Peak(s):  PT 13,712  -  13,712 feet
Mt. Shavano  -  14,229 feet
Tabeguache Peak  -  14,155 feet
Date Posted:  07/31/2013
Modified:  08/13/2013
Date Climbed:   07/10/2013
Author:  zinj
 Seldom-used Northern Route to Tab-Shav-PT 13712 (Browns Lake) - 2013 Summer Trek Rpt 2 of 7  

July 10, 2013 - Summit Day 2
PT 13,712, Shavano, Tabeguache

This route qualifies as the road less traveled , involved some nasty lose *boulders* - not just talus, a lot of route-finding, and was pretty long.

First target: the high point (PT 13,712) above and behind the slob in this photo in order to reach the Shav-Tab saddle.
Not a morning person?

Viewed from much higher (on the previous day's hike), you can see today's targets and their connecting ridges. We took several photos since it was not really clear where to approach this mountain. The gully gets loose and steep, sot the challenge is to find a route to gain the GREEN portion of PT 13,712's flank, continue to half-way up and then hopefully find stable footing to continue to the ridge, or in my case, to the PT 13,712 summit. The different colored routes scribbled on this photo are conceptual approximations of the different routes the members of our group scouted - we bumped into Andrew and Monica, who we had met the previous night and more or less hiked together for the first part of the day.


BUT FIRST, we had to get through the forest to the flank of the mountain. There *IS* a cairned route up one of the avalanche gullies, but the lower stretches are so covered with downed trees that it's of little use until the forest thins out.

WATCH OUT FOR SPIDERS -- they OWN this slope.

Spider suspended in foreground with Andrew and Will behind

Hey, brah, want some dried fruit?

on of the more pleasant stretches of ascent up PT 13,712

Here's a heavily edited mashup video of the ascent up PT 13,712: Crumbly rock, sand, soft tundra, talus, boulders. A little bit of everything. I've retained more video on this bit than on other parts of the hike since the Tav-Shav ridges are heavily travelled and documented. In contrast, this odd North-side approach to PT 13,712 is not well known. Hopefully someone finds it useful.

If you watch the video, it's interesting that we found a long-unused trail which served us for a short distance. It had clearly been pounded into the mountain, but it had also grown back over with vegetation, leaving a soft green depression rather than the beat-out trails I usually see. It must see very infrequent traffic. If you can locate the trail earlier than we did, it can make your route more enjoyable and less steep)

Andrew and Monica had no intention of doing PT 13,712 so they made more or less direct progress to the low part of the ridgeline (blue route). I hewed to the East (red route) even though this meant more vert and Young Master William went somewhere in between (green route), finally deciding to ascent the ridge to the summit of PT 13,712 as he only had to gain a 150 feet or so on the ridgeline. In retrospect, I would recommend starting on red (and perhaps not going QUITE so far to the right). At the midpoint, switch to green, gain the ridge and use THAT to summit 13,712.

Summit PT 13,712

Summit PT 13,712, Mt. Shavano in background

Home sweet camp

After a moment of mirth, merriment and trail mix, Young Master William took off down the ridge en route to Shavano.
The routes ahead, taken from part way descended off PT 13,712

I stayed lower and took a more gradual tack up Shavano. Descend PT 13,712 on stable talus/boulders, cross to Shavano's slopes on tundra, ascend Shavano on stable rock embedded in a relatively forgiving hillside. The main challenge here is mental (at least for me!): Shavano has multiple falsies when you approach from the North. Here's a bit of video to illustrate how every time it looks like I'm topping out, the ridge stretches further South and an even higher point appears.

As you see in the video, Andrew and Monica bomb out of Shavano before I reach the summit with Young Master William 10 minutes behind. Apparently there was concern about the weather. Looked fine to me!

Shavano summit looking NW. Tab summit is obscured by my mighty beard

Urine-obsessed ?? marmot. This guy did not look at me ONCE. Must have been good stuff. *no, it was not me*

View of Tabeguache Pk (NW) from Mt. Shavano summit

View North from Mt. Shavano summit

In CONTRAST to Shavano's long ridge to the North, Tabeguache presents little in the way of a definable ridge line to the East/Southeast. This Eastern face of Tab is gentler than Shavano but the rock isn't as secure, perhaps because the soil is not well developed on this face. Closer to the summit, you get typical Sawatch talus, but again, the pitch is gentle enough that balance is not much of an issue. Here are a few video frames to show what I mean:

Summitting Tabeguache Pk

Behold, I hath brought sunshine for my people!

