Peak(s):  Mt. Shavano  -  14,229 feet
Date Posted:  06/21/2010
Date Climbed:   06/20/2010
Author:  deliriousofi

 Shavano - Trail north of Angel Snowfield  

We began our hike at the Blank Gulch/Creek trail head at 6am on Fathers Day. The hike is about 1/3 below tree line and 2/3 above it, so wear sunscreen!

Below tree-line, the trail is well traveled and easy to see; it takes you through a conifer and aspen forest. This part of the hike consists of several flat and level sections, interspersed with steep climbs. If you brought a water filter, there are two streams you come across before reaching tree line; after that, there are no easily reached water sources. Half-way through the hike below tree-line, the trail no longer switches between level and steep, but is a steady upward grade. Side note: In the forested area, there is a whole group of Gray Jays (Perisoreus canadensis) that are more than willing to sit in your hand if you offer them a little something.

Above the tree-line, the trail becomes fairly eroded, with some falling-on-your-face potential. It travels north of the Angel Snowfield, which was looking mighty thin and not very angel-like this Sunday. There was no snow on the trail, except for one 20 foot section that was no problem. Once we reached the saddle between Shavano and Tabeguache, we were hammered by hurricane force winds. It was difficult to walk at a regular pace, let alone climb the uneven trail up the summit pyramid. Keep your eyes peeled for the cairns (the trail is pretty hard to keep track of and sometimes disappears altogether), otherwise, you will waste your energy climbing straight up and over huge boulders. (Cairns: they are pretty few and far between on this part of the hike, so do what I did; when you feel like you have a bit of extra energy, build them up a little to help your fellow hikers.) Once we reached the summit, we discovered that there was a whole section facing SE that was wind free and a pleasant lunch-devouring spot.

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