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 Peak(s):  Mt. Shavano  -  14,229 feet
 Post Date:  12/04/2008 Modified: 12/13/2008
 Date Climbed:   11/23/2008
 Posted By:  JB99

 The Angel‘s Spine   

Nothing like a spring snow climb in November... After hearing that the Angel was relatively climbable Jessica and I decided it would make for a fun trip. We had been planning on saving this one for next spring but since the opportunity was there we packed up the Jeep and set off. We got to the trailhead and after some freeze dried beef stew dinner went to sleep. We made a nice bed in the back of the Grand Cherokee and opened the sunroof to vent and enjoy the stars. It was a cold night but we were comfortable and slept ok all things considered. We woke up after hitting sleep once or twice and had some oatmeal before setting off. We stopped to enjoy the sunrise not far from the parking lot.

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It was here that I realized I had forgot the phone so I jogged back to the car to get it. Better to have it in case of any emergency, especially in light of the recent fall on our route and the role a cell phone played in that rescue. This gave Jessica time to take some cool pictures of the sun playing with the Aspen trees as it rose.

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A little ways up the trail you will come across this completely inappropriate tree.

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A little further in we came across a group that had camped out a mile or two in and stopped to chat with them. They were planning on climbing the Angel too but didn't seem to know that they would need to turn off the standard trail to get there. They asked if we would mark the turn for them with a white tee shirt and we did. The turnoff to cut through the forest is also marked by this cairn, if you pass it just make the turn a little higher per Bill's route description. Both are obvious.

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Walking through the forest we came across this paw print in the snow. Bear?

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Follow the drainage as close to the middle as possible and eventually you will clear the trees and the Angel comes into view, or in our case the Angel's spine.

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The view looking back down the valley is not an ugly thing and you should take some time to enjoy it.

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The kids we bumped into earlier must have found the tee shirt because they quickly caught up and passed us. We also saw this fellow and managed to get a picture of him.

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Here are the other climbers passing us up the Angel, none of them used crampons and they didn't seem necessary.

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We used ours as we wanted to practice using them, here are a few pictures of me heading up.

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That last picture reminds me I need to get that ace bandage out of my backpack and into the trash, gross.

We climbed all the way up the snow around 1000 vertical feet according to my altimeter. The snow continued up the left arm almost to the saddle. This is the view from our descent of the standard route.

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I had spent the last week fighting a cold and Jessica was happy to hear me say that I didn't have the traverse over to Tabeguache in me. Once we hit the saddle the wind hit us, it had gusted a few times strongly while we were in the Angel but this was sustained 30+ mph wind with stronger gusts. Not feeling well I moved slow the rest of the way. Don't be fooled, once you finish on the snow the summit is 1000 vertical feet off and for me that felt like even longer. Some friendly folks passed us on the way down and politely asked if we minded if they let the dogs off the leash. I gave my standard answer, "as long as they don't bite." We finally hit the summit after what felt like too long and stopped to enjoy a snack. Here are a few pictures of me leaning in the wind and enjoying the summit ridge.

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I was really impressed with the views Shavano's summit allows. You can see 14ers from each range, the Sangres were spectacular across the San Luis valley. It was a beautifully clear day and considering the time of year it was really hot. Probably around 30-40 F all day.

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Jessica had a much better non-verbal expression for me this week than she did a few weeks ago.

This week...
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A few weeks ago...
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After a little rest we started down. We decided to take the standard route since the Angel was already shaded and we didn't want to risk an icy descent. On the way out we ran into a couple cows that live near the parking lot but it was otherwise uneventful. This was a great route and would make a great first snow climb for someone that wants something mellow.

All photos taken by Jesse Benn or Jessica Schouten



Thumbnails for uploaded photos (click to open slideshow):
 


  • Comments or Questions (4)
George Kaplan


Excellent Report and Great Pics!     2008-12-04 08:37:35
It looks like you had a great time! I did pretty much the same exact route as you about a month ago and had a blast, though I want to return and go up the standard east slopes route next time so that I have the time & energy to make it over to Tabeguache. I bet that there‘s much more snow on the Angel now!


Presto


Hahaha!     2008-12-04 08:42:05
I love the comparative pictures of Jessica! Classic! And, nice picture of the big horn sheep. Happy trails.


JB99


Thanks!     2008-12-05 13:22:51
Thanks for the comments. I‘m excited to get back there this spring and climb this route again but include Tabeguache.

The lower picture of Jessica is one of my favorite summit shots...


skier25


Great     2008-12-07 02:51:16
Good pictures. They are very interesting to look at and it looks like you had fun. Well done.



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