| Enjoying the aspen on Shavano
Peak: Mt. Shavano (14,229')
Date: Saturday, August 2, 2008
Team: krz2fer (Chris), Ryan (krz2fer's brother), Steve (our Dad)
Route: Standard Trailhead, East Slopes
Roundtrip: ~10 miles
It's becoming a tradition that the guys in our family tackle a peak each summer and this time around we decided to take on Mt. Shavano, not only for it's differing location from past climbs with our Dad, but also as a bit of revenge on the peak that took everything out of me this past winter on a failed snowboarding summit attempt.
We left Denver mid-afternoon Friday and arrived at the trailhead around 6pm and found an amazing camp spot in a lush grove of aspen. It was incredible.
We had a Subway sandwich each, enjoyed the scenery for a while, and called it an early night. Although it was previously quite gusty into the evening, sometime later in the night the wind completely stopped dead. It was bizarre hearing the trees talking so intensely and then falling asleep themselves.
The alarm went off at 4am and we packed up quickly, heading back to the trailhead proper to get things packed up. We were off on the trail around 5am with a few other parties driving in around that time. Looked like it was going to be a busy day.
We had the cover of darkness for the first 30 minutes or so that helped shield the elevation we were already gaining. I think it became a theme for the rest of the day as the elevation is relentless. Anyone who underestimates these type of peaks (low class walk ups with substantial gains) is doing themselves a disservice.
Ryan and our Dad taking in the views
Me taking a quick break as the bro snaps a shot
The hike is pretty straightforward with a well defined trail the entire way. We had a crazy occurrence with a Gray Jay bird on the way up. It actually flew right to my brother's hand as he was eating trail mix! Epic.
Looking up towards the Angel and the saddle
Looking back down the route
On the saddle, looking at the summit
The final push to the summit - some mild scrambling
Ryan and I are in solid hiking shape, but this mountain did leave us humbled. We hit the summit at roughly 9:30am and our Dad arrived about 45 minutes later. A but if an uneventful slog, but definitely nice to see the views and get this peak taken care of!
The summit was crowded quickly, with perhaps 20-30 people coming and going after our arrival (I think we were maybe the 5th group up this day). Also, dogs everywhere. I've never taken sides on the dog issue, but with almost 10 dogs bouncing up to the summit during the hour long rest atop – all of which were off leash and hopping around other people and their packs – it certainly took something away from the experience. I have a dog myself so I don't have any problem saying it, but it was pretty bummer to see how maybe half of the owners let their dogs be (not all, but some – and it's always the "some" that tend to make an impact, unfortunately).
The peak was packed on this day
Otherwise, the day was great. We considered hitting Tab, but without having a strong desire or need to go over there, we passed. I've learned that I don't like hitting peaks just because, so this definitely fell into that category. Storm clouds were forming by 11am with many still headed up. By 1pm at the car we'd heard plenty of thunder and were glad we'd decided to head down.
Final thoughts: great time with family, a stair-stepper hike, a bit too crowded for my taste, and the aspen groves are amazing! Good times in the mountains. We are lucky.
Thumbnails for uploaded photos (click to open slideshow):