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Mt. Shavano
snow Angel of Shavano
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Difficulty:
 Class 2 
Snow Steepness: Easy  
Ski/Board: Intermediate, D3 / R2 / III  
Risk Factors:Exposure: Moderate
Rockfall Potential: Moderate  
Route-Finding: Considerable  
Commitment: Moderate  
 
Trailhead:Shavano/Tabeguache
Start:9,750 feet
Summit:14,229 feet
Total Gain:4,600 feet
RT Length:7.50 miles
Duration:User Climb Times
Author:BillMiddlebrook
Updated:3/2019
Weather:NOAA Forecast
Conditions:288 reports
Cell Signal:13 reports
Sheriff:Chaffee: 719-539-2596
Forest:San Isabel
Quad. Maps:Log In to View
Camping:On Google Maps
Eats:On Google Maps
Downloads:Log In to Download
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Trailhead

On U.S. 285, one mile north of the U.S. 50 and U.S. 285 junction near Poncha Springs, turn west on County Road (CR) 140. This turn is about 21 miles south of Buena Vista, and across the highway from the entrance to the Salida airport. On CR 140, drive 1.7 miles and turn right on CR 250. Drive 0.8 to reach dirt road and reset your trip odometer. Drive 3.2 miles to a "Y" junction. Stay left on FR 252 and continue to another small junction, near a cattle guard, at ~6.2 miles. Cross the cattle guard and drive a bit farther to reach the Shavano+Tabeguache trailhead.

Route

The "Angel of Shavano" is a snow feature that sort of looks like an angel with arms and wings - 1. It's located in the center of Shavano's southeast slopes and is frequently used as a spring snow climb and ski route. In some years, it's possible to climb snow up the Angel and then continue on snow up to the east ridge and to the summit. The Angel-to-East Ridge combination ( 2 and 3) provides the best possibility for continuous snow from the summit down into the Angel.

From the Shavano/Tabeguache trailhead ( 4), follow the trail approximately 0.1 mile to a trail junction. Turn right onto the Colorado Trail and hike along a fence above the old Blank Cabin trailhead - 5. Near the corner of the fence, cross a cattle guard and continue 1/4 mile ( 6) to another trail junction - 7. Turn left onto the Mt. Shavano trail - 8. Hike over 3/4 mile into the forest ( 9) to a point where the terrain levels near 10,600'. Continue up to a larger flat area, near 10,700'. Walk northwest before ascending west along a small stream. Near 10,900', cross to the north side of the stream and continue weaving through the forest. Near 11,100', leave the trail by turning left and hiking west along the drainage below the Angel. To the north, you should be able to see a steep, tree-covered slope that forms the north side of the drainage - the main trail goes in that direction but you want to turn left and continue through the forest without a trail. If you are unsure about where to turn, continue on the main trail to 11,200' where it makes a hard right to climb east up the hill. Turn left here and hike west into the drainage to your left - 10.

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 - 11. 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 - 12 and 13. Consolidated snow coverage provides some easy trekking. Continue around a corner and above 11,600' to get your first head-on view of the Angel - 14. 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 - 15. As 14ers go, the Angel is an easy snow climb and ski/ride. Begin your ascent of the Angel - 16. The steepest terrain is between 12,200' and 12,600' - 17 and 18. Taken on a different climb and in early summer, 19 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 - 20. The terrain becomes easier above 13,300', near the top of the Angel - 21.

If you run out of snow, this is a good area to decide if you want to use the upper Mt. Shavano - East Slopes Route to gain the summit. If there is more snow above (right of the summit), the most direct route is to continue north up the slope ( 22) and gain the east ridge ( 23) on the saddle between the summit and Point 13,617' - 24. Turn left and hike steeper, rocky terrain up toward the summit - 25. It's difficult to see the exact summit until you are just a few feet below the top - 26, 27 and 28.

Skiing?

Skiing the upper East Ridge: 29, 30, 31
Into the Angel: 32, 33, 34, 35, 36, 37
Down through the body: 38, 39, 40, 41
Down into the basin: 42, 43
Looking back: 44, 45
Heading into the forest: 46

Notes

If there is heavy snow cover, the hike up through the forest can be confusing if you aren't familiar with it. A GPS with pre-loaded route/waypoint data or some careful map preparation is helpful.
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