Peak(s):  Mt. Shavano  -  14,229 feet
Tabeguache Peak  -  14,155 feet
Date Posted:  08/03/2010
Date Climbed:   07/26/2010
Author:  ChrisM
 Shavano twice, Tabeguache once - East Slopes  

Climbing Shavano and Tabeguache is a long day via the East Slopes. Climbing back over Shavano on the way down from Tabeguache in an unfortunate, but necessary ordeal. That coupled with a 9750' TH made for long distance and a high elevation gain.

Shavano and Tab as seen on the TH drive

My original plan was to hike in and camp as high as I could to save time and energy, but when I arrived at the very nice TH, it started to thunder, lightening and rain, so it was another "campout" in the back of my Pilot. The good part was that I didn't have to carry my tent, etc, and I haven't quite figured out how to do that yet, but that's another story. With reading about the Blank Cabin history, the CFI work, etc, I decided to take the route better for the environment. Also, I know what the route description said, but the current trail really does start right behind the toilet! You can't miss it.

The trail really does start there!

I woke up at 4am and on the trail by 4:35am. Not a bad prep time. I take exception to the route description of the initial part of the trail as being "great," as it seemed to be an ankle roller in the dark, despite my headlight. It was definitely wide! There was a section where you have to go left, which seemed unnatural, and then down, then up and to the right. Easy to see on the way down, but there is a cairn in the gap to connect hikers. The path also had a path within a path where there were less rocks to tend to, but this was only visible on the way down in daylight.

The higher you got the better the trail.

It seemed like it took forever to reach treeline and then I recalled this trail had an extra 1000' or so. Passing the Angel, now in hiding, I could make out some of the features and wished I could have seen her in person this trip. The trail definitely had personality, lots of turns, rocks, and trees oh my!

Starting before sunrise is always rewarded with an alpineglow phot op.

Sunrise = Warmth; then heat.

The Angel sleeps, I think you can still see her.

The false summit of Shavano does a great job of hiding the 14er that you're after. Then, after getting up this little hill on mostly definable trail, the real work and trail blazing occurs. There is a trail going up, but it is more visible on the way down. After a summit time of 4:50, a quick pic, snack, weather observation and off to Tab. The scenery on the way down to the saddle was beautiful. The trail was right of the ridge going down, but relatively high. You wouldn't want to be on the other side!

The false summit giving hope that you're there.

On Shavano's Summit, register cannister was broken.

The bad side. Notice my left arm shadow holding the camera.

The good side of the traverse.

About half way down to the saddle you can see how the trail descends and then begins the ascent of Tab. There are many trails hidden on the mountain. I picked the right side for the first two thirds and then traversed and ascended up the middle taking 1:35 to summit Tabeguache. A woman climber from Canada took my pic and the battery allowed this one last photo and then gave up. I knew exactly where the spare was in Colorado Springs, but that didn't help much. I had planned to take so many more photos on the way down. Next time bring the battery, it doesn't weigh that much.

Nearing the saddle, trails up Tab are coming into view

The saddle

Just an interesting shot that makes you feel like you're walking into a vacuum.

I think this is Princeton

On the saddle, looking so full of life.

Last shot of the trip, Tabeguache summit and dead battery.

With three ups and three downs on this climb, my knees, legs and spunkiness had worn down. When reclimbing Shavano, I was a little low and had to make some vertical corrections in order to summit Shavano right over the top. Thanks to a very nice woman climber from Conifer who provided the aim point of my talus hopping who was sitting near the ridge waiting for her friends who where behind her, and me. One group was traversing even lower than me so I asked them if they knew of a route. I was all for traversing Shavano if possible. They conferred with each other and then came up my direction. As I crossed the summit, I noticed that the marmots had recaptured the top and I was an invader. They scampered around keeping a watchful eye on me and made their little chirping noise. I was out of their way in little time.

All the while, the sky was blue with little puffy white clouds placed sporadically in the atmosphere.

Once reaching the summit of Shavano, again, I recalled a writer saying it was all down hill from here. That phrase takes on a newer meaning for me. Down hill doesn't mean it will be easy. Making it to treeline, I had promised myself a short break, which ended up being 30 minutes, but could have easily stretched out longer. Things to do, places to go. Before I could take a break, I came across two nanny goats and their kids on the trail munching at the foliage. I stopped and watched them for a few minutes trying to recall if they were dangerous, the kids would definitely play a factor in whether or not they saw me as a threat. I talked to them, they stared at me. One came up the path about 20 feet from me and stopped. I didn't know whether to go up or down, so I just stood there. Eventually, she moved uphill a little. Then I begin going downhill where the other mamma and two kids were. They finally bounded uphill (wished I could do that) and allowed me to pass.

After the break, I felt much better, hydrated and food ingested; left knee and all other body parts rested, I was ready to head for the finish line. About an hour from the TH, my wife called to check in since I hadn't sent her the SPOT message yet saying I was down off the mountain. Well, I knew it had taken longer than expected to get down, but I couldn't send the message until it was true. Anyway...

Got back to the TH and storms were brewing like they did the night before. Tired, but happy. The standard route doesn't make sense to just climb Shavano when a small investment of time and energy will net another peak, but it is a tough route. Very rewarding to have done. It would really be sad to have weather prevent the completion of Tab so I advise picking a really, really good weather day in order to minimize having to go back and repeat Shavano in order to finish the pair.

Thumbnails for uploaded photos (click to open slideshow):

 Comments or Questions
Doctor No

08/03/2010 16:31
That's Antero in your third-from-last photo. Nice report!


08/03/2010 21:34
Apt description for picture #13!


good work!
08/16/2010 21:50
that was a tough one... your report helped me prepare mentally, thx!


I learned from experience...
08/23/2010 00:23
to keep an extra set of batteries in my pocket. Great report, I really enjoyed Shavano but I wish I would have went ahead and made the attempt over to Tabeguache. I'll get it someday.


08/23/2010 21:34
Thank you for the kind words! I do carry batteries for my headlamp 3 AAA type, 2 pair of AAs for the GPS and now added a small rectangular one for the camera. I do have a camera that uses 2 AAs, but it's heavier than the one I'm using.

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