the wheel, this destroyed my projected start time, but safety first. Woke up around 5 and kept on truckin' to County Road 140 (just north of HWY50, near Salida). Hop on that westbound for 2 or 3 miles to County Road 250. This turn wasn't well marked so watch out for it. Head North on 250 for a couple of miles (it turns to gravel shortly) and then come to a Y intersection, go left (West) on CR252 ... probably 5 or 6 miles on this road until you see the signs for the trailhead. There's a very nice parking lot, bathroom, and - in my case - no cars there waiting for you. The trail starts by the bathroom. You actually hike for a good 200 yards and see a sign where the Colorado Trail merges with you, continue on for another 400-500 yards(?) to where the Colorado Trail breaks off from the Shavano trial. Hang a leftie-louie here, sign in, and you're on your way!
I was climbing solo this particular day, no need for a headlamp as I didn't get started until 6:35am. 25 minutes later, I started to sing along to my own version of an Alice in Chains song, as it was the exact setting he spoke of ... "7am, on a Tuesday, In August. Next year, I turn 28, I'm still young". Now, Layne actually says, "Next week I turn 28" ... but how fitting. It was August, it was Tuesday, it was exactly 7am, I was 27 .... neat.
You hike through the trees for awhile, a long while actually. I wasn't in a hurry, so was just walking leisurely. The trail is fairly steep and very rocky, but easy to follow.
About 2 hours into the hike I finally got above timberline and caught a glimpse of a couple working their way up the saddle. You still cannot see the summit from this point. The trail becomes insanely steep here.
I caught up with the couple, it was MissingColorado from 14ers.com and his wife (I think). I believe their names were Larry and Sue. If not, sorry guys! They live in Georgia but have land in Salida and were here visiting. It was a pleasure climbing to the summit with them from the saddle. There's a bit of talus and trail finding up to the summit (which you can view once you're at the saddle), but nothing too tricky
We got to the summit around 10:20 or so, for a summit time of 3:45, not too bad. I took some pictures of them, and they of I
...and I parted ways with them as I wanted to summit Tabeguache as well on this day, and the skies were as friendly as United Air. (Or Delta, or Southwest, or Frontier, or whoever's slogan that is).
Now, I've read in trip reports that this takes an hour to get to Tab's summit. I have one question for you - did you get there in an hour on a trail? Because I sure as hell couldn't find one! It took me 1:20 or so, and i was truckin' to get that time, I felt like a buffoon for not finding anything resembling a trail. There was a sporratic cairn here or there, but I honestly couldn't find a trail.
I'm not the best of trail-finders, but you'd think after 18 14ers, I'd have some clue! Anyways, I hopped around here and there and made it to the Summit in about 1:20 (luckily my camera has a timer, as the summit was all mine!) Pretty sure I'm the only one who summitted on this day, which was VERY cool!
I was pretty tired and wanted to get home pretty bad, so I hauled ass over the talus back to the Shavano summit in about 45 minutes, although there was no sign of a trail anywhere, no clue where that thing is. Once I got back to the Shavano summit around 12:30, I took a small break before the insanely steep descent.
I made record time (for me, given this was the first time up so anything is a record!) back to timberline, probably took me an hour to descend nearly 3000'. From here on out I took it slow, I was listening to some country tunes and jam songs (CCR's Heard It Through The Grapevine, Slipknot's Iowa and Chimaira's Implements of Destruction) on the 'ol MP3 player, and just enjoyed the scenery. I saw my first person since 10:30am around 3:00pm near the trailhead, she was just out for a stroll I think. I got back to my car right at 3:35 for a RT time of exactly 9 hours. It was a bit slower than anticipated, but an all-around good trip. Just watch out for the cows!!
Pictures of this climb can be found here: