June 23, 2002
Jim, a friend I made in the gym mainly through talking about 14ers was kind enough to invite along on their trip to Mt. Shavano and Tabegauche Peak. We left Saturday afternoon and drove to Monarch Lodge where we stayed the night. It was up at 5 a.m. and out the door around 5:30. We arrived at the trailhead a little before 6:30 and began hiking through the trees. The trail gains elevation quickly and the first half mile or so definitely gets the blood flowing. We passed another party of about 5 people after an hour or so of hiking. Below Billy is making his way up the trail.
The trail remains in the the trees for the first 2 miles or so and then breaks out onto a long gradual traverse towards the saddle between Shavano and Espirit Point. The trail continues directly behind me in the photo below to the saddle.
The photo below is almost to the saddle looking back. The trail steepens right before the saddle and then flattens out until the last slope up to the summit.
Once gaining the saddle you have some nice views of the surrounding peaks and some lakes to the west. There was quite a bit of smoke from the many Colorado fires so visibility was limited. The photo below was taken from the saddle looking at the final slope to the summit of Mt. Shavano. From here the trail isn't too bad and it's straightforward to the summit.
We arrived at the summit a little before 9:30 taking us 3 hours from the Blank Gulch trailhead. We stayed on the summit for about 20 or 30 minutes eating and enjoying the view. Below is a summit photo looking west.
From the summit we could see a couple people on the summit of Tabegauche and decided to head across the ridge. The photo below shows Tabegauche Peak from the summit, the route from Shavano crosses the ridge to the saddle, then straight up to the summit of Tabegauche.
The ridge consists of .25 miles of boulder hopping to the saddle at 13,700 feet between Shavano and Tabegauche. From the saddle it is an easy 400 feet to the summit of Tabegauche. Passing the party we had seen on Tabegauche, they came up the Jennings Creek trailhead which the forest service tries to discourage for environmental impact reasons. They said there wasn't a sign telling them not to use the trail but we felt they just were covering up their ignorance. Oh well.
Near the summit of Tabegauche Jim and I noticed Jon falling behind and stopping on the ridge. Contacting him on the radio we discovered he stepped on a boulder that wasn't secure and slipped into a hole between some rocks and twisted his knee in the process. He was heading back to the summit of Shavano and we would meet up with him on the descent.
We arrived on Tabegauche around 11 am and stayed on the summit about 20 minutes. After some jerky and a promax bar we began the descent back to the saddle not looking forward to summitting Shavano again. The photo below is from the summit of Tabegauche looking back at Mt. Shavano.
The ridge back up to the summit wasn't that bad, it was pretty gradual and we were quickly back on the summit of Shavano. Catching up to Jon we took our time descending back to the car. We passed about 10 people still heading up the mountain around 1 pm, a little late but the weather looked to be good for them. We arrived back at the trailhead around 3 pm tired from the long day but very satisfied with the trip.