Getting ThereTurn west on Chaffee County Road 140 from US 285 about one mile north of the US 285/US 50 intersection in Poncha Springs. After 1.75 miles, turn north at the intersection with Chaffee County Road 250. (Chaffee County Road 250 can also be reached by driving 1.7 mile west on US 50 from Poncha Springs.) After an additional 3.9 miles from this intersection take the left fork in the road to Chaffee County Road 252. Follow this road, staying straight and on the most traveled path, for 3.2 more miles to the trailhead.
Route DescriptionStarting from the Blank Gulch trailhead, hike north along the Colorado Trail for .25 miles, keeping an eye towards the west (left) and looking for the junction with the Shavano Trail. A good sign marks this intersection but it would be possible to miss it in the dark. Head NW from this point and sign the trail register after a few hundred yards. The trail continues in a NW direction for .4 miles and then makes a small turn to the SW. If traveling in the dark, pay attention here; the trail is rather faint in this section and it is possible to go astray. The trail then continues another .7 miles NW and then makes a hairpin turn towards the east at about 11,300 ft. (The turn is obvious but climbers wishing to ascend the Angel snowfield should turn to the west here and traverse into the gulch.) The trail makes two more turns before heading west for 1.5 miles and intersecting Shavano's south ridge at an obvious saddle. From here the route swings north for .5 miles to the summit. Some scrambling among the boulders in this final stretch may be required.
The section of trail between timberline and Shavano's south ridge crosses below the 35° slope of Pt. 13,612. It may be safer to avoid this avalanche terrain entirely by heading north from tree line to Shavano's east ridge and following it west, over Pt. 13,612, to the summit.
Essential GearDuring summer conditions no specialized gear is needed. The standard "Ten Essentials" should suffice.
Winter conditions may call for skis or snowshoes along with appropriate avalanche gear.