Mashed Potatoes and Gravy:
Springtime on Shavano and Tabeguache
Peaks: Shavano, Tabeguache
Route: East Ridge
Length: 14 miles RT
Vertical: 6200 feet
Ascent time to Shavano: 4 hours
Total time: 12.5 hours
Ascent Party: Ken, Micah, Jim
Morning's Glow on the Colorado Trail
January 16, 2010
Breaking from long winter routes for a gorgeous day on G&T, I bump into two guys going in at sundown. We greet.
They're planning a nighttime ascent of Kelso Ridge with full packs to camp on Torreys summit. I'm thinking, these guys are crazy.
Welcome to Matt and Micah.
Matt and Micah, in shadow, just left of center, going after Kelso at dark.
Matt leading Ripple Effect, 5.11a/b, RRCOS, 4-14-10. Micah is belaying.
February 6, 2010
I meet Ken on Huron Peak this winter. I'm skiing the road to the TH to help keep it a daytrip; Ken slogs the entire 26 miles – in a day.
Ken is possessed by something he calls "The Grid." It makes him do weeks in excess of 20,000 verts. I'm thinking Ken is indefatigable.
R to L, Jim, Dominic, Kirk, and Ken, on the Winfield road, Huron Peak trip, 2-6-10.
Ken on Culebra Peak, 3-6-10.
April 5, 2010
Ken and I talk about doing Shavano and Tabeguache for a developing weather window Th-Sun.
Ken decides to hit Bel/Ox on Thursday, and Harvard on Saturday, so I'm thinking Shav/Tab today is out.
Meanwhile, Micah still needs Tabeguache - I'll let him tell that story.
April 11, 2010
Micah and I are at the Angel of Shavano CG Sunday morning, hitting the trail at 6:45 am.
To my pleasant surprise, Ken is on the register, only 90 minutes ahead.
We luck out with a frozen track. Only, the tracks are one way: Up.
Must have been put in the night before. We wonder where the trackmaker is.
Warm morning on the CT.
We make pretty good time on the CT from AoS CG to Blank's Cabin trail, where the tracks appear to continue our way.
Ten minutes later, they turn left up the Shavano trail. We're still in boots.
After catching Ken near treeline, still no sign of our benefactor. Micah begins to wonder why the guy never made it down.
Ken conjectures that a dead body would really liven up a TR.
Micah finds a body bag - empty! Clearly the work of body-snatchers.
Micah, at treeline, carefully inspecting potential remains.
Fifty yards up the hill - the skull!
Micah and I get back to work, pulling good time to Shavano's summit.
Seeing the ascent route first-hand, we're less concerned about afternoon wet slides and decide to relax on the summit.
Tabeguache looks pretty snowy from here.
Shavano Summit. ET 3:59. "Nice work, dude!"
Ken's a motor. He never seems to run out of gas.
Ken's moving fast; we put away lunch and head for Tabeguache, where we find everything from hard snow
to mashed potatoes and red gravy. The red dirt layer gives us a nice visual analog scale for snow firmness.
Antero, Mashed Potatoes, and Red Gravy.
Tab goes a lot more quickly than we thought.
The wind dies completely and Ken joins us, looking fashionable in his trademark zip polo and ultra-functional groucho nose guard.
Ken arriving on Tabeguache.
Summit Party on Tabeguache.
Leaving the summit of Tabeguache, Micah inquires if Ken is retired now and just climbs mountains full time.
Ken replies his boss is beginning to think so.
At treeline we spend a little time below the surface - let's just say Ken remarks he won't need a shower tonight.
Photography withheld to preserve the dignity of the descent party. What little decent dignity remained at that point, anyway.
Looking back on Shavano as storm clouds roll in.
It gradually got better as we got to the CT. I think Ken swore off 14ers for a while.
It wasn't until the following Wednesday that he did Missouri.
Let's see, Ken, nearly 30K verts this week, Thursday through Wednesday?
Hope that Grid Disease is not contagious.
Thanks to Micah and Ken for a great time on Le Tour de Red Dirt today.
Thumbnails for uploaded photos (click to open slideshow):