Peak(s):  Mt. Shavano  -  14,229 feet
Tabeguache Peak  -  14,155 feet
Date Posted:  07/08/2008
Date Climbed:   07/06/2008
Author:  covfrrider

 Sweet 16 in the South Sawatch  

Mount Shavano/Tabaguache Peak
July 6th, 2008
Route: Standard
Round Trip: ~11 miles
Elevation Gain: 4500'
covfrrider, Mel McKinney, Dave

The plan:

Mel had originally planned on joining KeithK and I (and the Holy Cross group) for the 4th of July outing, but after Keith broke his wrist, alternate plans were necessary. As the weekend approached, Mel had mentioned a group going to Shav/Tab. I glommed on to what was originally 6 or 7, but became just the 3 of us. this would be my 15th and 16th 14ers, and 14 and 15 this year.

I drove down to Buena Vista mid day Saturday, had lunch and went by CKS. I hadn't been to their store in since 1987, 21 years ago when I purchased my Perception Dancer Xt, paddle, jacket and other whitewater garb from them. Things have certainly changed in the paddling world. Perception no longer makes whitewater products, boats are shorter, and prices have gone up!

I met up with Mel and Dave at the Blank Cabin TH around 4. We drove up 254 Rd and found a nice, relatively flat area with 2 fire rings and views of the north Sangre de Cristo's. We set up camp, had some beers, food and laughs.

Fire! (Photo by Mel McKinney)

The climb:

I awoke at 5 Sunday morning, to find Dave cooking up Bacon and eggs... I had my blueberry muffin and milk, broke down my tent and prepped for the climb, while Mel and Dave had their 4 course Denny's breakfast.

We left camp at about 6:25, and bushwhacked over to the main shavano trail.

Heading up the faint road into the woods (Photo by Mel McKinney)

Dave surveys the route (Photo by Mel McKinney)

Climbing up through the Forest (Photo by Mel McKinney)

We met up with the main trail near the stream crossing after about 45 minutes of adventurous bushwhacking in the trees. We broke above timberline around 8:30.

Dave near timberline (Photo by Mel McKinney)

Mount Ouray dominates the view to the south for the first half of the route

The Crestones on the southeast horizon

Dave with the Arkansas River in the background

Mel with the Arkansas River in the background

Dave and I enjoy a snack above timberline (Photo by Mel McKinney)

The standard route to the Shavano saddle

The upper part of the standard route

The summit:

Dave and I caught up to a gentlemen and his 2 kids right below the summit block. The 5 of us had a short chat, they were here from Oklahoma and Shav/Tab was their final climb of their vacation before heading home on Monday. We all continued on to the summit, arriving right about 10:00. I lingered for a few minutes, Dave headed back down to the saddle and joined Mel, as she wasn't feeling well and decided to hang out and wait for our return. I took off for Tab, and summited at about 11:00. I was alone on the summit for about 15 minutes, long enough to take a couple of pictures, and confirm that Dave and Mel were at the saddle.

Artsy hero shot

At this point, I started back down Tab, and when I got to the saddle between Shav/Tab, noticed that the sky to the south was getting a little darker.

Some scenics:

The west face of Mount Shavano

Mount Ouray

North to Antero and the rest of the Sawatch

I decided to traverse around the east face of Shavano to avoid the 500 feet or so of climbing over the top. It was fun class 2/2+ scrambling. An occasional class 3 spot would present itself, making route finding somewhat challenging. I tried to just stay in a 50 foot vertical zone. I arrived on the east saddle at about 12:10, called Dave and Mel on the radio and told them to get going, as now the weather was threatening.

I met them right at the top of the angel body, and Mel and I opted for glissade. Dave continued on the trail with the agreement we'd meet near the stream crossing.

Mel after the big glissade

Some wildflowers:

Flowers! (Photo by Mel McKinney)

More flowers!

Enough with the flowers already...

We met up with Dave, and attempted to retrace out route back through the trees. Somehow, we ended up a couple of hundred feet off route, but found our way back to camp around 2:00. The last 30 minutes or so we got rained and hailed on. 10 minutes after arriving at the cars, the sun came out. Welcome to Colorado in July!

Dave packing his tent, and me, trying to dry out (Photo by Mel McKinney)

A parting shot was in order.

Mount Shavano from Road 250

We reconvened in Buena Vista, with the thoughts of greasy cheeseburgers and french fries. K's was swamped, so we headed across the street to Pizza Work's. A 20" pie was demolished in no time, and it was time to head home.

Thanks Dave and Mel for sharing my sweet 16th with me! It was a great weekend with some new friends... looking forward to more climbs with these fine folks from the Vail Valley!


 Comments or Questions

Great Pics
02/05/2011 00:22
I plan to try both peaks this Friday, 7/11. Your pictures were awesome, thanks!

Chicago Transplant

07/08/2008 15:56
Nice job Brian! Hey, if you keep climbing with all of us Vail people we are going to make you move up here so we can split gas

Mel McKinney

11/30/2010 17:28
Couldn't have said it better myself.
You and Dave cracked me up all weekend. Thanks for hanging with us both!

P.S. It was only a TWO course breakfast!


07/08/2008 18:08
Good work on the climb and nice TR. I was passing through BV on saturday. I was going to stop at K‘s but that line just looked way too long! I stopped at the 7-11 and got some of thier nachos - worst post climb meal ever!

Where was TGC on this one?


Did you need snowshoes??
07/08/2008 21:31
Looked like the Angel was in true form for skiing!!
Congrats on a great outing.



no snowshoes...
07/08/2008 21:38
were necessary, but it does look if there will still be snow on July 23rd...

Mike - Yeah, I‘m almost a west sloper... oh yeah, I was born on the west slope, so I‘m probably grandfathered in.

Mel - Yeah, 2 course, my bad...

CU - yeah, K‘s was crazy... funny thing is the guy at the pizza place said it isn‘t all that... and TGC was busy up north from what I understand...


Sorry to miss you!!!
01/19/2011 03:38
It looks like I started almost an hour before you. Those clouds were funny. At 10:50 on Tab, it looked like nothing to worry about. The closer I got to Shavano, the worse it looked, and the graupel got hectic as I sped down toward treeline.
Thanks for writing up such a good day

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