Peak(s):  Mt. Shavano  -  14,229 feet
Date Posted:  07/30/2013
Date Climbed:   07/27/2013
Author:  dlambert
 Perfect day on Shavano  

Start: 6:30 a.m.
Summit: 11 a.m.

We started our day by arriving at the trailhead at about 6 a.m. When we saw about 15 cars in the lot and 4 more right behind us, we quickly realized we were not alone. Our group of six headed up the trail at around 6:30. The beginning was fairly mild and we appreciated the beautiful aspen trees lining the trail. The 'fairly mild' part left us soon and we began an ascent that lasted a very long time. The hike through the trees is very rocky, sometimes quite steep and grueling. Every step taken had to be carefully selected. My wife was begging for a few switchbacks. The speed of the increase in elevation after the treeline surprised all of us. It was always up, just sometimes faster than others, but always up. This part of the climb separated our group into those that were better prepared and those that needed a few more breaks! Reaching the saddle was a huge milestone. The views began to open up and the feeling of accomplishment was definitely there. The wind picked up at this point and it became quite cold. The summit was clearly visible and being able to watch others make the final ascent was very encouraging. The approach to the summit was rocky and steep. Summitting this peak takes sheer determination. Four of us made it to the top. We were there with about 8 others. The views are amazing. This peak stands above all of the other peaks in the neighborhood. The summit was narrow and made it feel like the rest of the mountain was falling away from us. The intensity of the height near the top was what stopped our last two hikers from reaching the summit. One arrived at a point that made his fear of heights cause him to lock up. They were about 400' from the top and turned around.

After about 30 minutes of enjoying the summit, we headed down. The saddle once again welcomed us. It was a nice place to sit back and admire the peak and the views. The trip down lasted about three hours. It was difficult! The knees were feeling it and taking a beating. Navigating the rocky trail was causing us to step differently than our normal steps which put additional strain on the knees and legs. Only one person had trekking poles, and for the descent, I would recommend it.

The impressions that we walked away with were:
5. Colorado is absolutely beautiful.
4. I really need to workout more!
3. I can't believe I didn't quit.
2. That was a class 2?!
1. This mountain really amazing.

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