| Tabeguache North Face
Tabeguache was my 50th snowboard descent and final snowboard descent in the Sawatch Range.
On the approach...thinking we've definitely had better weather...but the forecast said winds were going to become calm by nightfall. The NWS had also just issued a Winter Storm Watch effective later the next morning, our intended summit day. Hmm. Can we beat the storm?
Stoic Io at basecamp. We found a sheltered pocket of trees a little above 11,000' that provided not only protection from the stiff breeze, but also clear running water (the old snow was pretty scummy to melt for water). Scattered snow showers spit flakes on us throughout the evening.
The next morning....indeed the winds had calmed...but the snow was definitely coming down at this point. Hmm. Its warm, with no wind, and the potential for a few inches of fresh? Might as well keep going.
Althought the summit was socked in, visibility was still good enough at treeline to pick the proper line out of the network of gullies and couloirs, and up we went.
Visibility came and went, but mostly went. Snow was definitely piling up. Some places had loaded to thigh deep, but only a few inches had fallen so far.
Tom just a hundred yards or so from topping out after seemingly endless climb through a gray-white abyss.
Almost on the summit ridge...
Top Dogs on the summit ridge.
Finally just a few feet from the summit!
Myself, Io and Hank on the summit. Hank later chewed the summit stick down to snowline. Hank really likes sticks.
Warm, windless, snowy summit
Picking through talus. We did get a summit descent, and a continuous descent too, all the way to the valley floor, about 3,000' vert. Our boards took a bit of a beating by rocks hidden by the half foot of fresh.
Back at the ranch, looks like about 4-5" fell even down here while we were gone.
And then the long slog out...Tired, happy and successful.
Speaking of Antero...This is a shot of our route on Tabeguache taken from near the summit of Antero on May 20, 2007. Coverage at that time was remarkable, definitely better than what we had last weekend.
Thumbnails for uploaded photos (click to open slideshow):