| Windy day on Shavano
Met up with Vince and his sweet dog, Jeter (I'm no Yankees fan and I still love this dog) at the Morrisson Conoco @ 3:15am and took off for Blank Gulch TH. We had a windy drive down 285 and knew we had an interesting day ahead of us. We got to the parking lot around 6 after spending a few minutes trying to find the exit, it was early and we were both pretty weary. We hit the trail around 6:15am and got a nice glimpse of the sun coming up over the Salida region right into the hike along the Colorado Trail :
The climb was basically broken down into 3 big slogs. The first was through treeline from around 9850 ft up to 11700. We passed KirkT and KeithK early on, stopped to shed gear and talk for a bit, then pushed on. Here's a shot of Jeter along the trail below treeline :
We got up to treeline as the sun was up and got a nice view of Ouray across the valley, Jeter was doin a good job of leading the way up the trail :
A few moments later, we got a good glimpse of the Angel, which was pretty much bone dry, which was pretty much the case for the entire rest of the region, all throughout the South Park region as far as the eye can see :
Despite the dry conditions, Vince and I could both see the appeal to the Angel as a ski descent, it looked like a lot of fun. Nothing too technical but nothing too easy, it looks like it'd be a perfect run all the down to the trailhead. Anyways, upon reaching the top of the Angel at the saddle below Shavano, the winds really started to pick up. I figured I'd wait for Vince who wasn't too far behind, but was getting cold and wind blasted, so Jeter and I persevered on. After Jeter got done munching on some ice and I downed some vitamin water and jerky, we made the slow trudge up the north face up to the summit. I felt fine up till the saddle, but the wind really took a toll on our energy levels. The last 200 feet or so was a bit of a class 2 scramble, I had to show Jeter the way rather than him showing me, but nevertheless, we reached the summit a little after 9am, with Vince showing up a few minutes later. We were all pretty spent and assessed the option to traverse over to Tabeguache. We finally figured we'd had enough of the wind and felt Shavano was a decent day in of itself, so we ate some food, signed the register and made for the descent about 30 minutes later. Here are some summit shots, I had been looking foward to this summit for quite some time, You get a phenomenal view of the winding Sangres, a solid view North of the entire Sawatch range and then Monarch Pass and a distant view of the Lake City group to the West :
View from the saddle up to Shavano's summit, where the wind blasting began
On the descent, the wind let up a little bit, but it was still goin strong. We passed KeithK on the way down just below the saddle. We told him about the conditions and he didn't look too pleased.
And some shots of the dog getting blown around and munchin on some ice
Just before we hit treeline, I got one last glimpse of the entire Crestone and Blanca group in the far distance, interesting view from this vantage point :
The descent took a toll on both our legs, my feet were definately hamburger by the time we reached the Jeep. Jeter definatly had a full day as you can see here :
All in all, a solid day with clear skies at the very least. I've been meaning to ski the Angel for quite some time so it was nice to get an idea of what I'll be in for come next early spring. It was also a pleasure hiking with Vince and his dog and thanks again Vince for driving man, very rewarding day. And for all you people that think dogs should be put on leashes, try hiking with Jeter for a day and tell me if you feel the same way afterwards. If you have a cool, well-trained dog like Vince's there's no reason to bring a leash, Jeter humbled Vince and I as hikers and didn't get into any trouble the whole day, makes you wonder why there are so many dog regulations throughout Colorado, I surely don't understand it.
Thumbnails for uploaded photos (click to open slideshow):