July 30, 2007

2 Mountains and 4 Goats

This weekend I finally managed to meet up with a friend from work (Ryan) who has been trying to climb a 14er with me for some time. He brought along another coworker of ours (Kevin) who I had never met. Although the weather forecast looked menacing, the three of us drove to the southern end of the Sawatch Range on Saturday evening with the intent of climbing Mt. Shavano and Mt. Tabeguache on Sunday morning. Ashley came along for the camping outing, but due to our long weekend training run on Saturday morning, opted not to hike with us the following day.

We camped near the trailhead Saturday night and were pummeled by a vicious rain storm. When our alarm went off at 4:00 am, the rain had ceased and stars were visible. We began hiking at 4:30 on our way to Shavano's summit. After reaching the top, the plan was to descend the ridge leading to the saddle between Shavano and Tabeguache, hike to the top of Tabeguache, and retreat back over the top of Shavano before retracing our original ascent route. Shortly after beginning our descent to the saddle between the two peaks, I spotted four mountain goats ascending Tabeguache. They seemed to be showing us the way as they were about 30 minutes ahead of us on the same route. We were never very close to them, but my new camera allowed me to zoom in close enough that you can be certain they aren't just white rocks.

We topped out on Tabeguache around 10:00, and the thunder clouds began to build. I hurried back over the top of Shavano and down to treeline, leaving my comrades to fend for themselves. Apparently I have an irrational fear of being struck by lightening. I passed several smiling hikers on their way up as I was running down in fear of my life. Call me paranoid, but I've read accounts of survivors who've been struck by lightening and it just doesn't sound like fun.

We were back to the car by noon for a 7.5 hour round trip. It was nice having hiking partners, as most of my 14er hikes this summer have been solo. I'm not up to 21 of the 54 14ers in Colorado. I've not yet decided if I'm trying to climb all of them, but I'm having a great time using them as an excuse to visit different areas of Colorado.

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