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Shavano Critical Update

Colorado 14er peak questions and conditions should be posted here. 14er Trip Reports
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Shavano Critical Update

Postby Hunter » Sun May 06, 2012 11:33 am

See my posted TR prior to departure. These conditions will not realistically improve for this summer's peak climbing season.
http://www.14ers.com/php14ers/tripreport.php?trip=11728&parmpeak=Mt.+Shavano&cpgm=tripmain&ski=Include
This is yet another fabulous take-away as each trip provides its own lesson irrespective of experience level.
Regards,
Hunter
Last edited by Hunter on Sun May 06, 2012 10:44 pm, edited 1 time in total.
"I firmly believe that any man's finest hour, the greatest fulfillment of all that he holds dear, is that moment when he has worked his heart out in a good cause and lies exhausted on the field of battle - victorious."

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Re: Shavano Critical Update

Postby BillMiddlebrook » Sun May 06, 2012 11:43 am

I placed warnings at the top of the Shavano/Tabeguache route pages.
Thanks
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Re: Shavano Critical Update

Postby thebeave7 » Sun May 06, 2012 11:52 am

This seems to be a fairly ubiquitous problem throughout Colorado. The winds this winter must have caused a whole series of Microbursts throughout the state, leveling whole fields of trees in very localized areas. I've experienced this in RMNP and the Lost Creek (seen it elsewhere too, not on trails), but I'm sure there are tons more.
Big trees ripped up straight from the root. Anyone know when or exactly what produced this massively widespread damage?

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Glacier Gorge near Mills Lake 12/17/11

Image
Lost Creek Wilderness, Lake Park 5/5/12

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Re: Shavano Critical Update

Postby gonzalj » Sun May 06, 2012 12:23 pm

I agree. I was there yesterday & also wrote a TR - angel's hollows & don't see the downed trees navigating headache being corrected anytime soon.

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Re: Shavano Critical Update

Postby Hunter » Sun May 06, 2012 1:27 pm

Bill- thanks.

Another point to be mindful of- numerous "widow-makers" unfallen leaning precariously on neighboring trees waiting for gusts to wiggle them loose. Some trees 1' or more in diameter literally ripped a foot or more above their trunks and left hugging trees nearby. Others twisted leaving 1" gaping spirals taller than me. Pictures cannot capture the destruction. The photos above are truly pail in comparison. Imagine the whole valley between the two hills in the Glacier Gorge almost entirely leveled in areas. Please use caution. -Hunter
Last edited by Hunter on Sun May 06, 2012 10:45 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Shavano Critical Update

Postby carnegie » Sun May 06, 2012 1:44 pm

At work on Friday, I spoke with one of the people in charge of trail crews. She said they've gotten their seasonal help lined up and that USFS is working its way up, if you will, with tree clearing. They were clearing Road 225 into Fooses Creek Thursday or Friday which is one of the outlets for the Monarch Crest trail (which is south of Shavano). So, hopefully, it shouldn't be more than a month. But (I think) if search & rescue start getting inundated, they may adjust plans. All the trails/trees around here got completely hammered by last fall's windstorm.

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Re: Shavano Critical Update

Postby drewski » Sun May 06, 2012 4:15 pm

It all happened on Nov. 11, 2011. (The dreaded triple 11 date) I remember it was very windy and trees were down in town. Soon after I was on the Waterdog Lake trail and first encountered these blowdowns.

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Re: Shavano Critical Update

Postby joshbrink » Sun May 06, 2012 7:44 pm

I am planning on coming out in september and was planning on doing Jones Pk, 13,712, Tab and Shav in that order in a loop. Coming from Michigan I dont get out there more than twice a year and do a lot of planning to make the most out of the trip. Of course I will keep an eye on the TRs but do you think it will be any better by then?
thanks
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Re: Shavano Critical Update

Postby carnegie » Sun May 06, 2012 10:05 pm

wow, Josh, I hope so. That would be bleak indeed if they weren't cleared out by then.
I hiked up Grays Creek yesterday (route to Mt. Ouray) and it was impressive with treefall. I've been up that trail many a time, and at one point I looked around and I could honestly say I did not recognize the place. One thing's for sure, once the trails around here are cleared, it's going to be noticeably a lot brighter!
Here's a shot from one of the creek crossings at Grays; trail goes off to left, now under trees.
P1140423.jpg
P1140423.jpg (112.24 KiB) Viewed 1005 times

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Re: Shavano Critical Update

Postby Gahugafuga » Sun May 06, 2012 10:28 pm

joshbrink wrote:I am planning on coming out in september and was planning on doing Jones Pk, 13,712, Tab and Shav in that order in a loop. Coming from Michigan I dont get out there more than twice a year and do a lot of planning to make the most out of the trip. Of course I will keep an eye on the TRs but do you think it will be any better by then?
thanks


FYI, I recall a descent off of Jones Peak as being pretty tedious and loose. I think I surfed down on my heels more than I walked. I'd imagine it would be exhausting to go up that junk. That's probably why most people start on Shavano and finish on Jones.

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Re: Shavano Critical Update

Postby cheeseburglar » Sun May 06, 2012 10:30 pm

We can't have the Angel of Shavano trail in bad shape.
Jesus made wine out of water and God made the Angel of Shavano.
Sounds like it might be time for 14ers.com to step up and do a trail clearing.
It might take a bit of wine (or PBR).
How much trail clearing are we talking? Do you think if we got half the number of people who showed at the gathering, we could clear that trail in a day and let the forest service get about their normal business?
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Re: Shavano Critical Update

Postby Hunter » Sun May 06, 2012 10:32 pm

Josh- There is so much to clear it would almost take a logging company with a road to get it ready by September. The FS will take their assessments and make their decisions, but keep posted on here for updates. I'd almost recommend they consider re-routing segments of the trail given the shier magnitude, distance, and terrain involved.

Again- I caution everyone going up that there exists the danger of many many partially fallen trees hanging by the branches of others. Keep your head on a swivel whenever you hear the wind.
"I firmly believe that any man's finest hour, the greatest fulfillment of all that he holds dear, is that moment when he has worked his heart out in a good cause and lies exhausted on the field of battle - victorious."

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