|Moving Time||4 hr 58 min|
|Summit Elevation||14,229 feet & 14,155 feet|
|Elevation Gain||5,365 feet|
|GPS Export||KML GPX|
|GPS Analysis||Gamin Connect|
My climbing partners were up and ready for action again today. They sleep all week in preparation for the weekend adventures. Today, we had lots of time and the weather looked like it was going to hold all day so I opted to hit the southernmost part of the Sawatch to get that checked off the list. So we packed up and headed about 60 miles south near Poncha Springs. Drove the dirt road back to the Blank Cabin trailhead and we were off by 8 AM. The lot was pretty full of cars so I figured that would give us plenty of chase for the day. My legs were extremely confident from the get-go today. However, my lungs were signalling that they weren’t in the mood.
The trail was pretty choppy for the first mile. Felt like ascending Shadow Canyon. Then there was a big circular move to gain the ridge. Finally above treeline we could see the first target, Mount Shavano.
We never really broke our stride and hit the top in about 2:30. Lots of people up top. But the real twist to this climb is making it over to Tabeguache Peak and back to descend. Not a lot of other options. So when you hit Shavano, you start accessing if you can run over and tag its neighbor and get back with no difficulties. About 1/2 the crowd was moving on, the rest had enough with the single peak.
As I was getting out a bit of food and water for my buddies, Ozzy sees this marmot like a hundred feet of the edge and goes after him. I was kind of freaked. He usually is exploring summits but this was a bit of a steep edge. He ended up down on a rock that seemed like it looked over a significant drop. But I am sure it was a case where the kid knew his position better than the parent. He eventually returned. No marmot.
There is Tabeguache (shaded by the cloud) just after stepping off the Shavano summit. My splits showed it was exactly 1.0 miles summit to summit. Took 34 minutes to get over there. When you are up there, it looks forever away. You can see tiny people on the summit. The route isn’t well defined. Its just kind of like “go that way”. Lots of rock/boulder jumping. The dogs and I were making good time and passing most of the early morning crowd headed that way.
This is from the saddle between the two. Just a few hundred feet of vertical to go!
Made it. Nice shot over to Mount Antero, its 14er neighbor to the north. You can 4WD most of the way up Antero. Still debating just ATVing because YOU CAN. The roads were visible.
My boy’s 4th 14er of the summer. He is in his element out there. Everybody asks what breed he is and comments on his mountain skills. I joke and tell them he would be much faster if I wasn’t slowing him down. He runs 2x the distance I do as he goes off and investigates everything on the mountain near and far. Including rolling in any snow that is visible.
Lizzy was on alert the whole time on tab. Fucking marmots. She wants one. Bad.
The descent. Same thing. They saw one out in the open and it was quite the excitement.
The return over Shavano is supposed to be the crux of the route as you have to regain the summit. We were doing good. In fact, only +6 minutes over the other direction and I think I stopped and emptied my shoes. But that’s not good enough for Ozzy. He wanted back up on Shavano fast. Maybe that marmot came back?
We didn’t stop at the summit when we got there. Just dropped down the other side. Long line of folks stretched back to treeline that made it fun to work the descent. Ran out of water at treeline and I was pretty parched. But we kept a decent pace and hit the truck in 1:15 with a few stops along the way at the creeks.
I thought that 2-fer was going to be a gimme. But it wasn’t. The Sawatch always delivers with proper vertical gain. No shortcuts on these mountains.
As I was driving out of the trailhead, you are treated to a spectacular view of the peak you just came off of. Plus looking north you can string together views of several peaks of the same prominence. That got me to thinking how fucking ridiculous the Nolans 14 is. Get this. 4 miles from my house is the Leadville Fish Hatchery, where most people start this adventure. From there you string together fourteen 14ers in a row to end up at the trailhead I just left. I am driving back home by car probably 70 miles on a nice highway. The route for Nolans goes over the top of the peaks you drive along. Sick.