Mount Shavano

  • Mount Shavano
  • 4337 m
  • Primary factor 493 m
  • 17th in Colorado
  • Location: North 38:37.149, West 106:14.360
  • Climbed May 20, 2000.


How to get there: Chaffee County road 140, 1.5 km north of the small place Poncha Springs. Go west on this road for approx. 2.7 km. At this point turn right on Chaffee 250. (Chaffee 140 turns from paved to dirt at this point, so it is easy to find.) Follow Chaffee 250 until the road forks after approx. 6.5 km, take the left branch and continue basically straight in any remaining intersection. The road crosses a creek and gently climbs into the forest. The road ends in a nice area where the Colorado Trail starts. The total distance from the US 285 Hwy. is about 14.5 km.
Route description: Hike north on the Colorado trail for a few hundred meters. The trail to Mount Shavano goes left (up the hill), while the Colorado Trail continues straight. There is a big and easily visible sign at this point. The trail continues gently uphill for a few kilometer. In order to do the Angel of Shavano snow climb one should leave the trail as it starts to climb out (to the right) of the small valley that it enters. The trail runs along (and crosses) a small creek that drains from the Angel, so the valley is never difficult to identify. When we did the climb, arriving at the Angel around 0700, the snow was hard and perfectly conditioned for the use of crampons. Hike straight up the snow (the body of the Angel), then pick one of the arms. If the right arm (which is the left arm of the Angel) is good (which it was when we climbed), then this is recommended. One can also climb up the "head of the Angel", (the middle branch) this snow leads perhaps most directly towards the summit. The snow is never steep and becomes less steep as soon as you approach the arms. There was more or less continuous snow from the end of the Angel's left arm and to the summit. (This will likely be gone by June.)
Comments: I did this very nice spring climb with my son Pål Jørgen, age 12. We had good weather, but experienced very strong wind gusts in the middle of the Angel. This wind was not present slightly later in the day. The snow was good in the morning, but almost too soft for a good glissade by the time we returned.
The legend of the Angel of Shavano, tells that a native american princess prayed for water during a drought. She sacrificed herself and reappears every spring/summer as the Angel of Shavano, slowly melting and thus providing water to the valley below.
The view was very good, isolated Pikes Peak, the Crestones and Blanca to the south-east, the endless San Juan in the south-west, and of course, the Sawatch extending north.
We started at 0500, found the Angel at 0700, the summit of Shavano at 0945, continued to Tabeguache at 1015, arrived there at 1115, started the return at 1200, back at Mount Shavano at 1245, departed from the summit around 1315 and were back at the Jeep around 1500. 10 hours, but this includes unusually many (long) nice rests in the good weather.