Peak(s):  Mt. Shavano  -  14,229 feet
Tabeguache Peak  -  14,155 feet
PT 13,712  -  13,712 feet
Jones Pk  -  13,604 feet
Date Posted:  08/19/2019
Date Climbed:   08/18/2019
Author:  Tartay
 Roach's Shavano + Extra Credit   

After reading through Gary Roach's description on this little bit of "Extra Credit" when climbing Shavano and Tabeguache, I knew this would be the more enjoyable way to get back down the mountain. I also thought it would be a bit more strenuous but since elevation gain and distance was comparable to the standard route, why wouldn't I want to add a class 3 ridge? I was definitely right about the fun part. The ridge was a blast and I highly recommend it if you want to add an enjoyable class 3 section to Shav/Tab. I was wrong about the strenuous part. If you are going to add this extra credit, make sure you are in shape as it will test your endurance and fitness. Bring plenty of water as it will take a good 8-13 hours (we clocked in at 9:30 car to car and hiked Shav/Tab quicker than everyone but trail runners).

Since there are plenty of reports on the standard Shav/Tab route all I will say is that it's definitely unrelenting and you are essentially climbing or descending the entire route.

On to the class 3 ridge between 13,712 and Jones Peak which I wanted to report on to hopefully give more context to the route and descent back to the Shavano trail as there is not a ton of information online. Making it up to 13,712 is easy and even though there's no defined route, trust your eye and ascend the talus/boulder field to the top. Once you reach the top of 13,712, the real fun begins. The theme of this report for the ridge will be: look for solid rock. When in doubt, stay off of loose stuff beside the towers and climb over. The towers look daunting from Shavano but look more manageable once you reach 13,712 and even more manageable standing at each base.

Coming out the bottom of the first descent off of 13,712, aiming at the first ridge towers.

Looking back at the first descent. While you may be able to climb down the middle, it's all loose and we decided to descend the solid rock on climbers left (the rock in the middle of the picture).

As you progress through the ridge, the first 1/3 and last 1/3 have the most technical sections. While there are certainly loose pieces of rock that you should be cognizant of, I would disagree that the whole ridge is "rotten". If you ever have the option of climbing over a tower or trying to climb around on loose rock/scree to the right, always opt for the tower. Exposure can get to me (father dyer to mt helen had me shaking a bit in spots) but I never felt that the exposure on top of the towers was an issue. As you progress through the ridge, there are 2 or 3 towers closer to jones peak where climbing around is the easier route but it's only because there is really solid rock to the side closer to Shavano lake. Use common sense and judgement and you shouldn't have an issue.

This rock near the end of the 1st section is all solid and incredibly fun to scramble over and down.

Downclimbing a tower. While most moves are not overly technical, occasional rocks can be loose so keep 3 points of contact.

Continue on the route until you finally reach Jones peak which will be the highest point remaining on the ridge. DO NOT DESCEND EARLY. There are plenty of cliff bands at the bottom of the ridge near the lake and I have no idea what your path would look like if you ended up on top of one. Once you summit Jones, the descent is fairly obvious. There should be a rolling ridge to your left that you want to keep just to your left as you descend. The descent is steep but actually becomes easier about half way down as you scree ski to the left side lake.

At the lake, we emptied out our shoes, took in the view from the lake, and gave our legs a quick 10 minute rest. Now, on to easily the worst part of the hike, the route back to the Shavano trail.

One of the main reasons I wanted to make this trail report was to point out the traverse back to the main trail from the lake. It's not at all obvious and we went straight and left from the lake instead of immediately climbing to the right. Hike up to your right from the lake so that you end up above a band of cliffs. We went under and soon realized we were not hiking the correct spot. If you start on top of the cliffs, you can easily hold elevation (right around 12,000) and bushwack straight across the side of the mountain. We found ourselves at about 11,200-11,400 instead and had some sketchy traversing to a gully where we had to climb straight back up a series of boulders and rocks to regain 12,000 feet. Once back at the correct elevation, the traverse through the grass and shrubbery was much easier and we intersected with the Shavano trail just above where we planned.

Once on the trail, routing finding is obviously no issue but we were completely drained physically with my knees howling. It was a few miles from this point to the trailhead via another unrelenting descent.

Thumbnails for uploaded photos (click to open slideshow):
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Comments or Questions
Traverse to Jones
09/19/2019 11:57
Good TR, thanks for posting. We did this a few weeks later and I didn't check for any new TRs, so I went by two others.
My comments, which agree with yours, but may offer a little more info:
The ridge to Jones is class 3 and the rock isn't too bad. The only time we bypassed towers was closer to Jones when there was grass on the RH/south side - just to save time we took the grass. Don't bypass towers on the steep dirt slopes and crappy rock below. Every tower we went over we could easily down-climb. There was only one somewhat tricky class 3 down-climb and that was on one of the early towers when I picked a route down the LH/north side with some exposure. There may have been an easier way...
Once on Jones' summit, descend S to the SE end of the lake. Too much either way, especially west, and you'll get into steep territory. Just aim for the end of the lake.
At the lake we climbed to 11.8K and traversed SE for a while but kept getting stuck in the trees. I got frustrated and dropped down to a clear area at 11.6k, hiked SE, and then we did a brutal straight steep hike SSW up an open grassy area to get back to the trail.
We both ran out of water on Jones. Bring a filter to refill at the lake. I knew I wouldn't have enough water but didn't think I'd run out so early. We live at 1000 ft so I'm sure we drink a lot more than most.
We did Esprit, and skipped Tab as we both have already done it. 11.3 miles, 5500 ft gain with loosing the 200 ft to avoid the trees, 9:50 total time

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