Andrew and Monica on Tab

Summit Tabeguache Pk

Tab summit looking West

Back to the useful beta: GO WAY EAST WHEN DESCENDING TAB TO BROWNS LAKE . First, get all the way back over the the PT 13,712-Shav ridge rather than dropping off the side of the Tab-Shav ridge. Once clearly on the ridge to PT 13,712, go ahead and upclimb 100 vert feet or so. The work put into doing this partial re-ascent of PT 13,712 will be less than the struggle with the long, tipsy boulder traverse we did. We dropped in too early, which resulted in a protracted descending traverse of teeter-totter boulder surfing. These big rocks are not secure -- not that they often slide, but that they tip, rock and in some cases flip over.

PT 13,712 in the background. We have yet to cross to the North (left) onto our descent slope

From the slope of PT 13,712 looking back at Tab

I just got out of the shifty boulders and into the nice ones!

Still my favorite...

Back at camp -- we had descended that most prominent diagonal from upper left to lower right -- just rolled over the lip from what you can see here -- that's where the grassy slope/boulder field mix is. The distant high point at right is Tab's western false summit. You can't quite make out Tab's main summit in this picture -- it more or less coincides with the foreground ridge line of PT 13,712
Well, that was fun. What else you got?

View from camp out the mouth of the valley

Browns Lake Camp

Preceding Report: Antero from South - 2013 Summer Trek: Rpt 1 of 7
Subsequent Report: Uncompahgre - 2013 Summer Trek Rpt 3 of 7

My GPS Tracks on Google Maps (made from a .GPX file upload):

Thumbnails for uploaded photos (click to open slideshow):
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 21 22 23 24 25

 Comments or Questions

Nice ...
07/31/2013 20:58
Actually, that is a fairly popular trail for those who are doing 13ers ... specifically 13,712 and Jones which are generally climbed together from Browns Lake. I remember when we did those, it seemed like your route for Shavano and Tab would work out well (and it certainly did for you). Thanks for posting. Happy trails!


@ presto
07/31/2013 21:39
I had originally wanted to ascend by a gully N-NE of the Jones Pk summit, but couldn't find anyone who knew anything about it. The plan was to gain Jones Pk and then do the (well described) cl3 ridge between Jones Pk and PT 13,712 prior to getting to Shav and Tab.

That was a bit too ambitious for this early in our trip and neither of us came Into this summer as well conditioned as summer 2012. Still, any route that I scout on topo, satellite and (where possible) books/online community and then elect NOT to do...kinda sticks in the back of my mind. I may have to go back and to a grand circumnav of that Browns Lake basin. Hardest parts would be the first gully and probably Carbonate's steep E ridge after coming from Tab.

Every trip I make spawns at least two more that I want to do.... 8)

08/01/2013 01:33
Enjoyed the write up and humor


Thanks of the trip report!
04/11/2015 04:18
I’d like to do Antero and Tab (and pt. 13,712) from Browns Creek in late May and its nice to get to know this route. I’ve been looking over the site and you’re TR seems to be the most recent at nearly 2 years old. Do you know of anyone doing it last year or any new beta? Anything would be appreciated..really want to hike these two together and get off the beaten path!


Long time
04/11/2015 18:59
Fun to get a question about this old TR. not surprising that there aren’t updates- this is neither popular nor one of the glory routes.

I have a separate TR for Antero out of the same Browns Lake camp -- search under my name. That track is very well travelled and includes a lot of jeep trail. It’s also not unduly steep or exposed anywhere, so I doubt it has changed in two years.

In contrast, the other side of the valley (to Shav and Tab) seems to be rather unpopular - what was fun was finding semi-healed trail segments dating from who -knows-when. The tundra was in good condition and I tried to leave it that way. But there was a lot of route finding too. I think my lower elevation approach would have been better (more stable, less erosion) if I had hewed more to climbers left/East. I made the same error on the return, dropping too soon and getting a very long stretch of rocking/shifting large boulders and small jumps that slowly beat up my my knees. Would be worth partially reascending PT 13712 to get further East and on better terrain. Enjoy! Browns lake is higher than it seems - over 11,000 while also being in forest

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