Via Mt. Shavano
From here, the trail becomes very rocky and at times the footing is frustrating as you climb through the forest. No falling danger – just not a trail with much flow. There will be numerous streams alongside you and you’ll cross a steam near mile 0.80.
At mile 3.6 you’ll turn right and have the ridge up Shavano in front of you. Follow this ridge. The crew at Colorado Fourteers Initiative have been working on building a trail up Shavano’s ridge for years. Respect the mountain by staying on trail and resisting stepping on any grass. There is about 800ft of climbing above you from here, and it will be rocky, though a safe class 2 climb.
The summit of Shavano is rocky, and offers great views of Salida and the Monarch ski area. If you choose to tag Tabeguache Peak, less than a mile beyond Shavano, you’ll continue on a rocky ridge, dropping about 600ft. From there, the ridge is mostly trail-less and continues to be frustratingly rocky as you climb back up another 500ft to reach Tabeguache. Be sure to check the skies before taking on this bonus peak, as there is no shelter from the elements and no good escape routes. Return down back the way you came.
Climbing your first mountain or 14er is an exciting and rewarding experience! You’ll get the achievement of seeing the world from above and the feel-goods of the endorphins from the exercise. However, the mountains aren’t a walk in the park, and getting down is mandatory. Some situations require extra caution and a little know how. With a bit of preparation, you’ll be able to get to the summit and back safely.
Whether you are training for a race or simply indulging in all the wilderness has to offer, there are a variety of factors, some constant, and some changing, that are likely to have an impact on your journey. Knowing these factors can help ensure your safety and get you back to the trailhead safely.