Peak(s):  Mt. Shavano  -  14,229 feet
Tabeguache Peak  -  14,155 feet
Date Posted:  06/08/2009
Date Climbed:   06/05/2009
Author:  jkausak
 Shavano and Tabegauche Anniversary  

We have used the beta from this site in the past, but had never submitted a trip report – mostly because most things we encountered had already been covered fairly well. But as our day on Shavano and Tabegauche progressed, we kept saying to ourselves that we should share our experience today as it might prove helpful to others.

We got an early start, leaving the trailhead a little after 5am. Our plan was to take the snowfree trail up to where snow started and then head up by whatever path seemed viable. So that is what we did. The trail up to where the snow started (near the head of the Angel) was straightforward. We are of the "slow and steady" mindset of hiker/climber, but we still made decent time. Having read several of the trip reports on this site and following the weather from the past week (which was of rain in Salida and snow on the mountains), we concluded that with our goal of reaching both peaks, snowshoes would be the best option for us. Too many stories of postholing with/without crampons – plus we knew our snowshoes give us excellent footing for most situations). That conclusion proved to be 99% correct. Even the two guys we encountered on our way back at the saddle between Shavano and Tabegauche (one who had crampons and one who was just in hiking boots – both who apparently had been postholing alot) agreed that snowshoes were the best option. Our MSR snowshoes with heel elevators worked great – going straightup when it was steep, going laterally, through/across rocks along the ridges.Image

We reached the top of Shavano at ~9:30a. During our short break at the top, we scouted out our next move. Besides being very windy and cold, the weather still looked fine. Image What did not look so fine was the east face (leeward) of the ridge of Tabegauche. There were cornices along the upper half of that ridge all the way to summit cone. Image Not wanting to traverse under those cornices and knowing that at some point we would have had to go up one near the summit, we decided that when we got over there, we would try the windward side. Image That was fine until about halfway up that ridge. Again, not wanting to get too close to the cornices, we found ourselves on a steep stretch where we could get no purchase with our snowshoes – the snow was very powdery and it was like trying to climb a steep sand dune and your feet just spinning. What made matters worse was that runout zone from this spot was 1000' down. At that same time we could see weather moving in. Having not brought a rope or snow anchors for continuing up this line and feeling the other side of the ridge was equally dangerous, sadly we decided to turn back. Plus we didn't know how bad the weather would get and we still had to get down to the saddle, back up Shavano, and then back to the truck. It was 11:00a.

We got back up to Shavano about 12:15p quite exhausted and shared Anniversary cards (yep our 4th wedding anniversary – we wouldn't have spent it any other way). The bad weather had broken and we stayed there for a bit – to rest up. The rest of the way back was uneventful and we thoroughly enjoyed the short glissades down from the Shavano summit and then of course, the 1200'+ long glissade down the right arm and body of the Angel. Image

We hope this info is useful to the folks visiting the website.

Thumbnails for uploaded photos (click to open slideshow):

 Comments or Questions
Brian C

Nice report
08/23/2010 14:48
Looks like a great day! I climbed the Angel one day before you and had a bear of a time alternating between solid snow and posthole-hell. I also ended up heading towards Tab, but got a ways and decided not to torture myself by having to posthole back over Shavano. Great glissade! When I tried the snow was too soft and I ended up having to plunge step the entire Angel.

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