Peak(s):  Mt. Shavano  -  14,229 feet
Date Posted:  05/04/2014
Date Climbed:   05/03/2014
Author:  Somewhat of a Prick
Additional Members:   falcon568
 Angel of Shavano   

Angel is in!

View of the Angel from 285

Chad and I met up off the turn to CR140 and we drove up and made a colossal blunder right out of the gates...we followed the directions on 14ers to turn left on 252 at the Y junction. Less than a mile after turning on this we were met with a massive snow drift blocking the road that will be there for at least the next couple of weeks. We were unaware that staying right at the Y junctions, on 250, leads to the trailhead as well. But hey, we love adding unnecessary miles onto a long day.

We car camped right before the much reviled snow drift and had plans for boots on the ground at 4AM. We were on the move at 3:56, and cursed the snow drift as we strolled past slogging out our couple miles to the trailhead. We put our snowshoes on when we encountered the first bit of snow on the trail shortly after the trailhead. The snow quickly went away and we assumed we would hit it again soon so we strolled over the dirt and even a cattle guard with our snowshoes on for a little ways until we decided we were being lazy and finally took them off. There is significant snow on the trail less than a mile from the TH, however it was nice and frozen due to our early start and we never once put our snowshoes on during our ascent. We postholed a couple of times, but nothing frustrating us enough to make us put the snowshoes back on.

One of our few postholes...

Some random approach scenery:

Some views of the Angel on the approach

We stashed our snowshoes at the base of the Angel, and donned our crampons here. We wore crampons from this point up to the summit. We made good time up the body and decided to take the left arm of the Angel and connect to the East Ridge and ride that to the summit. Soon after moving from the body to the arm, our speed went down. The terrain becomes steeper on this section, and we had random gusts of wind that nearly knocked us over on a couple of occasions. We made slow and steady progress up the arm, to the ridge, and up to the summit of Shavano. I believe we topped out around 10am.

Some pics of us headed up the Angel

Summit video

Summit shots

We got a badass here....

Everyone loves a selfie

We had set out to bag both Shavano and Tab, but I became hesitant as soon as I hit the summit. You can see me staring at Tab in the last 5 seconds in the summit video...I was dropping and F bomb in my head. The ridge to the summit was holding a lot of snow and with the weather change I was unsure about crossing over it. Chad and I voiced our opinions and decided to head over about a quarter mile, past the initial cliff bands off Shavano, to get a closer look at Tab and make a decision from there.

View of Tab from this vantage point:

Chad was willing to give it a go initially, I was more hesitant. I am also not nearly as experienced on snow as Chad was, so perhaps that's why I had initial pause. Once we got a closer look at it we both agreed that it did look a little iffy and it wouldn't be without risk. For better or worse, we decided to turn around at this point.

For a while descending Shavano I was upset with myself for being the primary reason for turning around. I felt like I cost Chad a Tab summit, I kind of felt like I was being a big baby about the snow. I was thinking about it out loud and Chad stopped and said "Don't worry about it, you might have saved my life." I guess that's true, and we won't ever know what would have happened. Writing this a day later I feel fine with my decision now. Making the decision to turn around really sucks at the time, however.

Now back to the fun...

We worked our way down to the left arm of the Angel and started a glissade. Little did I know...that this was going to be a glissade from the fingers to the toes. So Awesome.

The glissade ended almost exactly where we had stashed our snowshoes. We popped them on, enjoyed some Gatorade and snacks, and then started the awful descent back to the trailhead. It was very warm out, I was wearing just a T-shirt at this point and was still too you can imagine the snow conditions. Even with 30" snowshoes we were postholing and slipping and sliding our way back down to the trailhead. We made the best of it though, talking about The Summit, Touching the Void, Into Thin Air, etc. Time seemed to fly by. We reached the trailhead and to our dismay saw several vehicles. "How in the F?!?!" was our reaction. A family just finished a hike while we were resting there and went to get in their car. Chad asked how they got there and they said they just took 252. Oh well. Time to slog out an extra couple of miles...

We got back to the cars and headed to Buena Vista for some much needed bacon cheeseburgers and beer.

Overall a great day.

Thumbnails for uploaded photos (click to open slideshow):

Comments or Questions
The Angel
05/04/2014 17:07
Awesome day and great glisade!

Looks Great
05/05/2014 03:18
Hoping to get a big glissade in this weekend. Nice work!

05/05/2014 14:35
...for posting conditions. Looks like a fun day. I was hoping to see a wind scoured, dry ridge over to Tab. Bummer. Being that Tab is my main focus, I guess I'll wait a bit.

Very Nice
05/05/2014 22:06
Great TR and photos. Loved the glissade video. I did the exact same glissade a couple of years ago myself and loved it. Don't be bummed you turned around, it's usually that ”gut” feeling that saves your life. Also, Tab is a much more fun climb from the west route.

Nice report
05/08/2014 04:58
Hey! I see my tracks up/dn in pics 7,8,9,10. Looks like you followed them up and as you can see I got some smaller glissades on the way down along with some not so bad plunge steps in other places. My own fault for not being able to get the big glissade due to the late start. Glad you guys were able to get it.

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