Peak(s):  Tabeguache Peak  -  14,155 feet
Date Posted:  09/07/2018
Date Climbed:   09/02/2018
Author:  14erobsessedkansan
 Tab West Ridge - Where's that Confounded TH?  

Hoping this short report is helpful for anyone...

I'd been eyeing doing the West ridge of Tab for a couple years. A few years ago, when wanting to do the combo, I was too gassed and stopped at Shavano, and this Tab alternative, if started from the upper TH, seemed like a slightly easier approach.

Firstly, here's the deal on the difficult-to-find trailhead. What helped me tremendously was someone else's trip report or trailhead condition report that tells you that around 7.3 to 7.5 miles from the start of CR240 there is a spot in the road with obvious turnoffs on both sides of the road. In fact the area on the left side of the road going up is probably big enough for three vehicles and there are a couple of fire pits there. From this point in the road, the trailhead is about a three-minute hike and on the right side of the road.

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Don't let the "Closed" sign and the several seemingly deliberately downed trees along the first few hundred feet of the trail fool you -- this is the way to go, and the half-mile of trail out of the trees is quite nice, with lots of log steps. It was during the forest hike that my brain's go-to song loop of "Another One Bites the Dust" started. I have NO idea why, but I often get the line, "Steve walks warily down the street..." stuck in my head on these hikes.

As others have said, the tarn turnoff to the left is quite obvious. I followed the advice of a trip report from August and at every opportunity I stuck to the left-most trail segments, keeping the stream to my left and avoiding the boulders to the right for about 97% of the basin hike.


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Once at the end of the basin, the route up to saddle is steep and super loose, but thankfully very short. Turning to the right, the hoof up to Pt 13936 seems gentle, but the last third of it is up loose, small rocks/boulders and I found this to be the most surprisingly tough part of the hike. I had perhaps lulled myself into under-estimating this hike since it was only going to be a relatively short eight miles or so. It was around this point of the day that One Night in Bangkok took over the song loop slot; I heard it on the drive up the night before. One bit of advice -- you can certainly shave off some of the up-hiking if instead of heading to the very top of Pt 13936, once you are about level with the easy ridge walk to the false summit coming into view to your right, just start working your across the slope towards it. The route you are heading for is quite obvious. This is a good way to cheat Pt 13936, if that appeals to you.

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The pic above is taken along the easy ridge walk up towards the false summit. Tab's true summit is just to left of center. And I would say the hiking from the false to the true summit required more scrambling than I expected. I'll repeat the same message that on the way back down, as you regain the false summit just REMEMBER from which direction you approached it. As you move from true to false summit, you'll likely be on the left side of the ridge. DON'T continue on that side of the ridge; when you reach the false summit, curve around toward its right side to see the obvious trail back across to Pt 13936.

Overall a solid and pretty average 14er hike. I need to stop thinking that shorter approaches from high upper trailheads are going to be markedly "easier" than others. There is no easy 14er hike, when you live in Kansas! This hike took me 7 hours to complete.




Thumbnails for uploaded photos (click to open slideshow):
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 Comments or Questions
boudreaux

Been awhile
09/08/2018 08:43
Did that old route way back in the early 90's. I wish I had written that climb down in my old logbook. Slope cutting helped a good deal on those peaks. "Right Here, Right Now, there's no other place I'd rather Be" was a popular song on the radio on the River Rat. I remember something about not going into McCoy Gulch?



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