Peak(s):  Mt. Shavano  -  14,229 feet
Date Posted:  05/12/2011
Date Climbed:   04/19/2011
Author:  Michael York
 Success on Shavano  

First of all, I apologize for not posting sooner. I know the information I have is not as useful now as it would have been the day after my climb, but I have had a few very busy weeks and just haven’t found the time to get a TR together.

The weather has not been kind to me of late, and reports were bad for the day of our climb. We had dry roads all the way to the TH near Poncha Springs (the snow drift 3 miles out was melted enough to drive around), but we could see the storm coming as we geared up. The snow started falling as we hit the trail, but we were determined and pressed forward. Thanks to SurfNTurf and his crew breaking trail a couple days earlier, we didn’t need the snowshoes until close to the treeline and made good time on the packed snow.

A view of the angel as we drove up... notice how nice the weather looks.

When we cleared the trees, the wind really picked up and whipped down the mountain right in our faces. We bundled up and trudged forward in snowshoes to the base of Shavano’s angel. Our ascent was uneventful. The wind was ferocious, and the storm had finally arrived, reducing visibility substantially with fresh snow. The spikes on our snowshoes gripped the steep slope fairly well, but things would have gone much quicker with crampons.

Atop the Angel we got a brief reprieve from the weather and Tabeguache Peak came into view. We took a moment to soak up the beauty of our surroundings before trudging up. The last push to the summit was difficult to say the least. Conditions were drastically different than SurfNTurf’s report a few days prior, and we fought against deep, slick snow as we scrambled up towards the summit in the now resumed blizzard. We finally reached the summit, later in the afternoon than planned, and took a brief rest. Tabeguache was out of the question given the time and weather, so we had a last high five and began our descent.

Nearing the top of the angel...

The view of Tabeguache...

Mt. Shavano summit pics...

Over the edge...

There was some questionable snowpack just below the summit, but we carefully picked our way back down to the top of the angel, hoping a glissade would quicken our descent. Unfortunately, the slick snow we encountered on the way up had a few fresh inches on the way down, and didn’t slide very well at all. We were able to make a few short glissades, but pretty much hopped down the snowfield back to the treeline. At treeline the skies cleared, and we had a great view. We had to keep the snowshoes on the avoid post holing through the trees until we reached dry ground, about half a mile from the vehicle. The weather back at the TH was beautiful, and we enjoyed a cold brew as the sun sank lower in the sky. We left with that satisfied feeling that only a successful climb can bring and talked about our adventure all the way back to Denver.

Big thanks to SurfNTurf for the quick info the night before our trip, and my apologies again for being so slow to post. Once again, you can ignore the time stamps on the pics from Andy's camera... we're getting there

My GPS Tracks on Google Maps (made from a .GPX file upload):

Thumbnails for uploaded photos (click to open slideshow):

 Comments or Questions
Wish I lived in CO

Nice pics of Tab.
05/12/2011 17:18
Well Done

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