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On Walkabout On: Tabeguache Peak, Colorado via Mt. Shavano

Basic Information

  • Name: Tabeguache Peak
  • Where: Poncha Springs, Colorado
  • Max Elevation: 14,155 feet
  • Distance: 10.5 miles round-trip from Shavano
  • Elevation Gain: 5,600 feet
  • Time: 9-11 hours
  • Difficulty: EasyModerateHardDifficult
  • More Information: 14ers.com

Route Up Tabeguache Peak

Tabeguache Route

Topographic Map of the Trail

Elevation Map of the Trail

Narrative

I reached the summit of the 14,229 foot Mt. Shavano at 9:00 AM despite the extreme wind and cold that had hit the mountain that morning.  A number of people I met on the summit decided to turn around and go back down due to the wind but, I decided to continue with the one-mile traverse to Tabeguache Peak because I was physically feeling good and the wind was not really bothering me because of the gear I was wearing.  So after only spending about 5 minutes on the summit of Mt. Shavano I began the rocky traverse over to Tabeguache Peak:

Picture from Tabeguache Peak

The rocky traverse was actually kind of nice because there was plenty of wind breaks as I worked my way through the rocks:

Picture from Mt. Shavano & Tabeguache Peak

The traverse is considered a class 2 rock scramble, but I found it to be pretty easy to complete:

Picture from Tabeguache Peak

Here was the view I had to the North of me as I crossed the traverse:

Picture from Tabeguache Peak

Here is a panorama picture I took from the traverse looking towards Tabeguache Peak:

Picture from Mt. Shavano & Tabeguache Peak

Once I reached the exposed saddle between Mt. Shavano and Tabeguache Peak this is where I was once again getting blasted by the wind:

Picture from Tabeguache Peak

From the saddle here is the view looking down into McCoy Gulch that used to be the old trail to climb both Mt. Shavano and Tabeguache Peak, but was closed in recent years by the Forest Service due to environmental concerns:

Picture from Tabeguache Peak

Closing this trail is what has made hiking these two mountains much more difficult because to reach the trailhead after hiking up Tabeguache Peak climbers have to then re-summit Mt. Shavano which makes it really a day where three peaks have to be climbed instead of two.

Anyway looking up at Tabeguache Peak I could see only one snowfield I would need to cross to reach the summit as the other snowfields were avoidable by walking on the rocks:

Picture from Tabeguache Peak

The snowfield I had to cross was a large cornice that had steps kicked into it from prior hikers:

Picture from Tabeguache Peak

I put on my micro-spikes for added traction, but probably did not need them as I made quick work of scaling the snow cornice.  This picture I took on the way down shows other climbers scaling the cornice:

Picture from Tabeguache Peak

After scaling the cornice I found myself up on the summit of Tabeguache Peak:

Picture from Tabeguache Peak

I reached the summit at 10:25 AM which meant it had taken me a little over an hour to reach the summit from Mt. Shavano.  On the summit there was a PVC pipe with a trail register in it that was soggy, unreadable, and falling apart:

Picture from Tabeguache Peak

Due to the condition of the trail register I did not even bother trying to sign it.  Much to my surprise though, on the summit there was hardly any wind.  There was a slight breeze, but overall the weather was beautiful compared to Mt. Shavano.  Some how the extreme wind was going around the summit of Tabeguache Peak and hitting Mt. Shavano with its full fury.  I ended up taking off some of my cold weather gear and sat down and ate my lunch of Powerbars and candy.  As I did this I really enjoyed the views from the summit of Tabeguache Peak.  Here is the view looking towards the West where a ridgleline that provides an alternate route up this peak can be see descending into a valley below:

Picture from Tabeguache Peak

Picture from Tabeguache Peak

To the West I could also see many other snowcapped peaks of the Sawatch Range:

Picture from Tabeguache Peak

Out in the distance to the West I could see the rugged Elk Range:

Picture from Tabeguache Peak

To the Northwest I had a view of many of the high peaks of the Northern Sawatch Range:

