Peak(s):  Mt. Shavano  -  14,229 feet
Tabeguache Peak  -  14,155 feet
Date Posted:  08/19/2018
Date Climbed:   08/18/2018
Author:  BoulderGiraffe
 Mt. Shavano, Tabeguache Peak - I Dub Thee Yo-Yo  

My wife and I did the Mt. Shavano/Tabeguache Peak combo with our dog on 8/18/2018 and while I expected a strenuous effort, this hike hit me hard. I’ve done the Harvard/Columbia and Oxford/Belford combos, but those were a few years back and, alas, I’m a few years older. Up to Shavano, down to the saddle, up to Tabeguache, down to the saddle and back up to Shavano before heading down for good made for a fun but tiring day.

We decided to camp near the trailhead to get an early start on the hike and there are many dispersed camping spots both before and after the trailhead. We didn’t get there until about 7 pm on a Friday night, so I was a bit concerned about availability but there are a ton of established spots both before and after the trailhead. We got a spot easily.

We started our hike from the Shav/Tab TH about 4:50 on Saturday morning a good 90 minutes before sunrise. One lesson learned is to have a good headlamp or flashlight. The batteries in mine were beyond their prime so keeping on the trail in the dark was a bit of a challenge. My wife’s batteries were fresh, however, so she was able to keep us on track. The trail is quite apparent in the daylight, but we did have to pause in the pre-dawn hours to make sure we went in the right direction. There was one section of the trail where you head east for a good chunk of time as the route on this site says, but before sunrise I was starting to wonder…rest assured, it’ll switch back.

Above treeline the sun rose and the trail is very clear heading up to the saddle and then on up to Shavano. We got to the Shavano summit a little bit before 8am.

Shavano summit looking west.

The weather was fairly clear to the west so we felt comfortable heading to Tabeguache. The ridge down to the saddle is rocky and windy indeed. Pretty stable, big rocks going down but I used my hands a lot, so I’d recommend a pair of gloves for the ridge and we stuck to the east side to get a bit of shelter from the wind. Once you’re down to the saddle, there are a number of “trails” that are easy to lose. Just fight gravity and try to keep on the trail as best you can. We got there in about an hour.

Tabeguache summit looking south and west

You’ll hit several false summits as you make the trek back up to Shavano (My wife noted, “The mother$%^&*keeps moving!”) And as everyone who has lived in Colorado for a while knows, “If you don’t like the weather, give it a minute – it’ll change.” Here’s the picture of Shavano looking east from Tabeguache as we left the summit.

Mt. Shavano from the Tabeguache summit.

And here’s the view looking west from Shavano less than an hour later.

Shavano summit looking west.

The clouds moved in quickly and, while they weren’t thunderheads, it still became cold and wet very quickly. Have rain gear and warm clothing readily available. We got hit with freezing rain and heavy winds all the way down to the saddle until we got some shelter below the ridge. After that, it was smooth sailing back to the trailhead. The daylight made the trail very easy to follow and we couldn’t even determine the spots where we had to pause in the dark. We arrived back to the trailhead right at noon. For what it’s worth, we’re both in good shape and have a fairly fast pace.

It was also the first fourteener trip for our dog. While I was a bit apprehensive how he’d handle the scrambling, he was fine. We live in Boulder and hike 3-4 times a week in the summer with him so he’s very used to the activity and some altitude. There was no point when I was concerned about him in terms of the terrain.

Be safe and enjoy the Rockies!

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