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 Peak(s):  Tabeguache Peak  -  14,155 feet
Mt. Shavano  -  14,229 feet
 Post Date:  06/03/2010
 Date Climbed:   06/02/2010
 Posted By:  pioletski

 Tab Traverse   

Climb of Tabeguache Peak via Mt Shavano; summit ski descent of Tabeguache via North Couloir; exit via Brown's Creek. June 2, 2010
Crew: Ben (benners), Weston (skier25), Matt (pioletski)
12 miles RT, 5293' climbed, 2550' skied, 10 hours

When Ben and I are out in the mountains together, our most frequent topic of conversation is our choice of route for the next excursion. Neither of us likes the "list-ticker" approach, we both appreciate the more interesting or unusual ski lines and enjoy employing a little creativity to the approach. (Here is an example of a creative way to ski a great line on Bierstadt.) Tabeguache presented a challenge: a beautiful but remote ski line, which we hoped to accomplish in a single day. Brute force might have done the job, but after a long text message conversation, multiple emails, and finally a couple of phone calls, we settled on a plan that we thought a bit more elegant. Ben invited skier25 along - thanks for joining us, Wes, it was nice to get outside with you - and we were set.

First, a look at our intended route, on the expansive north face of Tabeguache. (Thanks, Bill, for providing recent photos of the snowcover at the top.)

Image
(benners)


We met in Bongo Billy's parking lot at 3:30 am and drove to the Brown's Creek trailhead. Ben's car stayed here, along with the end-of-the-day necessities (most of which go in a cooler). We loaded our gear into my truck and headed for the Blank Gulch trailhead. At 4:45 am, just as it was getting light enough to hike without a headlamp, we were on the trail. Here are Wes and Ben at our first water/snack stop:

Image
(pioletski)


And here is someone who seemed awfully interested in the snacks:

Image
(pioletski)


We hiked up the summer route to Shavano in trail shoes, thus obtaining a nice view of the Angel. This is a pretty direct route to Tabeguache, even if there is another peak to be summited on the way; it is no mistake that Tabeguache is usually climbed via Shavano's summit.

Image
(pioletski)


There were brilliant blue skies to the west...

Image
(benners)


... but some gray clouds to the east.

Image
(pioletski)


Still, the weather was shaping up for a perfect spring skiing day: firm snow with enough sun to make the skiing enjoyable. Rounding the shoulder of Shavano, our objective hove into view:

Image
(pioletski)


Ben on Shavano's summit:

Image
(pioletski)


Descending to the saddle that separates the peaks...

Image
(benners)


... we finally found continuous snow, and paused to put our boots on.

Image
(pioletski)


About 1/2 hour later (10:00 am), we were at the summit of Tabeguache. Here's Ben on the summit ridge:

Image
(pioletski)


Myself and Wes close behind:

Image
(benners)


And the Three Musketeers on the summit:

Image
(pioletski)


Our plan had paid off: we were at the right place at the perfect time, just as the sun was softening the snow. Now for the descent. Ben contemplates the ski route:

Image
(pioletski)


Here's what he's looking at - note the brief rock-hopping section at the entrance:

Image
(pioletski)


Once past that, however, we had this to look forward to:

Image
(benners)


So we skied off the summit (no problem, it is still pretty deeply buried) and approached the couloir:

Image
(benners)


Billygoating at its finest:

Image
(benners)


Once past that, a couple of quick turns were called for...

Image
(benners)


... which got us into the chute proper:

Image
(pioletski)


Our ski photos are pretty self-explanatory. Red helmet = Wes; white = Ben, yellow = Matt:

Image
(pioletski)


Image
(benners)


Image
(benners)


Image
(pioletski)


Image
(pioletski)


Grinning was evident:

Image
(benners)


The snow got a little dirty at the bottom.

Image
(benners)


We continued down to 11,600' and stopped by a meltwater brook. It was 11:00 am, we rested until noon before hiking out. Expecting to find water, I had brought along a filter; thus, although my water intake was about 4 liters for the day, I was never carrying more than 1-1/2. Drinking fresh mountain stream water is one of the greatest pleasures I know of:

Image
(benners)


Eventually we got up to face the rather long hike out, pausing to look back at our run:

Image
(pioletski)


The exit was a long but pleasant hike down Brown's Creek. We were certainly glad not to have hiked up it this morning!

Image
(benners)


Thanks for reading!
Note: Some photos marked "benners" were taken by Wes using Ben's camera.



Thumbnails for uploaded photos (click to open slideshow):
 


  • Comments or Questions (4)
BillMiddlebrook


Nice!     2011-02-04 17:22:16
Way to get it done right! That would have been my preferred ski/exit if I had a drop-off vehicle that day. How was that walk out?


benners


Walk out     2010-11-30 10:28:51
Thanks Bill! The walk out was long, around 6 miles, with a minor bushwack to get from the bottom of the coulee to the trail. Though it was grueling, it was also unique and very pretty this time of year. Thanks for your Tab beta from last week, it's basically what prompted our trip.

Nice writeup Matt!


otherbrotherdarryl

Another beauty day, eh     2010-06-03 19:23:04
Nice going guys, sounds like a long but rewarding day.


Easy Rider


Browns isn‘t that bad from the bottom...     2010-06-04 17:54:33
Yes it is.
Nice work! That line is worth it.



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