|Route:||Angel of Shavano|
|Date of Info:||4/23/2023|
Snowdrift was kind of blocking the road about 2.6 miles before Blanks TH on Rd. 252..... you can take Rd 250a instead and drive dry all the way to Blanks TH though.
CT section and about the first 0.7 miles of trail were mostly clear of snow. Snow in the trees that was firm enough in the morning to mostly walk on without flotation....later in the afternoon I'd highly recommend flotation as we were post-holing on the way out.
Saw several other parties doing the winter ascent/descent on the Angel of Shavano route as well. Would not recommend the East Route (standard summer route) quite yet as the snow gets quite deep near treeline at around 11,600- 12,000' still on that route when it swings out to climber's right and the snow drifts across the trail (still hard to find in spots) at a fairly steep angle before cracking treeline.
Was able to skin (with kick turns on AT skis) up the body of the angel around noon as it had warmed up enough to dig my edges in. My girlfriend made it up on running snowshoes, and we were both using ski poles. Probably would recommend crampons or ice spikes if it was firm and icy early in the morning (but it was turning a little slushy in the sun by late morning). Had to bootpack up the right wing (melting out a lot faster than the left wing!) of the Angel and then made the summit on that line in my ski boots after hiking over the dried out rocky portion.
Attempted to ski off the summit but snow was quite variable in the rocks and I was a bit worried about a core shot or bending an edge. The few turns I made were a bit dicey as it was kind of wet and slushy in spots, but then also firm and icy in others. I still think the left wing (climber's left) and body of the Angel will hold snow pretty well for several more weeks and would be the preferred ascent and descent route still (on skis or on foot with flotation/traction). If you're going down that way it's probably easier to just stick to the standard trail route off the summit and avoid some of the steeper snowy pitches.
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