Peak(s):  Mt. Shavano  -  14,229 feet
Tabeguache Peak  -  14,155 feet
Post Date:  07/01/2008
Date Climbed:   06/28/2008
Posted By:  emcee smith

 Shavano / Tabeguache combo - long day   

Shavano / Tabeguache
6:30 am – Trailhead
10:00 am – Shavano summit
11:15 am – Tabeguache summit
12:30 pm – Shavano summit
3:15 pm – Trailhead

Right up front, this hike was grueling. I think that the combination of the over and back hike of Tab, the visual of the imposing Sawatch range from 285 and the hike through the trees made this a very long (mentally) hike.

Note on water; carry a lot and keep some additional in the car. I drink quite a bit, took a 100oz bladder, and drained it about tree line on the descent. Carried a back up 20oz Gatorade and drained it at the Colorado Trail junction. I was glad to have more water stashed in the truck.

Note on weather and the traverse; as an average hiker, it took me about 2.5 hours to make the traverse over and back, reaching Shavano the second time at 12:30pm. I was very aware of the clouds, but I suspect that some of the folks that were leaving for Tabeguache around noon were taking a bit more risk, although I never heard any thunder. I suspect that for the average hiker, from the summit of Tabeguache, you are 1.5 – 2 hours from being "off the summit" and maybe 2 - 3 hours from tree line.

Shavano from the Road

I left the trailhead at about 6:30 am. There were several groups immediately ahead and behind me. For the first 30 minutes or so we all leapfrogged, adjusted gear, etc. that ultimately puts the faster hikers out front. I seem to be in the middle of these shake outs, so I guess that I hike at an average pace.

The hike up was very pleasant. After about the first 30 minutes or so, once you get to the 2 foot wide stream, the hike is very nice. The trail is soft with very few rocks, winding past the stream for a little while.

Once you leave the stream and switch back to the NE, the hike is a typical below tree line hike with the various rocks, roots, up and downhills, and a few places where you cross snowfields. All of the snowfields could be avoided or traversed, the longest was probably 15 yards.

Shot of probably the biggest showfield to cross

The trail looking up right at tree line

Above tree line, the trail traverses a south facing slope up to the saddle. The trail was in good shape, mostly dirt and rocks but a few places with talus.

Looking back down the trail

Looking up the trail toward the saddle

Note, the arm of the angel was looking pretty melted out. I talked to a few hikers that came down the angel and they indicated that the glissade was very rough.

The trail takes a wide turn to the south up to the saddle, and then back to the north to get to the summit. I learned on my way down that the direct route is very loose, I wouldn't recommend it for either the ascent or descent.

Shot from the saddle looking up at the summit of Shavano.

I reached the summit of Shavano about 10 am, and rested for just a little bit. After that long of a hike, I reasoned that the longer I waited, the less inclined I would be to make the Tab stretch. After about 10 – 15 minutes, I pressed on.

Shot from just to the north of the Shavano summit, you can see folks on the summit as well as beginning the traverse.

The hike down to the saddle was pretty easy, large, mostly stable rocks that were easy to use as steps.

From the saddle looking up at Tabeguache

The saddle between Savano and Tabeguache seemed to me to be a mentally trying place. Looking to the west and back to the SE, I knew that I had to climb one or both of these before I was done. Mostly, the opinion that I didn't want to come back for Tabeguache kept me going.

The trail up to Tabeguache was covered in snow here and there, and was difficult to track (much easier to find the trail on the descent). At about 11:15, I reached the summit of Tabeguache.

Near the summit, looking back at Shavano

Antero to the north

Shot from the summit

Again, I didn't spend much time on the summit, didn't want to lose any energy for the hike back. The hike down Tabeguache was much easier than going up; easier to keep to the trail. Other than my legs getting tired, the hike back up to Shavano was not difficult. Back to the Shavano summit at 12:30, and relaxed for 15 – 20 minutes.

On the way back down Shavano, I took a wrong trail to the SE and found myself well to the east of the saddle. I took a faint trail straight down to the main trail, and it was loose and not very pleasant. I think that it took as much time to go straight down as it would have to go around on the main trail.

The hike back to and below tree line was uneventful. The hike from the creek to the car seemed much longer on the way back than on the ascent. It started to sprinkle on me about the time I reached the Colorado trail. There was much rain, hail, lightning and thunder on the ride back to Denver.

Shot leaving the area, noting the clouds

Thumbnails for uploaded photos (click to open slideshow):

  • Comments or Questions

Good Report!     07/01/2008 19:35
Thanks for the pics and stats! Just what we needed today, as we‘re fine-tuning our plan to hit these two this week.


No kidding...     07/23/2014 16:30
We did the Shavano/Tabaguache combo on Sunday, and I can say without a doubt that this is one of the most difficult hikes I have done in a while. I thought maybe it was me - this is my first 14‘er in about 10 years, but I still like to think that I‘m in pretty good shape. The hike over to Tab was discouraging from the saddle, but the hike back to Shavano was refreshingly nice - not as hard as going the other way. Maybe it was that I knew that the third uphill was the last one. We pushed our luck - heading over to Tab around noon, but the weather was good. We carried a purifier and refilled water bottles at the stream on the way up and down. I drank 6 liters that day and still ran out just at the trailhead. We pushed our luck, heading back so late - we got caught in hail above treeline on the way out, and I worried about lightening. Still - this was a beautiful hike.


Excellent Report     07/07/2008 19:40
Thanks, this was great info as I am trying this on Friday, 7/11.

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