Start: 6:47 AM
“Esprit Point”: 9:30 AM
Mount Shavano: 10:23 AM
Tabeguache Peak: 11:37 AM
Pt 13,712’: 1:18 PM
Jones Peak: 3:04 PM
Shavano Lake: 4:12 PM
Rejoin Std Trail: 5:13 PM
Back at car: 6:18 PM
Total Time: 11h 31m
Total Distance: 11 miles (Roach’s Colorado Fourteeners book had this listed at 10.6 miles)
Total Elevation Gain: 5,488' (Roach’s Colorado Fourteeners book had this listed at 5,600’)
As there are lots of trip reports on the standard Shavano/Tabguache hike, this will only focus on the parts that differ from the standard combo.
My route and elevation profile
13,630’ “Esprit Point” as seen from 12,170’ along the standard Shavano trail.
Here is “Esprit Point” as seen from the saddle. Nothing tough here…just a simple walk-up. I took the left-side along the edge on the way up to get views down into the valley and on the way back to the saddle just made a beeline for the trail.
Summit of 13,630’ “Esprit Point” looking back on Mt Shavano foreground and Tabeguache Peak background left
Here you can see the route I took off the summit of Jones Peak down to Shavano Lake as seen from the summit of Mt Shavano. I thought about staying a little further left of the line I took lower down, but that area held more loose scree which, coupled with the slope, didn’t appear to be that much fun. I stuck with areas that had some vegetation holding rocks together and also thought the larger talus in areas on my line would make for a better descent. Seemed to work out ok. At that point I am sure pretty much any route would have worked as long as you didn’t go too far right where you will cliff out.
View from summit of Tabeguache Peak to Pt 13,712’ and the connecting ridge eastward to 13,604’ Jones Peak.
This is the general route to take off Tabeguache and onto Pt 13,712’. There are other options. I liked the rock quality better off to the right on the ridge so traversed across to gain that and from there dropped down into the saddle. Yellow arrow at bottom right shows the standard route back up Shavano.
View of the broad saddle around 13,400’ with Pt 13,712’ next in line along with the connecting ridge to Jones Peak. You may notice in my route map that in this saddle I ended up way on the east side of this saddle. You do NOT have to do that. I only went over there to get a look down the valley to Shavano Lake as well as to get a better look at possible descent routes off Jones Peak.
From the saddle’s east side looking down to Shavano Lake and a different angle on potential descent routes off Jones Peak to the lake.
I hope you like talus because this is what you have to look forward to over the next 300’ of elevation gain heading up to Pt 13,712’! Actually it looks a lot worse than it is. It really turned out to be pretty good as not many of these teetered and you could--more often than not--piece them together to act as pretty decent steps.
From the summit of Pt 13,712’ looking back across to the Shav/Tab saddle and the straight-forward route I took.
So here is my disclaimer for the next set of pics showing various spots along the traverse. I did my best to depict the up/down climbs I did, but have to admit that looking at these pics a day later they look like a crazy mess of boulders strewn all over the place. Just be sure to scout. That said, other than one or two spots that readily comes to mind, I never deviated from the top of the ridge all the way across. Wear a helmet and--unlike what I did--this is a ridge that may best be done with a partner. Don’t know your comfort/skill level, but there were two or three times as I down climbed off some tower that I thought it sure would have been nice to have another set of eyes with me. Roach described the ridge as “…Class 3 scrambling over and around several obnoxious, rotten towers”. I would agree with that but add there may be a Class 4 maneuver or two if you do not go around any of those towers.
Start of the ridge as seen from Pt 13,712’. I have to admit when I first saw the ridge from this angle I thought “uh-oh…there is NO way I am going to stick to the ridge with that rotten rock”. However, as you can see in the next shot that I took once I got right to the start and could see what was on the other side, I felt MUCH better about staying on the ridge proper.
Start of the ridge as seen from the beginning where you have a much better view of what is on the north side.
Standing at the end of the first tower looking for a way down. The rock was pretty rotten all around this area.
Standing on the subsequent tower looking back at the down climb.
A little ways up the third tower looking back to the down climb off the second tower, then looking at the ridge line ahead and finally back to the third tower’s down climb. The nice thing is the rock got quite a bit better as compared to the first tower in particular. This really is what much of the ridge is like…down climb one tower, up the next, down that one, up the next. Definitely a roller coaster!
Yet another down climb with look back. This down climb was—at least to me—the most or second-most difficult spot as the line I chose was near vertical and you had to test each hand-hold and foot placement very, very well. With some of the rotten rock I saw earlier, I was concerned with something giving way here. Fortunately the rock turned out to be pretty solid and there were enough cracks to wedge in a hand/foot. Looking at this from the other side, I see there are some better options.
Looking back at the ridge so far. In my opinion, the first 1/3 of the ridge is the most difficult. The next shot shows what is up next on the ridge which is far easier than what you just finished. The second third of the ridge is the easiest while the final third is more difficult, but not nearly as bad as the first.
Looking at easier terrain to come.
Some “bumps” along the road which can easily be avoided if you want.
Look back at some of the "bumps" so far:
Top of the last “bump” looking ahead
Looking back at the “bumps”
One spot I deviated from the top. Crazy I am sure but I had this thought in my head where, as I climbed up that center crack, the boulder on left gave way (?!?!?!) so I skirted high just to the right!
Getting closer. The rock here reminded me of the boulder “playgrounds” on Bison Peak
As mentioned earlier, the final third of the ridge was a little bit tougher, but not as bad as the first and the rock was nothing like the rotten mess early on. General route shown to the next tower.
Top of tower looking back
Final bumps between you and the summit
Almost there and the summit cairn can just start to be made out.
Summit of 13,604’ Jones Peak looking back on the joyous ridge romp you just finished!
Jones Peak summit view to the north with Mount White and then last week’s outing Mount Antero in the background
Soak up the view from the summit of Jones Peak down into the valley to get a good idea of your plan from here on out. The general plan should be to stick to right around 12,000’ feet from Shavano Lake traversing the slope as you curl around to join up with the standard Shavano route. One thing I might have changed would have been to start the traverse from the lake just a little higher than I did. Ended up dropping a little lower than I should have early on and then had to up climb through trees that were petty thick in some spots. I also purposely ran a little high towards the end of this traverse as I wanted to be sure I didn’t overshoot meeting up with the standard trail.
Couple lake shots at various points on the descent off Jones
At the lake looking back up the slope off Jones
A short distance past the lake looking at the traverse ahead and the point I want to hit the ridge in order to meet up with the standard trail
A few pics taken along the traverse.
This next shot with the arrow does not show when you rejoin with the standard trail, but rather meant to match up with the arrow in one of the previous pics. I curled around the ridge at that point and then after another 50 yards, or so, met up with the standard trail.
Rejoining the standard trail
A couple shots that make me very thankful I wasn’t trying to do this hike along the standard trail shortly after that “microburst” toppled hundreds of trees earlier this season.
A few "bonus" pics. Panos stitched together with the first being taken from the summit of Mount Shavano across the valley to Jones Peak, from the summit of Tabeguache Peak looking on (r to l) "Esprit Point", Mount Shavano, Jones Peak and Pt 13,712' and finally from Shavano Lake back up the valley:
Another long yet great day in the mountains. However, don't know what took longer...the hike itself or this TR! Enjoy.