We headed down the night before and camped near the Browns Creek trailhead. There’s a ton of sweet camping spots nearby. You know you’re in for a long day when you’re camping in the juniper. The alarm went off at 4am and we were on the trail at 6:15. We were treated to a very fine sunrise. This route is one of the longer options for 14er skiing. Unfortunately it really is the best way to get Tabeguache done. Jones Peak provides the splendor though with it’s spires and Mount White, to the north of the trail also inspires with it’s beautiful rock formations. Once you make it to the Browns Creek Falls intersection plan of skinning intermittently to Browns Lake. Past this you can stay on dirt and hike if you like. From the lake you will go to a willowed clearing. This is marked as a lake on the topo. Cross this semi-clearing and head from the North Face of Tab. The snow was rock hard yesterday so I just hiked one of the ridges up. With ski crampons you could easily skin most of it. The North Gully would make the most sense but even that has steeper sections that approach 45 degrees. Like all Sawatch peaks this one is a grunt to get up.
The skiing yesterday wasn’t very good. The winds, which were gusting to 60 mph were tough to deal with. They kept the snow cold so it was very firm. But it’s still nice to ski right from the summit and get in 3000′ of vertical. About halfway down I had to take the skis off and downclimb about 40′ of vertical. Once back at the trail I skied as much as I could but was thwarted by the need to shoulder them on too many occasions. 15.1 miles and 5500′ of vertical or so.
Allison thanks for a great day in the hills and kudos to you for turning around when you thought it was too much for you. It takes a lot to walk so far and realize it’s not doable. I also appreciate that you let me go for the rest solo.
Enjoy the pics.