Tabeguache Peak - Via Mt. Shavano
Climbing mountains is dangerous! Please read the Mountaineering Safety Page and make sure you have a map+compass and can use them effectively. A GPS or cell phone can be very helpful with navigation but you should still be able to use a map+compass in case your device stops working.
|Difficulty:|| Class 2 |
|Total Gain:||5,600 feet|
|RT Length:||11.25 miles|
|USGS Quad.:||Saint Elmo|
|County Sheriff:||Chaffee: 719-539-2596
|National Forest:||San Isabel|
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 4 miles to a "Y" junction. CR 250 goes right and Forest Road (FR) 252 starts on the left. Stay left on FR 252 and continue 2.9 miles to another small junction near a cattle guard. Cross the cattle guard and drive 0.2 miles to the Shavano+Tabeguache trailhead. The old Blank Cabin trailhead is now closed and gated. The trail starts behind the restroom, travels through the forest, and intersects the Colorado Trail near the old Blank Cabin trailhead.
First, follow Mt. Shavano Route #1 to the summit of Shavano. It's about 4 miles (one-way) and 4,400 feet of elevation gain to reach the Shavano summit. To reach Tabeguache, you must hike another mile and gain 500' along the way - Photo #1. Check the weather before making this commitment. Once you reach Tabeguache, the only practical escape is to return over Shavano.
From Shavano, you can see Tabeguache to the northwest - Photo #2, Photo #3, and Photo #4. Leave the Shavano summit and hike northwest along the long, rocky ridge. Photo #5 is a view of the traverse, seen from Mt. Antero to the north. It's approximately 0.6 miles and 600' of elevation loss to reach the gentle saddle ( 38.62622° N, -106.24581° W) between Shavano and Tabeguache. Photo #6 and Photo #7 were taken along the ridge. After some Class 2 hiking along the ridge, reach the 13,700-foot saddle - Photo #8 and Photo #9.
The Tabeguache summit is now 1/4 mile away and the remaining hike is fairly direct. Follow trail segments directly west up the slope on easy talus. If you lose the "trail", just continue directly up the slope or follow the right side. There is approximately 500' of elevation gain from the saddle to the summit. Photo #10 looks back at the route from the slope below the summit, Photo #11 and Photo #12 were taken just below the summit. When you finally reach the summit ( 38.625622° N, -106.250710° W), there are interesting views of Tabeguache's north face below and Mt. Antero to the north. Taken from the summit, Photo #13 looks back at Mt. Shavano and Photo #14 looks southwest. The slog back up Shavano can be a bit discouraging but it's all downhill from Shavano.
When the road is dry, most passenger cars can drive all the way to the trailhead. There isn't much of a trail on the final pitch up to the summit of Shavano (the end of Route #1). The traverse between Shavano and Tabeguache is also a bit rugged and lacks a defined trail.
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