Picture from Tabeguache Peak

The most spectacular mountains in the Sawatch in my opinion are the rugged 13ers known as the Three Apostles (left) which are overlooked by the 14,003 foot Huron Peak (right):

Picture from Tabeguache Peak

I hiked up Huron Peak last November and more information about the mountain can be found at the below link:

To the Northwest I could also see the 14,196 foot Mt. Yale:

Picture from Tabeguache Peak

I had climbed Mt. Yale the prior weekend so it was pretty cool to see it now from this perspective.  You can read more about my hike up Mt. Yale at the below link:

Further out in the distance to the Northwest I could see the 14,336 foot La Plata Peak which is on my short list to climb this summer:

Picture from Tabeguache Peak

The view to the North from Tabegauche was dominated by the 14,269 foot Mt. Antero:

Picture from Tabeguache Peak

I climbed Mt. Antero last year and it was a long 16 mile round-trip hike to complete.  You can red more about my hike up Mt. Antero at the below link:

To the West of Mt. Antero was the 13,870 foot Cronin Peak which from this viewpoint was not as spectacular as seen from Mt. Antero:

Picture from Tabeguache Peak

To the Northeast past Mt. Antero I could see the 13,326 foot Buffalo Peaks:

Picture from Tabeguache Peak

Just behind the Buffalo Peaks I could even make out the twin summits of the 14ers, Grays and Torreys Peaks. You can read about my prior hikes up these two peaks at the below links:

To the East I could look across the Arkansas River Valley and see the 14,115 foot Pikes Peak rising up like a sky island in the distance:

Picture from Tabeguache Peak

You can read about my prior hikes up Pikes Peak at the below links:

To the Southeast the view was dominated by the summit of the 14,229 foot Mt. Shavano that I had traversed to reach Tabeguache Peak:

Picture from Tabeguache Peak

To the South of Shavano I could see the last few peaks of the Sawatch Range:

Picture from Tabeguache Peak

I also spotted to the South the Monarch Ski Resort which is now closed for the season:

Picture from Tabeguache Peak

Finally here are some panorama pictures I took from the summit.  This first panorama shows the Northern Sawatch Range (left), Mt. Antero (center), and Mt. Shavano (right):

Picture from Mt. Shavano & Tabeguache Peak

This final panorama shows Mt. Shavano (left) and the Southern Sawatch Range (right):

Picture from Mt. Shavano & Tabeguache Peak

In total I spent about 45 minutes hanging out on the summit of Tabeguache.  If it wasn’t for the fact that I had such a long walk back to the trailhead that included climbing back up Mt. Shavano I would have stayed even longer; that is how nice it was up on the summit of Tabeguache.  As I started to descend down Tabeguache, I took particular notice of what a beautiful valley lies between Tabeguache Peak and Mt. Antero:

Picture from Tabeguache Peak

This area is known as Brown’s Creek and it looks like quite a stunning place to go camping at sometime.  Here is a picture of the upper slopes of Brown’s Creek:

Picture from Tabeguache Peak

Here is a panorama picture I took of the Brown’s Creek area below Tabeguache Peak:

Picture from Mt. Shavano & Tabeguache Peak

In about 15 minutes I was able to descend Tabeguache Peak and was back at the saddle between it and Mt. Shavano:

Picture from Tabeguache Peak

Once again I was getting hit by heavy winds, but they were actually not as bad as earlier in the day.  As soon as I was back on the ridgeline leading to Mt. Shavano I had plenty of windbreaks due to the rocks:

Picture from Tabeguache Peak

Here is a panorama I took from the traverse looking towards Mt. Antero:

Picture from Mt. Shavano & Tabeguache Peak

Conclusion

During my traverse back to Mt. Shavano the decreasing winds meant that I saw a lot more people doing the traverse to Tabeguache Peak.  On my hike over to Tabeguache I saw only three people who reached the summit.  On the way back I counted 12 people doing the traverse, so obviously the wind improved quite a bit.  After about an hour of hiking over from Tabeguache Peak I found myself back over on the summit of Mt. Shavano.

Next Posting: Return to Mt. Shavano

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