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Mount Shavano

snow Angel of Shavano
Difficulty Class 2 
Snow Steepness: Easy 
Ski/Board: Intermediate, D3 / R2 / III  
Risk FactorsExposure: Moderate
Rockfall Potential: Moderate  
Route-Finding: Considerable  
Commitment: Moderate  
Start9,750 feet
Summit14,230 feet
Total Gain4,600 feet
RT Length8 miles
Last UpdatedAug 2023
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This route should only be climbed with consolidated, stable snow, usually in spring or early summer. In mid-winter, many snow routes have frequent risk of avalanche.


On U.S. 285, one mile north of the U.S. 50 junction near Poncha Springs, turn west onto County Road (CR) 140. This turn is about 21 miles south of Buena Vista, and across the highway from the Salida airport. Measure from here. On CR 140, drive 1.7 miles and then turn right on CR 250. Continue to 2.6 miles where the road turns to dirt. Once you enter BLM land the road becomes rough and rocky. At 5.9 miles, stay left at a junction and continue on FR 252. At 9.0 miles, stay left at another junction and continue a bit farther to reach the trailhead at 9.2 miles. If the lot is full, there is overflow parking if you continue 0.1 mile beyond the trailhead.


The "Angel of Shavano" is a snow feature that resembles an angel - 1 and 2. It's located in the center of Shavano's southeast slopes and frequently used as a spring snow climb. In some years, you may find continuous snow from the angel to the summit. From the trailhead, follow the trail approximately 0.1 miles to a trail junction - 3. Turn right onto the Colorado Trail and hike 1/4 mile to another junction and turn left onto the Mt. Shavano trail - 4. Follow a wide, rocky trail for a short distance and turn right to follow the well-defined Shavano trail north, then west - 5 and 6. Zig zag through the forest and pass a couple of boulders ( 7) to reach a flat area near 10,700'. Continue to a stream and follow it up a hill before crossing it at 10,800' - 8. Near 11,100', leave the trail by turning left and hiking west along the drainage below the Angel. If you are unsure where to turn, continue on the main trail to a corner at 11,200' where the trail swings right. Turn left here and hike west into the drainage - 9.

Without a trail, continue west through the trees on easy terrain. Locate the stream in the drainage and follow it west/northwest toward tree line. If there is snow coverage, simply take the path of least resistance through the forest - 10. The terrain never gets too steep, just some small hills. Near 11,600', pop out of the trees near the center of the basin below the Angel - 11. Continue around a corner and above 11,600' to get your first head-on view of the Angel - 12. This is a good area to turn on your avalanche beacons and study the snow conditions ahead.

Continue up the center of the basin to reach the bottom of the Angel - 13. As 14ers go, the Angel is an easy snow climb and ski/ride. Begin your ascent of the Angel - 14. The steepest terrain is between 12,200' and 12,600' - 15 and 16. Taken on a different climb and in early summer, 17 is a look across the Angel from the standard trail. Continue through the upper body and to the head where you finally get a view of the summit - 18. The terrain becomes easier above 13,300', near the top of the Angel - 19. If you run out of snow, this is a good place to decide if you want to use the upper part of the standard East Slopes Route to gain the summit. If there is more snow above and right of the summit, the most direct route is to continue north up the slope and gain the east ridge - 20. If you choose this route, turn left on the ridge crest and hike rocky terrain ( 21 and 22) to reach the summit - 23 and 24.


Leaving the summit: 25
Into the Angel: 26
Lower part of the Angle: 27, 28


If there is heavy snow cover, the trek to 11,100' can be confusing if you aren't familiar with it. A GPS with pre-loaded route/waypoint data and careful map preparation is helpful.
#1 #2 #3 #4 #5 #6 #7 #8 #9 #10 #11 #12 #13 #14 #15 #16 #17 #18 #19 #20 #21 #22 #23 #24 #25 #26 #27 #28

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