Mt Shavano, 4/14/2010 - climb and summit ski via Angel from the Angel of Shavano TH
11 miles, 5040' climbed and skied
Last spring I joined Martynda and crew for a climb of Shavano (thanks again, gents, that was a nice trip). Unfortunately I was there a bit late in the season for a summit descent. Shavano's summit tends to blow clear of snow, so one has to make hay while the iron is hot (or something like that). On Wednesday I had the opportunity for a rematch, on a glorious bluebird day.
I chose the Angel of Shavano trailhead as a starting point, being unsure how close I would be able to drive to the Blank's Cabin TH. Usually, with snow, this saves some distance and some vertical, at the potential cost of a sloppy return along the Colorado Trail in the soft afternoon snow. I left the trailhead around 5:30 am, hiking up the dry hillside as dawn broke over Salida:
Dawn breaks over Salida
I set an easy pace, being tired from an unnecessarily long march on Columbia the day before. The snow was frozen hard, which made the going easy, and before too long I was looking up at the Angel snowfield. (The Grinch is just starting to form, beginning with his smile, like the Cheshire Cat.)
First view of the Angel
Arriving at the steep portion of the Angel, I paused to eat and don crampons. The latter turned out to be unnecessary, as the dirty snow was softening fast in the morning sun. Still, it was the first time I had worn points since last June, and it felt good. I kept them on well above 13 grand.
Puttin' on the points
As I was preoccupied with thinking about my adventures of the previous day (another story entirely), I didn't pause to take many pictures. Hiking on familiar ground allows one's mind to wander. Around noon I found myself looking at the fragmented remains of the summit register:
Rough place for a register
Did I mention that the weather was perfect? View to the north from the summit (Antero, et al):
Summit view to north...
and to the west (Carbonate):
... and west...
and the Monarch ski area to the southwest:
... and southwest
The 10 second self-timer on my camera isn't enough time for me to get my skis on, so I captured myself in the process. This is the closest I can get to an action shot... The summit register is on the rock next to my pack:
Skis on at the summit
The initial move off the summit was a quick S-turn around the boulder on the right of this photo, followed by a traverse onto the south ridge and back to the east:
First 2 turns go here
Once that was done, it was clear sailing down the east ridge and onto the Angel's northeast wing. (I have gotten out of the habit of describing her wings as "left" or "right." Quite apart from the political overtones, it creates confusion as to whether one is talking about the climber's or skier's point of view, etc.)
The Colorado Trail back to the trailhead was sloppy, as one must expect, but at that point it would have taken a lot to ruin my good mood. The views remained spectacular:
Looking south from treeline
Here's Shavano, shining in the sun, as I headed up to BV to prepare for the next day's adventure.
Shavano from the highway
Thanks for reading!
Thumbnails for uploaded photos (click to open slideshow):