| Shavano/Tabeguache (Standard Route)
My first trip report—and hopefully the first of 3 from my trip!!!!
My buddy and I flew out from St. Louis on Wednesday (August 1st) and into Denver around evening rush hour. The plan was to rent a car and drive to Salida where we would climb for 3 straight days. Our original plan was Shavano/Tabeguache on Thursday, Yale on Friday, and Missouri on Saturday. Our first change of plans came at the Budget Rental Car Counter. We decided to go cheap and rented a mid-sized. When we walked out to find our car, it was not in its spot. I went back in and informed the man behind the counter and in return he asked if an Explorer would do. I jumped on that in a second and we headed for Salida. On the way we realized that we needed to take advantage of our 4X4 vechicle, so we hoped to try Princeton instead of Missouri. Anyway, we arrived in Salida at the Aspen Leaf Lodge at around 9 PM and prepared for Shavano/Tabeguache on Thursday.
We left the Aspen Leaf at 5 AM and arrived began hiking right at sunrise at 5:50 AM.
The weather report was fairly good—typical storms predicted for the afternoon. We hoped to climb Shavano and Tabegauche and be back over Shavano and down to the treeline by around noon. As we found out, this was probably a little bit much for us on our first day at altitude. As expected there was no snow anywhere on the route—even on the Angel .
We summited Shavano at 10:03 AM—4 hours and 13 minutes from the trailhead. The weather still looked pretty good as you can see from a couple of pictures.
Above is a picture of Tabeguache from the summit of Shavano--it was fairly clear but got foggy in a hurry!
We were pretty tired and debated for whether or not to go to Tabeguache. I was hoping for a fairly well marked route from Shavano to Tabeguache, but neither my buddy nor myself could find much of anything. We decided to rock hop in the direction of Tabeguache for about 5 minutes and see if we could find a good route. We chose to go on the right side, but were never able to find anything that was well defined. While we were doing this, all of a sudden the sky started to cloud up a little—basically a fog started to make its way over the mountains. We seriously debated turning around, but realizing that we only get about 3 days in Colorado a year and also that we might never have an opportunity to climb this mountain again, we decided go for it. There were no dark gray puffy clouds that looked like they might produce thunderstorms, just a general gray fog. We made it to the saddle and summited Tabeguache at 11:00 AM. By now the sky was gray, foggy, and looking a little scary—probably not to a Colorado native, but to two guys from Illinois, it was a little frightening. We snapped a few pictures (note my slightly worried expression)
and immediately headed back to Shavano. On the saddle, we passed a couple and their dog heading for Tabeguache. This made us feel a little bit better because they seemed more experienced than us and were perfectly content to hike in the current weather conditions, and so we started slogging up Shavano. As is mentioned in other trip reports, this was probably the low point mentally of the hike. It was a rough climb back up Shavano and not helping the situation was the fact that about 100 feet from the summit of Shavano, it began to hail—nothing too big, but enough to concern us about the long upcoming decent. Luckily for us, this only lasted about 5 minutes and by the time we were back on Shavano (at almost exactly 12 PM) it had stopped. Again, we snapped a few pictures and were immediately on our way--however, there was very little visibilty at this time
We were very happy to get down past the Angel and below 13,000 feet—although it was about this time that we started to hit the wall physically. We both realized on the way back that we had probably bitten off a bit much for our first day. We were painfully slow on the way back—stopping much more than we had hoped and were in considerable pain when we arrived at the trailhead at 3:20 PM. The only picture I bothered taking past the tree line on the way down was of a tree that looked like a butt .
My Garmin Forerunner 205 told me that our total hiking time was 9 hours and 30 minutes—a pretty long day for our first of three. On the way back to Salida, we debated whether we would even have the energy to hike the following day. We felt slightly better after a few slices of Amica's pizza—unfortunately we weren't up to having any beer—and we decided to give Princeton a go tomorrow (Friday).
Thumbnails for uploaded photos (click to open slideshow):