Peak(s):  Mt. Shavano  -  14,229 feet
Date Posted:  06/09/2013
Date Climbed:   06/08/2013
Author:  coloradosheets
 Angel of Shavano and Tabaguache  

Beautiful day on Shavano and Tabaguache. Decided to ascend and descend using the angel of Shavano route. Here's some important beta...

Snow: No issues. Tennis shoes are fine, but if you plan on doing the Angel then I'd recommend boots. Probably don't need gators. The angel was pretty steep, I'd recommend ice axe and traction.

Due to wind storms last year there are a TON of downed trees in the gully/basin leading up to the Angel, after you leave the main trail. I would recommend taking the last cut-off from the main trail at 11,200, right when the main trail turns right, due north. The downed trees creates a major maze and navigation issue. Highly recommend staying just to the right, and above the downed trees. The worse of the trees are in the gully, you can skirt the right edge of the downed trees by staying between 15 and 50 vertical feet above the base of the gully. I did not do this on the way up but I did on the way down and it saved me 15 minutes and a lot of frustration.

The lower part of the angel is steep and stays pretty firm. The lower part didn't soften up much, even when I was descending it around 1pm. If you plan to hike up the angel I would recommend an ice axe. I glissaded down the entire angel and it was a lot of fun, plus it saved a TON of effort, avoiding lots of extra walking. HOWEVER, the lower part of the angel is steep. I'd keep your pack on in back and lean back to slow yourself. I saw a guy reach 20mph and was in zero control of his speed. Luckily he slowed down before smashing into rocks at base of the angel. Still, his descent looked painful! But then, I saw another 5 people do it with no speed issues, but I'd only recommend it if the snow is softening up. After leaving the angel, just stay in the gully until you reach trees and then just stay to the left of the downed trees. The main trail turns north about 50 vertical feet above the bottom of the gully, so just stay up on the left of the gully on your way back and you will find the main trail.

Tabaguache. I will just say I was surprised at how long this took. Round trip from the top of Shavano It took me 2hrs and 15 minutes, and that includes a 5 minute rest on Tab. I'm a strong climber and although I would rate my moving pace as slow, I didn't stop to rest once except on the top of Tab. In other words, give yourself at least 2 hours and to be safe plan on 2.5 hours. If you plan on Tab leave early so you can try to be back over Shavano and off the peak by noon. Also, on the return back to Shavano, there are several false summits on the ridge. There are a couple of trails you can pick up on, I'd recommend staying a good ways down from the ridge to avoid the false summits. I did this and I still got duped by the last big false summit. I climbed the top only to realize I had another 15 minutes to go!

This was a big climb and lots of sun exposure. I had 4 liters of water and drank every drop. I brought lots of snacks too. Staying hydrated and fueled can make the difference between a brutal body punishing hike and a nice day out in the mountains!

Hope this helps!

 Comments or Questions

07/15/2013 08:58
Thanks for the beta- was hoping to head out this weekend and this was good to know about the trees. We'll see how much snow is left in mid-July...

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